June is the season of rhubarb, and while the traditional way to enjoy it is with strawberries, we couldn’t say no to this recipe in which it flies solo. The leaves of the plant are poisonous, so be sure not to incorporate them into any other dish. Rhubarb is easy to cultivate in a garden— indeed it may flourish to such an extent that it becomes an unwelcome visitor. It’s bitter flavor is tempered down with sugar, and if you wish, add a dollop of whipped cream, or better yet, vanilla bean ice cream to the finished pie. It’s such a welcome delight on a hot summer evening, it’s a recipe you’ll come back to again and again. We certainly do!
Makes a 9-inch pie2 ½ lb fresh rhubarb (stems only)
½ cup flour
1 Tbs ground cardamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large orange, rind grated and juiced
1 cup sugar or to taste
Crust 12 Tbs cold unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 Tbs sugar
2 egg yolks
2 – 4 Tbs ice water
To make the crust, combine the butter with the flour, salt and sugar using your fingers or a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk the egg yolks with the ice water and add to the flour mixture; stir quickly with a fork, and add more ice water as needed until dough is elastic. Don’t over-blend. Form the dough into two balls and wrap in wax paper. Chill for 1 hour.
To make the filling, grate the rind of the orange making sure to avoid grating the bitter white pith underneath the colored skin. Add the flour, cardamon, nutmeg, orange rind, and juice of the orange to a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. Wash the rhubarb well, and chop in small ½-1 inch long pieces. Add the rhubarb to a large bowl, then pour the prepared dressing over it, tossing to mix well.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out one ball of dough and line the bottom of the pie pan with it, trimming the excess crust hanging over the edges. Add the filling.
Roll out the remaining ball of dough and place over the bottom of the pie. Tuck the overlapping dough underneath itself and using foreigners and thumb, crimp the crust around the rim. Cut a few slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape. Place the pie on a cookie sheet with sides to catch any drippings. Bake 50 minutes or until golden. Cool before serving.