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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beebop-a-reebop Rhubarb Pie!

Rhubarb Custard Pie – Pies & Pastries, Pg. 200 – Jean C. Rafuse (Mrs. E. W.)

Anyone else get that little song stuck in their head whenever you’re cooking with rhubarb? Mama’s little baby loves rhubarb rhubarb – bebop-a-reebop rhubarb pie! Yeah-No? Probably just Peter…

One of the first veggies of the harvest season in Nova Scotia is Rhubarb! We’re all over this celery-like tart vegetable. We recently loaded up during a trip to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market and began our rendezvous with rhubarb. Top of our to-do list - rhubarb pie!

We had lots of rhubarb so we decided to double-double our rhubarb pleasure and double-double your delightment by preparing two different rhubarb pie recipes. The Dutch Oven’s Rhubarb Custard Pie will be the focus of this post. The second, from our favorite go-to cookbook – America’s test kitchen’s Rhubarb Custard Pie coming soon…

The first step to making a perfect pie is choosing the pie crust – the foundation to any great pie! Check out our Easy as Pie post for a couple of excellent suggestions. For this particular pie we used Julia Child’s Classic Pie Dough recipe. You’ll need to blind bake your pie crust for this one…and we don’t mean bake your pie crust while blind-folded – Yikes! – no need for third degree burns and a visit to the emergency room. Blind baking is the process of pre-baking your pie crust – a common process for custard or cream pies to ensure a flaky and golden pie crust. After placing the dough in the pie dish, cover with a double layer of foil (ensuring the crust is completely covered to avoid over-browning). Pie weights or pennies are then placed in the middle of the crust to ensure the bottom of the crust doesn’t bubble and weaken. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 mins.

Despite a few reservations during the preparation of this recipe, it was delicious. The ruby-red rhubarb custard filling was perfectly tart - combined with the sweetness of the mile-high meringue topping made this pie a blue ribbon winner for sure!


2 cups choppe
d rhubarb (we added an extra cup)
3 eggs (separated)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cornstarch


Combine sugar and cornstarch and mix with chopped rhubarb. Cook mixture in a double boiler until creamy. Add butter, mix. In a bowl lightly beat egg yolks and slowly add rhubarb mixture to beaten egg yolks. Return mixture to double boiler and continue to cook until thickened. Pour into prepared pie shell. Using the egg whites prepare a meringue.

No recipe was provided for the meringue, so we used this one from America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Cookbook. A little fussy, but delicious and worth the extra effort. If you’re not overachievers like we are, just whip your egg whites with some sugar and have at it.


1/3 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 egg whites
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cream of tarter


Bring the water and the cornstarch to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. When the liquid turns translucent and begins to bubble, remove it from the heat (ours got really thick).

Whip the egg whites and vanilla in an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Mix the sugar and cream of tartar together, then add it to the egg whites, 1 tbsp at a time. Increase the speed to medium and whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cornstarch mixture to the whipped egg whites, 1 tbsp at a time, and continue to whip until the egg whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.

Drop dabs of meringue evenly around the edge of the pie and spread around the centre. Use the back of a spoon to create attractive peaks in the meringue. Return the pie to the oven until meringue is golden.

Dutch Oven Tips & Tricks:

While not everything made sense to us in this recipe…it worked. We weren’t convinced that a double boiler is necessary. The same results should be able to be achieved using a regular pot directly on the stove top. This recipe is a little light on the rhubarb, using a standard 9 inch pie pan, we used 3 cups instead of the recommended 2, and still found it a little light on the filling.

If you like rhubarb (or even if you don’t – Jan thought she didn’t like rhubarb until she had this pie) – get your bebop on and fix yourself a rhubarb pie!

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