Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rhuberry Pie

We have a prodigious patch of rhubarb under the cherry tree.



Around here, in the Great Northwest, rhubarb patches are not very common. Most of the people who have their own patch are transplanted from somewhere in the Midwest where there is rhubarb in every rural garden.

When I was baking for the cafe in town, I added rhubarb pie to the menu. The cafe owner didn't think it would sell. She was a native Northwesterner, owned a garden nursery, was a prolific baker herself at one time, and yet never grew or baked with rhubarb. My rhubarb pies flew out of the cafe. Transplanted Midwesterners requested the rhubarb pie daily. The cafe owner then went out and planted her own patch of rhubarb to supply the cafe.


We have two kinds of rhubarb- the Ruby Red variety that came from friends who brought it from Alaska-




- and this green variety that also came from friends. Really, rhubarb is such a prolific grower there is no reason to buy plants, just tap friends who have a prodigious patch.




When I lived in Michigan, a visiting Mennonite friend harvested some rhubarb and gave me a tip that I have used ever since. She said not to cut the rhubarb stems for harvest but to gently pull them out. After trimming off the leaves, lay them around the plants as a mulch to hold back weeds. I always do this with the leaves and it really does take care of weeds in the patch.




I recently made slab pies for a client and used both varieties of rhubarb in my Rhuberry Pie. Rhuberry Pie is a rhubarb combined with any berry. Strawberry rhubarb is my favorite but rhubarb is great with blueberries or raspberries too. Simply substitute half the rhubarb in any pie recipe with berries.

Sweet and tart. Rhuberry!



2 comments:

  1. Yummy! I made the standard old rhubarb bars the other day but added blueberries!

    Oh, and I discovered (thanks to a friend who's also an excellent cook) that cardamom is an amazing combination with rhubarb!

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  2. Ah, rhubarb. I actually bought rhubarb to make a pie with a few weeks ago. I'm not in a circle of gardeners! Normally I refuse to buy it, on principle, but it was reduced to about 25% of what they can apparently sell it for, so I indulged myself.

    I miss a lot of things about Canada. Of course, we don't look that great at the moment, after the hockey game, eh?

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