The arrival of spring is a time much welcomed by those hit with the winter blues. It’s a time when warmer days allow you to pack away the jackets and begin purchasing a new bounty of fresh produce. Strawberries are probably the most popular spring pick, which is why I’m here to tell you about rhubarb.
Beginning in April and continuing through the summer, rhubarb is at its peak. It looks a lot like a stalk of celery, and even has the same stringy texture, but one bite of this plant and you will never forget how tart it is. To this day I still remember my first bite of raw rhubarb, and my decision to hate it for a long while after. I was very young, probably around 5 years old, when my dad picked a stalk from the plant in our backyard and offered I try it. I remember him stressing for me not to ever eat the leaves as they are poisonous, but his words would not be necessary. Merely taking one bite of that freshly picked stalk would keep me from wanting to go near the plant. Later that summer, however, I did ultimately give rhubarb a second chance, but in the form of a pie.
As tart as rhubarb is fresh, once it’s cooked the flavor gets drastically toned back to a delightful balance of sweet and tart. Once I realized this, I was in love, and every year thereafter I would look forward to the time the rhubarb would make its seasonal debut. My dad usually let rhubarb stand alone as the star of the pie, but I prefer it to share the title with other fruits. Two of the most popular pairings for rhubarb are strawberries and apples. Since strawberries are in season at the same time as rhubarb and their sweet flavor profile helps balance rhubarb’s tartness, it’s only natural they would be a favorite combination option. For me, however, there is just something delicious about the combination of cinnamon, sugar, fresh sliced rhubarb, and equally tart, sliced Granny Smith apples. But no matter which fresh fruit combination you choose, I guarantee you’ll have the makings of a perfect pie.
*NOTE: If you elect to give this pie a try, you can expect to spend about 30 minutes of time preparing it. From start to finish the pie should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and will yield 12 servings. If you have trouble finding fresh rhubarb or would like to make the pie when it’s not in season, you can substitute frozen rhubarb for the fresh. If you do opt for frozen rhubarb instead of fresh, be sure to thoroughly thaw and drain it before using as directed in the recipe, otherwise you will end up with a loose filling and soggy crust. If you’re considering serving this pie to guests, I recommend pairing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Rhubarb Apple Pie
- 1 refrigerated or frozen 9 inch Pie Shell
- 3 ½ cups (about 1 ¼ pounds) Sliced Rhubarb
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Granny Smith Apples; peeled, cored, & sliced
- ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
- ½ cup White Whole-Wheat Flour; plus 3 tbsp.
- ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oats
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
- 6 tbsp. Cold Unsalted Butter; cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 425°. Place pie shell on a baking sheet & set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp. flour. Toss to combine. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, place the remaining flour (½ cup), remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, oats, and brown sugar. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the rhubarb filling.
- Bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove pie) and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. If crust begins to get too brown, shield it with foil. Once baked, place pie on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing & serving. Enjoy!