Monday, May 3, 2010

Great Grandma Helen's Rhubarb Custard Pie

We received a bunch of free rhubarb from some friends of ours in the community gardens at the end of last week and my mom suggested I make Great Grandma Helen's Rhubarb Custard Pie. I had never tasted this pie before. I didn't know what to expect, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

Not having much experience making custard pies, I didn't know how exactly to tell when it was done. I also thought the instructions to cook it at 400 F for 50-60 min seemed a bit excessive. I was paranoid the crust was going to burn, so I cooked it a little less intensely. I'm glad I did, because I anticipate that it's not too hard to overcook the custard. The pie that I made had a slightly underdone center (wasn't quite set in a 1.5" circle in the middle), but the other custard areas were velvety, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Light. Fluffy. Flavorful. Custard is good.

Since making this rhubarb custard pie, I learned that you tell when the custard is done by sticking a toothpick or chopstick (my choice) into the center of the pie. When it comes out clean, much like any baked good, the custard is done. Next time, I think I'll play around with the cooking time some more to get it just right. Maybe 30 min at 400 F and 15-20 min at 350 F. I also think I might leave the top crust off the pie next time to really let the custard take the spotlight.

Speaking of crust, this was not the best pie crust I have ever made. I added too much ice water and the crust came out rather heavy. No one else who ate the pie noticed, but it detracted from the total excellence of it. I failed to follow my own advice of "add the ice water a little at a time". I threw caution to the wind and dumped the recipe's 6 T of water into the dough all at once. Then I listened to the food processor struggle under the heft and watched the dough clump together like a huge ball of lead. Not gonna do that again.

Slightly Altered Great Grandma Helen's Rhubarb Custard Pie:
1.5 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1.4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cinnamon
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 c. (1 lb.) rhubarb, cut into 1/2" slices
pastry for 2-crust pie (lattice top)

Combine sugar, flour, and nutmeg. Beat into eggs with a whisk. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into pie shell. Add top lattice crust. Crimp and seal. Bake at 400 F for 20 min, then 350 F for 25-30 min. Cool and refrigerate.

Current Pie Tally: 16

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