Late last summer, before the first frost hit, I harvested a whole bunch of rhubarb from my garden. I chopped it and tossed it in a gallon zippered plastic bag and stored it in the freezer. Then I forgot about it. Fast forward to this past weekend. I have a tradition of bringing birthday treats for my immediate co-workers, one of whom had a birthday 2 weekends ago. I didn’t have time to make birthday treats the work week immediately following her birthday, so I made them Sunday and brought them in to work today. I had been wracking my brain all last week trying to figure out what to make. Cupcakes are the norm, but I felt like doing something different, and I felt like using up some of that rhubarb I had in the freezer. Besides, my rhubarb in the garden is coming on strong now, and I need to make room for more from this year’s harvest.
I have a pie recipe that I got from Southern Living magazine several years ago called Raspberry Cream Pie. It’s delightful: sweet, tart, custardy…and it has a praline topping. It’s perhaps my favorite pie. Last Thanksgiving I altered the recipe to incorporate cranberries and orange zest instead of the raspberries, and I made the crust chocolate. It was a huge hit. So I took the Thanksgiving-altered recipe and altered it yet again to incorporate rhubarb. Since I didn’t want it to be too tart, I threw in some sweet cherries I had in the freezer from last year as well. I’ve also been on a tartlet kick lately, and individual tarts are easier to serve to a group than one large pie, so that was the route I took when altering the recipe yet again. The tartlets went over positively at work today, so I think this is one to keep on the pie rotation.
Rhubarb-cherry pie (Adapted from Raspberry Cream Pie)
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
5-6 tablespoons ice water
Put the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until butter is coarsely incorporated into dry ingredients. Slowly add water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. Run the processor until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Put dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and roll until about 1/8″ thick. Place dough in a 9 inch pie plate and trim edges, if desired.
Note: I like to keep all the dough and just work it into a decorative trim around the edge of the pie plate, but this particular recipe makes a large pie crust.
For the pie filling:
1 (scant) cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/3 cups sour cream
3 generous cups chopped rhubarb (if using frozen, thaw first)
1 cup chopped sweet cherries (if using frozen, thaw first)
For praline topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons melted butter
Combine all ingredients for pie filling in a large bowl and pour into prepared pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until center of pie appears just set. It might still jiggle just a little bit when you remove it from the oven, but it should not be runny. To prepare praline topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl until the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients. It will be crumbly. Sprinkle praline topping over top of pie crust and return to oven. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until praline topping is golden. You may need to cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to keep it from burning.
And finally, a quick photo of my rhubarb–it’s grown by leaps and bounds over the past 2 weeks! Last weekend when it snowed, it barely had leaves. I can’t believe how quickly it has grown.