Perfect Rhubarb Pie

 

 Perfect Rhubarb Pie

Perfect Rhubarb Pie

 

 

This is a recipe that was back in the archives, but is so darn good that I think it’s worth bring it back again.  I made the pie last weekend and took some new photos.  This is the best rhubarb pie I have ever had, for two reasons;  it’s not runny when you cut it, and the flavor is unique.  You must see for yourself.

Rosy, tart, beautiful rhubarb.

Rosy, tart, beautiful rhubarb.

Ah, rhubarb, sweet rhubarb!  (just kidding, of course)  I’ve never tasted anything so tart in my life, and yet I LOVE it.  I can’t let a spring  season go by without baking something with it.  The most  popular item I make is rhubarb pie–Mr. D’s favorite kind of pie; but I’ve also been known to make cobbler, rhubarb muffins and sweet bread.    Last weekend I made the can’t-wait-to taste-it rhubarb pie.  Try it served with a little vanilla ice-cream along side and you will hear angels singing.

I call this “perfect” rhubarb pie, because it just melts in your mouth.  I’ve discovered that adding some orange zest and nutmeg brings out the flavor of rhubarb, without going overboard in the sugar department. In my opinion, too much sugar just makes it taste sweet, and obscures the flavor of the rhubarb, which is what this pie is all about.

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We like it a little tart, so when I make it just for us, I use only 1 cup of sugar.  The recipe given here is for 1 1/2 cups which I feel is quite sweet,  but you can surely adjust the  sugar to suit your taste.   I use quick-cooking tapioca and flour as thickeners; and I also add an egg which helps bind the ingredients and  keep the pie from becoming overly juicy.  When baking, I place the pie on a small baking sheet such as a pizza pan in case it runs over, but really, with this recipe that never seems to happen.

PERFECT RHUBARB PIE

Yield:   Serves 8

Ingredients:

Perfect Rhubarb Pie

Perfect Rhubarb Pie

 

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Pie pastry for a 2-crust  9 inch pie.   You may want to use a refrigerated  pie crust from the grocery store, or prepare your favorite pastry recipe.

This is a pie pastry recipe that I have success with:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 7-8 tablespoons ice water

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, tapioca, orange zest and nutmeg.  Stir in rhubarb; let mixture stand while you make the crust.

Prepare pastry:  In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut shortening  into flour until pieces are the size of small peas.Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water  over part of the flour mixture and stir gently with a fork.  Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl.  Repeat using 1 tablespoon ice water at a time using the 7-8 tablespoons total, until all the dough is moistened.Gather dough up into a ball and divide in half.  Roll each half into a 11-12 inch circle, for bottom and top crusts.  Place one crust in a 9-inch pie dish.  Cut decorative slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape while baking.

         2.  Combine egg and water, mixing lightly with a fork.  Add to rhubarb mixture, and stir to combine.  Spoon into pastry-lined pie dish.  Dot with butter.

Add egg mixed with a little water to the sugared rhubarb.

Add egg mixed with a little water to the sugared rhubarb.

3.  Cover with top crust.  Trim crust and crimp edges.  Lightly brush top crust with a little milk or light cream, then sprinkle with coarse sugar for a nice browned top.

Brush top crust with a little milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar..

Brush top crust with a little milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar..

 

4.  Cover edges with foil to prevent over browning.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil from edges, and bake another 30 minutes, until browned and filling is bubbly.

No runny pie here!

No runny pie here!

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SOURCE:   Originally from a vintage cook book in my collection,  with modifications by yours truly .

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Grilled Chicken with Spicy B-Q Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Rhubarb B-Q Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Rhubarb B-Q Sauce

It was Father’s Day and the grill was hot.  What else do we do but grill out when Father’s Day rolls around.  It was a perfect sunny day, one where you wanted to be outside.  But some things require preparation in the kitchen, so I started them early, allowing me to spend as much time outdoors as possible.  This was going to be a meal to knock-his-socks-off!  I had high expectations that it would turn out fabulous and I’m pleased to report that it was a home run.  It was so good that it will take more than one post to tell you all about it.

