Images by Janis Nicolay
Story by Heather Cameron
Missing Goat Blueberry farm invited Poppytalk to come spend 'A Day in the Country'. The question here is...can a country girl teach a city girl to make a rhubarb pie from scratch? I think so.
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons cold water
cream and sugar to sprinkle
Tools needed: wax paper, rolling pin, pastry cutter, large bowl
three cups chopped fresh rhubarb - you can heap the rhubarb too, I do.
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
Crust - the basics.
Take one very cold cup of butter and chop into cubes.
Drop into a large bowl. Add two cups flour.
Take your pastry cutter and chop into the butter - use your muscles and work it till the butter is the size of peas. This step can be very impressive.
Sure, you can use a machine to do this, but I have two issues with this:
1. The mixer always over works the dough and your crust is not flakey.
2. The best pie you ever had, didn't come from a mixer. Go old school, use your hands.
Once you have the butter cut into the flour, mix the egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the butter and flour mixture. Mix as well as you can with a fork, then use your hands to mix it - but just a bit. You are not looking to make a smooth ball of dough, just a loose flakey mixture.
Grab just over half the dough mix -it will be crumbly in spots, and you'll think, "this can't be right, she should be looking for her goat, not making pie" but, you will see. Pile the dough on top on a sheet of wax paper. Place a second sheet on top of the pile and press it down a bit with your hands. Take your rolling pin and begin to roll it out between the wax paper. Roll it fairly thin, and wide enough to fit your GLASS PYREX PIE PLATE. I've tried all types of pie plates, and I tell you, this is the best. Don't go ceramic - it looks pretty, but who will remember your plate if your pie is to die for? No one. But if your pie sucks, they'll all say "what a lovely pie plate you used" hmm.
Slowly peel off the top sheet. Lift the dough and wax sheet up, flip it over and lay it on your pie plate. Gently peel off the second sheet. Press into the pie plate, trim off the excess (which can be added to the other dough for the top. Hey, did you notice, no messy dough to scrape off your counter!
Hit the rhubarb patch - oh, wait, if you are from the city..hit your local fresh produce market. You will need about 7 pounds of rhubarb - once you cut off the tops and bottoms, you will have about three cups.
Chop, place in a bowl. Add the sugar, flour and egg - mix well. Spoon into the pie shell.
Repeat the wax paper process with the other half of the dough, lay it on top of the rhubarb filling. Here is a tip - flip the wax paper dough over after you have rolled it out. You will see that the bottom is always fairly wrinkly. Peel this side off first, then flip it over and lay the wrinkly side down on the pie filling. This way, your pie top shell is smooth.
Trim off the excess dough
Give it a pinch around it's sides
Three slits in the top for the steam to escape.
And now, I reveal a secret - this comes via my Mother-in-Law, who taught me to make pie. Take some heavy cream or milk, pour about a tablespoon into your palm, and pour over the pie surface. Smooth the cream out evenly over the top, there can be little pools here and there, then sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.
Into the oven 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down to 325 for 25 minutes. Have a peak. You should have a slight browning to your crust - not too much though. And there you go. You did it.
We had a lot of fun, and Jan got lots of excercise pulling my girl around in her wagon. That's the price you pay for being fun Jan! Thanks for coming Poppytalk, we loved having you!!
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