At this time of the year, I often reminisce about the major family vacations of my childhood. Growing up, we spent the two weeks surrounding the 4th of July holiday with my grandparents and our huge family in a small, rural town in the middle of America. Our summer vacation with the grandparents was always filled with exciting adventures, loads of fireworks, seemingly endless fields of corn, herds of cows, fireflies, long lines for the bathroom, swimming, plenty of food and lots of family.
Our 4th of July was as American as apple pie. Which made me think about the pie that my grandma traditionally made each year.
The pie was not apple, which would have made me most happy, but rhubarb pie, which made my dad most jubilant. One of my dad’s favorite things in this world is rhubarb pie.
My grandma was a wonderful cook and baker. She knew how to make a lot with very little. Although I wasn’t savvy enough to know it as a child, that pie, made by grandma with fresh rhubarb from her garden, was delicious and made with a lot of love.
Despite the fact that rhubarb wouldn’t grow fresh in our part of the world, my mother used to make it for my father. It was always such a big deal when my mom found frozen rhubarb at the market. That meant that my dad was going to have a little slice of home, away from home.
I have never made my grandma’s rhubarb pie. Well, that is, until today. This is a first for me. Granted, my grandma made everything from scratch. Maybe that is why I have put it off all these years. Or maybe it is because very few people in my life talk about and pine for rhubarb pie, me included.
Well, I decided that today was the day I would make my first rhubarb pie. Instead of making my own crusts, which surely would’ve stopped me in my tracks, I got a little help from the refrigerated section of my local grocery store with pre-made pie crusts.
The rhubarb was so red and pretty that I had to include a picture of it, as well as the rest of the ingredients that I gathered to make this pie.
Since my grandma didn’t really bake with a recipe – it was all in her memory banks – I made sure to fill in the recipe’s missing gaps, for people like me who need a little more detailed recipe.
I forgot to add the milk to my picture above because it wasn’t in grandma’s ingredient list. I’ve added it to the recipe below.
Grandma’s Rhubarb Pie
2 cups fresh, cut up rhubarb (1/2 inch cubes)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
2 crusts pie pastry
A spot of milk, sugar and cinnamon for sweetening the top crust
Fit one unbaked pie shell into a pie plate. Trim off the excess pie crust around the edges of the pie plate. Then, place the cut up rhubarb into the unbaked pie shell. In a medium bowl, beat eggs well; add sugar and nutmeg to the beaten eggs; mix well. Pour egg mixture on top of rhubarb. Adjust top crust to fit over the pie filling, tucking the top edges over and on the outside of the bottom crust edges. Using your fingers, flute the edges of the pie crusts to seal. Using a knife, make a few 1/2 inch slits into the top crust for venting during baking.
Brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, to taste. Bake in 400 degree oven for 60 minutes or until golden brown.
The pie smelled delicious while baking in the oven. The kids couldn’t wait for it to cool before begging for a taste. I’m so excited they enjoyed the pie as much as I had hoped.
I really wish that I had been a little more willing to try grandma’s rhubarb pie as a child. Boy, did I miss out!