Spring has sprung! Spring has sprung! Seattle is set to have its first 70 degree day tomorrow. Today was close, and it felt like heaven. Walking down to the train station, Loretta said, "I wish there were no clouds in the sky." I said, "I don't care. I don't care about anything else except this sun, shining down on us right now, and our trip to the farmer's market."
And I care about rhubarb. I always have. Growing up, we had a huge patch growing in our alley. My sister and I would take the sugar bowl out there, dip the ends, and suck to our hearts' content. Then there were my mom's rhubarb custard pies, rhubarb sauce, and the novelty of even knowing what it was in the 1980's. I can't believe it's $4/lb at the market. Mine--beautiful, bright red, unmarred--came from MacPherson's produce (and the back of someone's truck), and was under $2/lb. Do not get me started on how much I will miss that blessed, imperfect place.
I'm going to make myself unpopular and say I'm tired of the strawberry-rhubarb combo. I've never felt rhubarb needs to share the spotlight with anything else, least of all strawberries, which don't come into season until six weeks later. Who needs those strawberries?! Not you and me. Just these bright, fat stalks, a little spring sunshine, and a light touch with the pastry dough. Gift after gift.
Again, my favorite quick-and-easy all-butter crust. If you don't have a food processor, you can definitely use your fingertips or a pastry cutter. Just make sure not to overwork the dough. And I've given pie tips here if you're interested.
Recipe and instructions for this pie crust (must prepare at least 30 minutes in advance)
10 c. 1/2" diced rhubarb
1 c. sugar
1/2. c. brown sugar
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Prepare pie dough. Roll out one of the discs and line a deep 9" pie plate with it.
Preheat oven to 425. Combine diced rhubarb, sugars, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla. Pour into prepared pie plate and spread it out evenly. Roll out the second disc of dough, lay it over the rhubarb, trim the overhang to 1/2", and then fold it under the fruit. Crimp the edges and cut three 1" slits in the middle of the pie for steam to escape.
Cook at 435 for 12-15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook for about 40 minutes more, until fruit is soft, juices are bubbling a bit, and crust is golden. If you have a temperamental oven, you might need to cover the crust edges with foil in its last minutes of cooking to avoid over-browning.