Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Rhubarb Pie

ready for the oven

I got myself a taste for rhubarb, I don't actually know a lot about the stuff, and I don't think that I have actually tried it before, but after reading about it, and coming across this recipe for country rhubarb cake {which has been sitting in my sidebar calling out to me for a few weeks now} I finally made it to the market to get myself some.

The market itself was quite an adventure, Cam headed over to Adelaide a couple of weekends ago and left me and the kids home to fend for ourselves. Now usually I wouldn't be so game to take all three kids to our local community market, on my own, but with such incentive as "well their might be some Rhubarb there, and I can't face the thought of all being cooped up in the house for three whole days" off we all went, bright eyed and bushy tailed at eight o'clock in the morning.

Being there so early meant that parking was a breeze, and with Mia strapped in the pram {a very rare occurance as she is usually strapped to me in the ergo} and the other two on foot, off we went for a rather chilly walk along the river to the market. There was running, and laughter and one teensy little stack, and lots of dogs {which to one Daisy child, was VERY exciting}. We not only made it to the market, but I also found a couple of notes {of the money variety} in my rain-coat pocket, {an added bonus since when I arrived at the market I realised that I didn't have a brass-razoo on me} and sure enough about half way around the market I came across a little stall where a man was selling home grown rhubarb.

The trip to the market went well, and the trip to the play-ground also well, the bakery was ok {going a little pear shaped when the kids realised that we didn't have enough money to buy an icing bun, only boring old rolls}, and the walk back to the car was fraught, culminating into one grumpy boy trailing about 20 feet behind giving what-for to the rest of us, and ended on the low note of jamming everyone very crankily back in the car with mutters of "why-oh-why-do-I-always-manage-to-stay-five-minutes-too-long!!!"

Now, of course, back to the Rhubarb.


When I got home, and everyone was fed and happy once more, I spent some time trawling around on the internet. I found many, many delicious looking rhubarb dishes, and very briefly even entertained the idea of making them all. But, when it all came down to it the country rhubarb cake was exactly what I wanted to try.

So the rhubarb sat on my bench while I amassed the other ingredients... and days passed while I forgot to grab just one more thing from the shops... and then a few more days passed while I gee'd myself up to get started. Then finally on Saturday night, while Cam was wrangling with kids and home made fish-n'-chips, I retreated to the relative safety of the kitchen, and the job of making pastry, by hand, with real butter and no food processor {something that I haven't done in I can't remember how long} and it was nice. I did have a mild panic attack when I cut into the Rhubarb and realised that it was quite big, and quite woody, and that I would have to slice it extra-extra-thin, but even that ended up being quite cathartic, as it took me a long time and saved me from the shenanigans that were occurring at the dinner table.

After reading the post that accompanied the recipe I was ready to handle a sticky pastry dough, but also pleasantly surprised when nothing of the sort happened to my pastry. I may have mucked up the measurements when I converted the recipe to metric, or maybe it was because my ingredients were all fridge cold, but my pastry was firm and easy to work with. I did take on board the advice to mix the sliced rhubarb and sugar in a bowl prior to tipping it into the base, and I don't know if that made any difference, but once the pie was made and cooked {on 140°c instead of 170°c because my fan forced oven is too HOT!} it was easily the most sublime pie that I have tasted in a long, long while; so good that it barely even needed the accompanying cream.

late night rhubarb pie

So, of course you can find the recipe here, but if you aren't inclined to convert the recipe to metric {or just in case I did muck up the changes} here is the version that I used ::

Country Rhubarb Cake
Serves 8

3 cups all-purpose flour, more for work surface
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 1¼ cup raw sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
125 grams butter, cut into pieces (mine was straight from the fridge)
2 eggs
½ cup full cream milk
680 grams (I only had 500 grams) rhubarb, thinly sliced
Thick cream for serving

1. Heat oven the 170° celcius. In a bowl, sift flour, salt, 3 tablespoons sugar and the baking powder together. With fingers, rub in butter until mixture is sandy. Beat 1 egg and add to flour mixture. Add milk and blend , then turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until the dough comes together. It will be quite stiff and {allegedly} sticky. Divide in two. Roll out each piece to fit into a 9 inch {oops, not metric!} round baking dish. Line bottom of pan with one round, pinching together any tears.

2. Mix rubarb and sugar in a bowl, then cover dough with rhubarb mixture. Place second pastry round on top and pinch edges together. Pinch together any holes. Add pretty pastry decorations to the top if desired. Beat remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush it on dough.

3. Place baking sheet in oven to catch drips, and place the baking dish on it. Bake until crust is golden {I baked for 1 hour, and placed some foil over the top at about the ½ hour mark as my crust was browning up too fast}. Serve warm, with thick cream with each serving.