[Ed note: This is a guest post from my friend Susan, who is a fabulous baker in the DC area. Follow her recipes and gain many friends.]
I’m not local to you folks, but I do have some nice seasonal recipes that you might not have heard of. Rhubarb, the weird red-pink stalk, is out and available now and it isn’t used enough, as far as I’m concerned. It makes a wonderful pie, with sour rhubarb on top of sweet custard. This crust is flaky and pairs really nicely with the filling. It’s worth the trouble:
Rhubarb Custard Pie
Cut 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons Crisco into 2 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. By cut, I mean use a pastry cutter or two knives to snip the Crisco into little pieces and mix it with the dry stuff until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup cold water over the mixture and squish the dough until it comes together into a ball, but don’t knead it (or the gluten will develop and the dough will be greasy and tough instead of nice and flaky).
Divide the ball roughly in half and wrap one half in plastic. Roll out the other half to fit into an 8–9 inch pie pan, coming up the sides and spilling out over the edge an inch or so.
Mix three eggs, 3 tablespoons milk, and 2 cups sugar, then add 1/4 cup flour, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg and mix up. Add 4 cups of rhubarb, chopped into about 1/4 inch slices, and stir til combined.
Dump the filling into the dough lined pan. Drop little niblets of butter on the top (about 1 tablespoon total). Roll out the other half of the dough. I like to cut it into strips and do a lattice because the rhubarb is a pretty pink, but you can just lay the top crust over the fruit directly.
Seal the two crusts together with water and crimp the crust. Cut a slit in the middle and bake at 400 degrees for 50–60 min. The rhubarb juices will be bubbly and the fruit should be very tender if you stick a knife in it.
When choosing rhubarb, go for firm stalks of medium thickness. Trim off the ends, which can be dried out, or slimy. If the stalk is very thick, peel it—just grab the outer layer with your nails; it will come off easily in strips. For thin stalks, you don’t need to do this. This probably isn’t necessary, but only the stalks are edible; the leaves are poisonous.