Let me start with the main attraction:  the barbecued chicken with a spicy rhubarb B-Q-sauce.  Barbecue sauce is hardly the place where you would expect to find rhubarb, and that’s partly what I love about this tangy-sweet sauce tinged with smoky heat.   Extra sauce can be refrigerated for up to a month.  I am planning on using it on some burgers and pork chops in the very near future.

This is how to make the BBQ sauce.  You can make it well in advance and stick it in the fridge for whenever it is you want to use it.

RHUBARB-BQ SAUCE

Yield:   Makes about 2 cupsIMG_7559

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2  1/4 cups ( 1/2-inch) slices rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1.  Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.

Saute the onion in butter.

Saute the onion and garlic in butter.

Add rhubarb; cook 3 minutes or until rhubarb is translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add in the rhubarb.

Add in the rhubarb.

Add 1/2 cup water, sugar, ketchup, vinegar, chipotle, mustard and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 6 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.

Add all the other ingredients and simmer.

Add all the other ingredients and simmer.

2.  Place the rhubarb mixture in a blender container.  Remove the center piece of blender lid-to allow steam to escape–secure blender lid on blender.  Place a clean towel over opening in bender lid to avoid splatters.  Blend rhubarb mixture until smooth.

Once blended you will have about 2 cups of sauce.

Once blended you will have about 2 cups of sauce.

Pour into a bowl to cool.  Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

 

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH SPICY RHUBARB B-Q SAUCE

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (about 2 1/2 pounds)   I used leg quarters.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup Rhubarb-BQ Sauce

Directions:

1.  Preheat grill to high heat.

2.  Combine oil and chicken;  toss to coat.  Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt.  Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 6 minutes or until well-marked.    Brush chicken on both sides with B-Q sauce.

Brush with sauce on both sides.

Brush with sauce on both sides.

Continue to cook, turning and brushing with sauce until glossy and browned, about 12 minutes more, or until tender.

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This chicken is ready for Prime Time!

This chicken is ready for Prime Time!

 

SOURCE:    Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens

Grapefruit Buttermilk Doughnuts with Candied Zest

Graperfuit Buttermilk Doughnuts

Graperfuit Buttermilk Doughnuts

It was only after the fact that I learned that National Doughnut day had come and gone.  But that’s alright, I probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to it anyway.  I honestly never pay much attention to any of these so-called special days because there are so many of them, every single day it’s something, and often more than one something per day.

Who designates these special days anyhow?  No one has ever asked me what I think, or if I have a favorite food that I would like to honor with it’s own special day.  If anyone can get in on the act offering random suggestions for dedicated days, then I can do it too. Mine would be much more specific like— mulch the flower beds day, or skip work and go for a drive day, or lets’s get our nails done and then go out for lunch day, or put on some good music and dance day.  As you can see my days have a lot more to do in them than just eating one type of food… they’re more about movement and action and getting things done.  That’s the kind of gal I am.

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Anyway, having gotten that off my chest,  here’s a recipe for making doughnuts that are just the tiniest bit healthy because they are baked instead of fried.  I don’t know anyone who makes their own fried doughnuts, do you?  I think everybody and their mother hates deep frying foods, and that definitely includes me.   If the thought even crosses your mind, think of your thighs and reconsider!!   One impulsive act like frying doughnuts can undo weeks of careful eating, and hopefully weight loss, so get a grip on yourself.

Tiniest bit healthy baked doughnuts!!

Tiniest bit healthy baked doughnuts!!

Thank heavens these doughnuts require NO fryer.  They’re easy to make and they turn out light and cake-like. They require only one specialized pan; a doughnut pan that is generally inexpensive.  When I bought mine I thought I would never use it, but I’m finding myself using it more and more.  One little trick that I do with mine, is pour muffin batter in it and bake them.  You will get a shallow muffin, like muffin tops with a hole in the middle.  Think of it as a weight loss tactic; smaller muffin with a hole in the middle=less calories!   What you see in the above photo that looks like muffins is actually the remainder of the doughnut batter that I baked in a muffin pan.  I call them Douffins 🙂

Mr D. called these doughnuts “fabulous” and I have to agree with him.  I love the bits of tartness that the grapefruit zest adds to the flavor, and the grapefruit juice in the glaze keeps it all from becoming too sweet.  Making the candied zest is very easy to do, and now that I’ve done it, I would try it with other citrus fruits and use the candied zest as a garnish or topping on other baked goods.  Try this, it adds just the perfect touch.

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GRAPEFRUIT BUTTERMILK DOUGHNUTS WITH CANDIED ZEST

Yield:   1 dozen doughnuts  (I got 12 doughnuts plus 4 douffins)

Ingredients:

  • non-stick cooking sprayIMG_7533
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 large grapefruit, plus 4 two-inch long strips grapefruit zest thinly sliced
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice

Directions:

1.  Coat 2  six-cavity doughnut pans with nonstick spray.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, and salt, and mix well.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, canola oil, vanilla, and zest of 1 grapefruit to combine.

Mix wet ingredients together.

Mix wet ingredients together.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir.  Spoon batter into the prepared pans, filling each cavity a little more than three-quarters.

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3.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn doughnuts out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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4.  In a small bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar and juice until smooth.  Set glaze aside.  In a small saucepan, combine zest strips, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 3 tablespoons water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.   Drain, and discard the liquid.  Immediately toss the zest strips in the remaining sugar until coated.  Transfer to a cutting board and chop.

After cooking, coat zest strips in sugar.

After cooking, coat zest strips in sugar.

 

Chopped sugared zest into small pieces.

Chop sugared zest into small pieces.

5.  For each doughnut, carefully dip the top in the glaze, then set on a wire rack, glaze side up, so excess drips off.  Sprinkle immediately with chopped zest.

 

Dip tops into glaze, sprinkle with zest.

Dip tops into glaze, sprinkle with zest.

 

These are unbelievably good.

These are unbelievably good.

 

SOURCE:   Country Living Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb Liqueur

While browsing through an old books store several years back, I came across a book called Infused,  100 Recipes for Infused Liqueurs and Cocktails.  The very first sentence caught my attention:  “Making your own infused liqueurs is simple, and the results are delicious.”  I was suddenly caught up with the idea of being able to capture the flavors and beautiful colors of fresh fruits ( and herbs and vegetables, too) in a liqueur that could be enjoyed year-round.  These make wonderful gifts as well,  particularly at Holiday time.

All infused liqueurs are created using the same basic principle.  A flavor is steeped in an alcohol base for a period of time.  The solids are filtered out, and a sweetening is added.  The liqueur is aged which allows the flavors to mellow, then it is bottled and ready to serve.  Vodka–clear and neutral tasting–is an ideal blank canvas for infusions and this is what I use.  However, other spirits work beautifully as well:  rum, tequila, bourbon, brandy and gin, so long as they are clear or have minimal color of their own to contribute.  By making your own infusions you are not limited by what you find in the liquor store,  the flavor combinations seem endless.

RHUBARB LIQUEUR

Makes about 3 1/2 – 4 cups

Bring 6 Tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup water to boil in a small saucepan, stirring just until sugar dissolves;  remove from heat and allow to cool.   This is called a simple syrup.

Place 1 1/2 pounds coarsely chopped rhubarb in a large  wide-mouth jar.  Add 3 cups vodka, 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur, and cooled syrup;  stir.  Screw lid on tightly;  let stand at room temperature in a dark place for 2 to 3 weeks.  Give it a shake every now and then.  During this time the color will leach out of the rhubarb, giving the liqueur a rosy color.  Strain mixture through a sieve over a large bowl. (One with a pouring lip is ideal).  Discard solids.  Pour the liqueur into a bottle.  Now the HARD part:  Wait 1-2 weeks for flavors to mellow.  OK, you can have a small taste.   YUM!

This is how I made my first batch, and it was very good,  but I’m going to make more while rhubarb is still available, and this time I am going to put in a few thin strips of orange peel (no white pith) instead of the Grand Marnier because I didn’t taste quite enough orange flavor the first time around.  No, wait, I think I’ll use both.  Wonder what that will do to the color????  I feel a little like a mad scientist as I continue to come up with flavor concoctions.   Most have been HITS, but a couple have been MISSES.  I”ll be sharing more flavors with you as time goes on.

This is what rhubarb flavor looks like!    Top photo shows a variety of flavors including cranberry, peach, orange, and lemon.