Monday, May 13, 2013

Cherry rhubarb pie

From A Thyme to Die
Book #6 in the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries
Available now for Kindle

Rhubarb is an interesting herbaceous perennial. When I was a kid in Illinois, a farmer across the road from us grew huge crops of it in the rich, black dirt every summer. I'd go out and eat it like celery, right in the field, all the dirt still attached. I loved the beautiful red color and big fancy leaves. Even though it had a terrible, bitter taste - I didn't care.

I hadn't eaten rhubarb again for a long time when a friend of mine, Susan, recently made cherry rhubarb pie one night for dessert. Even with the cherries, the rhubarb taste had a tangy quality to it that took me right back there again. Trust me, pie is a much better way to eat rhubarb!

Rhubarb has been used, first in China, for thousands of years as a strong laxative. I can't recall if it had that effect on me when I was a kid. You know how kids are - I might not have noticed. The plant migrated along the Silk Road to Europe and Russia where it grows wild today.

Is it a fruit or a veggie? In 1947, a judge in New York decided it was definitely a fruit. In other places, it is still a veggie. Kind of like a tomato, I suppose.

I got my friend's recipe for her cherry rhubarb pie. I had never tasted rhubarb with cherries before - only strawberries. Try it and see what you think.

You need about four cups of rhubarb for the filling. I found some frozen and used that since rhubarb is out of season right now. To that I added two cups pitted, drained red cherries, 1 1/2 cups of sugar (or sweetener equivalent), 1/4 cup quick cook tapioca. Mix well with a spoon.

I didn't make my own crust, but you can certainly do so. I know they are better, but I was on deadline so I went around that step. (Sorry, Susan). I filled one bottom nine-inch crust with the filling and put a second crust on top, closing the edges and dotting the crust with butter.

This pie has to cook in a hot oven (400 degrees) for about 40 minutes. Susan warned me to make sure I didn't cut it until it had cooled at least an hour because of the steam that builds up inside. Let's just say, she was right. Don't cut the pie for at least an hour.

Joyce Lavene 

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