During the long, cold, dark Minnesota winters, thoughts of spring keep me going. I dream of the day when the snow is gone, the tulips pop up from the still cold ground, and the wrinkled leaves of the rhubarb poke through the soil.
Those days arrived a few weeks ago, and the rhubarb is now ready for harvest. I divided it last year as part of the plant was growing too closely to the ever-expanding peonies, and the new location I chose is better than the last. The rhubarb is taller, thicker and more lush than ever before. Last weekend we picked three of the best stalks and made the first rhubarb pie of the season. It's a rhubarb custard pie, and the recipe was handed down to me by my grandmother. Of course, I can never leave well enough alone so I've tweaked it a bit - pumping up the amount of rhubarb and adding a dash of vanilla. It's easy to make and the perfect pie to kick off the spring season.
The recipe below makes a 9" inch pie, but depending on the pie pan, you may have a little more filling than the pan will hold. If that is the case, bake any leftover filling in a small bowl and eat it warm out of the oven.
Makes 1 - 9" pie
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups rhubarb, diced small
Pie crust for 9" pie, plus extra for lattice top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and adjust rack to lower-middle position. Roll out pie crust and place in 9" pie pan, crimping edges decoratively. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar into cream. Stir in vanilla extract and then rhubarb. Pour into pie shell and add lattice crust if using. Place in preheated oven and bake until bubbly, 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm.