Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hail, snow and rhubarb pie...

Yesterday we were out sweating in the 75* heat and planting a big row of lilac bushes along The Neighbor's house (our son, DIL, and grandangel). Then by evening a big cloud came over, cooled the air WAY down and dropped a half inch of rain and some pea-sized hail. It was fun to watch it bouncing up out of the lawn. S. got an action shot for us.

The days have been quite nice lately and my rhubarb has decided to unfold from it's long winter's nap. It's a ways from picking, but it won't be too long now.

I decided I really needed to move some of my rhubarb to a new location with more sun and less tree roots, so I divided a couple of my plants by splitting them through the crown with a spade, digging deeply to get the roots. I read that you don't want to divide and move rhubarb if it is over 6" tall. Better to wait until fall. Since my plants were just coming up, it was an easy move. (the white stuff is snow)

I grew up on rhubarb. In the North Country it's the always-reliable garden fruit. There are rhubarb plants on old homesteads in the country that are still growing and thriving on neglect. They really do prefer a bucketful or two of composted manure once a year and a good, deep watering, but if that doesn't happen, they remain faithful. These thick, juicy stalks were picked from my folks' rhubarb plants. They live about an hour south of us and their gardens, trees and plants all tend to be a good 2-3 weeks ahead of ours. I picked enough rhubarb to make four pies and at present, we're almost done eating our second. Oh, the taste of spring!

The old family recipe I use is a rhubarb custard pie with a crumb topping. Of all the rhubarb recipes in my stash, this one is our all-time favorite. I'll share it with you.

Rhubarb Custard Pie with Crumb Topping

1unbaked pie crust
4 cups chopped rhubarb

Put rhubarb into crust.

1 1/4 c. sugar
3 T. flour
2 eggs
Pour this custard over rhubarb. Spread evenly.

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. margarine or butter

Cut in butter so it resembles small peas. Sprinkle over top of pie spreading it evenly to the edges.
Bake in a 350* oven for 1-1/2 hours. Pie will be dark golden in color and have a dry crumbly top.
Cool and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream and coffee.

Look what's blooming in my backyard! The tulips are making fat buds while the daffodils are blossoming up a storm.... literally. Today it's been storming or squalling on and off and at one point, we had an all-out-blizzard and just now we're dealing with high winds and occasional snow flurries. Such is May in the North Country....just wait a few minutes, and the weather will change. Do you spy a friendly visitor? The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is here.


  1. We had a few flurries on Mother's day evening and today we have beautiful blue skies and 67F. My tulips are just opening up. Our rhubarb is coming along too. I'm definitely going to try your pie recipe. I've made one combined with strawberries but never a custard rhubarb pie. It sounds good. Thanks Jody!

    (I keep looking for your hollyhocks to sprout but so far I don't see them. I hope I didn't kill them:)

  2. Wow, your weather really *is* fickle! Love that rhubarb in the snow. And I'm all for any plant that comes back up on its own, can be divided, and makes for a good snack with coffee.

    Your "You are my Sunshine" file is a little draggy today. Sounds like when I used to play my 45s on 33rpm as a kid, so it gives me the giggles ;-).

  3. My mouth is really watering over your rhubarb. Mine is just barely an inch or so out of the ground it's been so cold here. That's a sure sign of spring when the rhubarb pie hits the table and the rhubarb jam is ready for the toast in the morning!!

  4. Thanks for the rhubarb pie recipe--I haven't made on in ages and would love to give this recipe a trie.

    I love your grosbeak picture--very cool!


  5. Oooh, that pie sure does look good -- thanks for the recipe! I have the same problem you do with tree roots and it's SO frustrating. I want beautiful plants to grow under my trees and they just get choked out!

  6. Oh I do appreciate someone who makes pies and makes them look this good!
    Pies were not in my upbringing except for buying a boysenberry pie from Knott's Berry Farm! This has got to go down as one weird weather year!!

  7. Yummm, I will have to make this, love your banner picture xoxox Clarice

  8. Would this work using apple instead of rhubarb?

  9. Granny,

    Yes, I think you could try this recipe with apples. I never have done it this way. I sometimes make an apple pie (the standard way) and use the crumb topping from this recipe instead of another crust.


  10. Dang, I wish my rhubarb looked like that right now..yummy.. Okay, I want a piece. My little rhubarb sprouts are just showing....can't wait to make Rhubarb crisp.
    Your daffodils are pretty too even with the storm!:)

  11. Well . . .I forgot to try this one with rhubarb - and it's too late now. but I bet it would work with blueberries.

  12. Hello, stopping by for the first time for your rhubarb pie recipe. I recently made a strawberry rhubarb pie that wasn't as tasty as I had hoped. Do you think I could substitute strawberries for part of the rhubarb in your recipe?

    Kindly, ldh


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