If you’ve read my blog entry “Getting Dirty” you know I’ve been inspired to become more agriculturally astute. My latest lesson was about rhubarb. I’d never cooked with it and frankly, had no desire. Then my kids and I had the experience of plucking it straight from the field and learning that as an early spring crop, it’s loaded with nutrients (vitamins A & C, potassium and calcium) that we need after our long, cold northeastern winters.
After tossing the toxic leaves on top of the compost heap, and gathering up the long red stalks, I asked what to do with them. Do I peel the long strings off? Nope. It turns out that after a wash, all to do is chop into 1/2 inch, ready to cook pieces.
Is it a fruit or a vegetable? I asked. Not finding that answer in the field, I turned to Wikipedia, where I learned that rhubarb was considered a vegetable in the U.S. up until 1947. Then a New York court decided that becasue it was used more like a fruit (pies and jams), it should be deemed a fruit, and thus taxed like a fruit (lower than veggies I assume).
Armed with more “Dirty Life” knowledge, I was ready to bake and found a recipe for a Strawberry-Rhubarb-Crumb Pie that truly couldn’t be easier or more delicious. So if you bump into rhubarb at the grocery store or farmer’s market, don’t run the other way! I’ve now made this pie four times! Not only are my kids eating it for after school snack and dessert, they’re having it for breakfast, too!
I buy ready-made frozen pie shells (I don’t eat wheat, so I substitute gluten free pie shells and flour in my pies). For the crumble, use cold butter. If you have one of these tools it makes cutting in butter really easy. Otherwise use a fork and your hands!
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’re a hero!
HERE’S THE RECIPE:
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
- 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking or rolled oats
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg. Add the sugar, flour and vanilla; mix well. Gently fold in rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into pastry shell.
- For topping, combine flour, brown sugar and oats in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.