Cooking Classes

2.6.16

Spring is Rhubarb Time


I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. Rhubarb in the spring was a staple but we never had any on our farm. I pined for rhubarb pie and did not learn how to make one until years later. This is another version that I thought I would try. 

The crust is a butter crust rather than a lard crust. It has a meringue. A nice variation from the standard.


Rhubarb Meringue Pie
Eggs should be at room temperature when making meringue. It usually takes about 30 minutes for eggs from the refrigerator to warm up to room temperature. Older eggs give better volume than fresh eggs. Be sure the bowl and utensils are fat-free because the tiniest bit of fat will ruin the meringue. Add the sugar when the egg whites have reached the soft peak stage. The peaks will fall over gently when they have reached the soft peak stage. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks are formed.

Put the meringue on a piping hot pie and cover the top completely and touching the crust all around to prevent it from shrinking. The heat will partially cook the bottom of the meringue and prevent shrinking and weeping. Cut a with a knife dipped in cold water.

1 recipe of Buttery Pastry
4-5 c. rhubarb, raw 1-1.25 L
1 tsp. orange zest 5 mL
2 eggs, separated
2/3 c. + 1/4 c. sugar 150 mL + 60 mL
2 tbsp. all purpose flour 30 mL
2 tbsp. butter, melted 30 mL
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar 1 mL

Roll out pastry and line a deep pie plate. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375 F. Chop the rhubarb it into roughly 1cm slices. If the stalks are very wide and chunky then cut in half lengthways, also. Scatter on a baking sheet and bake until tender. Remove from baking and drain, reserving the liquid.

Separate eggs, putting the whites aside for the meringue. Beat egg yolks in a medium sized bowl with a fork. Add 2/3 cup sugar, flour and the melted butter. Continue to beat until blended. Then add the eggs and 1/3 cup of the rhubarb liquid to make a smooth and runny paste. Add rhubarb and mix to blend. Pour into pastry shell. Bake until set, about 30-40 minutes.

Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks, add cream of tartar, 1/4 cup of remaining sugar and continue to beat until glossy and stiff peaks form. Spoon this over the hot cooked rhubarb pie, making sure it is completely covered and there is no gap where rhubarb can bubble through the meringue. Use the spoon to bring some of the meringue into peaks. Put back in the oven for about 15 minutes until the peaks are toasted.

Cool for 10 minutes and serve. 

Buttery Pastry
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 310 mL
1/2 tsp. sugar 2 mL
1/4 tsp. kosher salt 1 mL
1/2 c. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 125 mL, 12 mm
1/2 c. ice water 125 mL

Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter. Pulse until the texture of very coarse meal. Add ice water slowly until dough comes together in clumps. Form into a disc and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Makes 1 single crust.



Rhubarb Eton Mess
4 c. rhubarb 1 L
2 tsp. maple sugar 10 mL
2 c. whipping cream 500 mL
1 packet individual meringue nests

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Chop the rhubarb into 1/2 inch (12 mm) pieces. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Roast until the rhubarb is tender and beginning to caramelize. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Roughly crumble in 4 meringue nests.
Take out about half a cupful of the rhubarb, and fold the meringue cream and rest of the fruit mixture together.

Arrange in 4 dessert bowls and top each with remaining rhubarb. Serve immediately.

Rhubarb Iced Tea
8 c. rhubarb, chopped into small pieces 2 L
1 c. sugar 250 mL
1 Earl Grey teabag

Roast chopped rhubarb in a 350 F (180 C) oven until tender. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Strain the juice from the fruit in a colander. Use the fruit for a pie or crisp. 

Boil 2 cups (500 mL) of rhubarb juice with 1 cup (250 mL) sugar. Cool. 

Put teabag in a pot and add 3 cups of boiling water. Steep for 5-7 minutes or until it is a strong tea. Remove teabag. Chill tea.

Mix tea with an equal amount of rhubarb syrup and pour over a glass full of ice. Serve.

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