Rhubarb pie

A friend from junior high school recently wrote about rhubarb on her blog. She’s more particular than I am about how red rather than green the stalks are. To document what kind of rhubarb I’m happy to consume, I took step-by-step pictures of the pie I made last night. I used three big and one small stalks of rhubarb from the backyard in Newton for this, and had a serving’s worth left over after filling the pie shell.

OK, three of them are mostly green. I’ve never noticed any ill effects from eating  rhubarb stalks that look like these. Rhubarb leaves are supposed to be poisonous, I think because of the oxalic acid they contain, so stick to the stalks, and don’t take my word as definitive on the stalks, but you can add this to all the information you’re weighing together. By the way, those are Tony’s portuguese muffins in the background. Building 19 almost always has them. I love ’em for toast for breakfast. And I do not buy Gevalia coffee; I got that canister with a free trial offer years ago.
When I was a kid we had rhubarb growing in the backyard in Flushing, NY. My grandfather used to go fishing in Sheepshead Bay, off Brooklyn. He would give us more flounder than we wanted to eat, and my parents used to put the excess in the garden under the rhubarb for fertilizer the way Squanto taught the Pilgrims to grow corn. We used to get a good rhubarb crop in those days. We have some in Newton, enough for one or two pies a year, which is really adequate. I dug up a few plants last year and set them out in Casco. Two weekends ago they looked almost as big as the Newton crop.

Here they go, in the pie shell. Rhubarb pie is really one of those “easy as pie” pies, as opposed to lemon meringue which is not so darn easy, or even apple which takes more work in preparing the apples and more ingredients by the time you think about spices. Rhubarb is just make the piecrust, cut up the stalks, mix a couple of tablespoons of tapioca (in this case) or flour or cornstarch in with a cup of sugar, and sprinkle that over the chopped stalks in the crust, cover, and bake.

And done, voila. I get a little fancy with my lattice crusts, just because it’s fun to weave them rather than lay them out as a plain lattice.

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