Breakfast in Bed – Rhubarb Crumble Top Pie
Post by Alison Hein.
Remember how I was recently prattling on about an article I wrote for the Skylands Visitor Magazine? This recipe is an offshoot of my adventures in farming edible flowers! No, you’re right, rhubarb is not an edible flower.
One of the growers we interviewed for the article was a spry septuagenarian named Stan Styer, who packs his one acre lot with a mélange of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Come August, he wheels a little cart out to the road filled with whatever is ripe and fresh that day. It’s all honor system, and Stan does it purely for love.
While we were visiting, I admired Stan’s rhubarb. “I’ve been trying to get someone to make me a rhubarb pie,” he lamented.
“I’ll do it!” I responded.
Stan promptly fell to his knees and began hacking away with his garden knife, filling my arms with a bundle of fresh, green rhubarb.
I think of rhubarb as a homely, garden-grown old-fashioned vegetable. Only recently have I seen it for sale in some grocery stores. Store-bought is usually a pretty reddish color, but homegrown is bright green, that turns a rather dismal shade when cooked. Thus I chose to put a crumble top on my pie. The crumbles look nice, and the extra sweetness helps to offset the tart rhubarb.
Take care to never eat any of the leaves of the rhubarb plant – only the stalks are edible.
When August rolls around, take a drive out to the Skylands and see what Stan has to offer. Perhaps his little cart will hold the perfect ingredient for your next breakfast in bed.
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice cold water
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
10 cups rhubarb stems, cleaned, trimmed and chopped (makes 4 cups of filling)
1 cup water
¼ to ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup flour
1 cup flour
1 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into small cubes
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt
To make crust, sift together flour and salt. Remove half of the flour mixture and add to a separate small bowl. Add water to flour mixture and stir to make a paste. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two forks. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth, uniform dough forms. Split dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes before rolling.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator. Gently roll out one piece of dough on a lightly floured board, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll dough to form an approximate 12-inch round. Place dough in pie dish. Trim edges and crimp with the tines of a fork.
To make filling, wash and coarsely chop rhubarb stalks, removing some of the celery-like strings in the process. Place in medium heavy pot. Add water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is soft and coming apart, about 20 minutes. Stir in flour and add filling to prepared pie dish.
To make crumble topping, add flour, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt to a small bowl. Mix together, allowing topping to form into large clumps. Spread enough topping on pie filling to cover. Any extra can be stored in the freezer for future use.
Place pie in oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until crust and topping is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if you like.
Makes 1 pie.