Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable but is usually used as a fruit in dishes such as pies, crumbles, and tarts. It naturally has a tart, mouth-puckering, taste but can be quite sweet when sugar or fruit juices are added. The conditions in Illinois are preferable for the plant and thrive in home gardens. Their stalks are the only edible part of the vegetable because the leaves actually contain a poisonous toxin called oxalic acid. Many people combine other fruits with the rhubarb in dishes such as strawberries. It is actually very low calorie due to it being 95% water. Usually, deeper red stalks are more flavorful and medium sizes stalks are more tender than larger ones.
Rhubarb pie has made its appearance lately on thanksgiving spreads due to its tart flavor which breaks up the typically creamy, rich, and heavy tastes the rest of the meals are known for.
- 4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Place rhubarb in a colander; pour boiling water over rhubarb and allow to drain. In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, and tapioca. Add drained rhubarb; toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk egg and cold water; stir into rhubarb mixture.
- Preheat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the pastry dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim. Add filling; dot with butter. Roll remaining dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle. Place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edge. Cut slits in top. Bake 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven setting to 350°. Bake 40-50 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 servings.
University of Illinois