Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Having company this past week, I made a family favorite. It's in my cookbook. When I make something new, I often pull out several cookbooks to compare recipes, then pick and choose. This requires "knowing your ingredients" - which is a chapter in the Joy of Cooking cookbook.

First, I freeze the 1/2" cut-up rhubarb from our garden in a heaping quart measuring bowl, so it's about 5 cups of rhubarb.

(for 2+ crusts)
2 C flour
3/4 C butter
pinch of salt
about 1/4 C water (depends on flour moisture)

I use my ground white whole wheat or pastry wheat I've always got in the freezer in Ziplock bags. Since I had kamut in there too, this pie is half wheat and half kamut. I always use butter, unsalted if I have it. I've used lard or the newer organic shortening which is palm oil. I never use shortening. It's vegetable oil heated so hot it's next step would be plastic. Our body does not know how to break this fat down - it's what's now called trans-fat. And labels that have partially hydrogenated anything I never get. It's the word "partial" that's killing people. It races around our body looking for a home and latches onto cells, hurting them, and today we have way more cancer, diabetes, and heart disease than ever.

Cut the flour, salt, and butter together till fine crumble. Mix in water till mixture forms a ball. It shouldn't be sticky. I use a food processor all the time now for the preliminary processing of the dough, unless I'm making a larger amount, then I use the whips in my regular Bosch bowl, putting the cut-up butter in first. But I always finish up both processes by hand with a pastry blender. Mixing the final bits of water in is when we often over-process pie dough, which makes it tough. Then I flatten the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it while putting together the filling. Keeping the dough chilled is another key to a flaky crust.

Filling -
the 5 cups cut up fresh or frozen rhubarb put in pie first.
Mix together -
3 eggs
2 Tb whole wheat flour
2 Tb tapioca
1/3 C honey
1 C sugar (we've been practically eliminating sugar, so I'm going to cut this back next time cuz it's too sweet for us now)
1/2-1 tsp orange peel
pinch of salt

Pour the filling over the rhubarb and cover with a top crust and make steam vents. I usually sprinkle it with a touch of cinnamon. Bake for 10 minutes at 400, then lower to 350 and continue baking another 45-60 minutes. We like pie crust well-browned and giving the bottom crust a chance to thoroughly cook too.

When I put on the top crust I knife off the excess dough before crimping the edges.

I roll out this excess dough for little cinnamon tarts. Sometimes I'll put pats of butter then sprinkle on lots of cinnamon. The very little bit of sugar added on these is Sucanat. It can't really be called a sugar, cuz by its very nature, sugar is processed. Sucanat is plain dehydrated sugar cane.

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