A few weeks ago, I performed an experiment to try and recreate my grandmother’s rhubarb pie that I loved as a child. With the good fortune to have a rhubarb plant in my own back garden, I have plenty to play with. I charted the first attempt here. The pie was delicious but wasn’t exactly the same. My grandmother’s pie filling was a particular texture, not the chunky version you normally get in the grocery store. My version had a pretty smooth texture, but it still had distinctive rhubarb chunks. I wondered how my grandmother got hers so fine.
I decided I need to take the experiment to the next step. I thought perhaps she might have grated her rhubarb, so I tried that first.
The results were not impressive. As you can see, the stringiness of the rhubarb made the process pretty slow and did not yield very much fruit. This was not a likely option as my grandmother was probably one of the most efficient women I’ve ever known. She’d been a Housekeeper when she first came to Canada and later a ran a boardinghouse. She just wouldn’t have spent her time that way.
So I decided to chop my rhubarb even finer than the first time. I also reduced the amount of rhubarb to make the thinner pie that was my grandmother’s signature. I cut the amount from four cups to three and reduced the sugar to one and a third cup, but kept the same amount of flour.
My last adjustment was to change the temperature and cooking time. I reduced the temperature to 375° but increased the cooking time to fifty minutes. My intention is to try and stew the filling and get the rhubarb to break down just a little more.
The results proved pretty effective. Although I am not sure that anything could live up to the memory, I thought the results were pretty close.
For those keeping track, here is the final recipe:
*3 cups extremely fine cut rhubarb pieces
*1 1/3 cup sugar
*1/3 cup flour
*1/8 tsp salt
Mix together and let stand 15 minutes. Fill pie shell, dot with 2 tbsp butter and apply top crust. Bake 50 min @ 375F.
Thanks to le127 on Reddit who shared the original recipe.
Do you have a favourite summer rhubarb recipe? Let us know!