I had wanted to make the Deep-Dish Rhubarb Pie from Sarah Leah Chase’s Open-House Cookbook for a long time. Yesterday I finally did it – it took several years for my two rhubarb plants to be strong enough to harvest at once the amount of rhubarb the recipe requires.
Chase’s cookbook is from 1987 and yet another proof that good cookbooks do not need stylish food photography, in fact, there is not a single photo except for the author’s, with an unmistakably 1980’s sweater and hairdo. The book came to me through my husband’s trousseau (he doesn’t cook). It was one of the cookbooks his mother must have given to all of her children because I have spotted it on the cookbook shelves of my husband’s siblings.
This rhubarb pie is an adaptation of the recipe.
For the lattice crust, I decided to take a shortcut. Or so I thought, because I am not really good at making lattice crust, and I wanted to avoid lengthy fiddling with strips of dough while there is so much weeding, planting and pruning to do right now. Instead I cut out small cookies and placed them on top. This might have taken just as long as producing a lattice! At least I could be sure of a decent result.
Rhubarb can make a runny pie so depending on the freshness and thus moisture content of your rhubarb, you need to increase the amount of cornstarch in the filling. My pie was a bit on the runny side but I thought the filling is yummy as is, so I wouldn’t want to cut back on the amount of cassis, and rather adjust the amount of thickener next time.
Rhubarb Pie with Cassis
2¼ pounds diced rhubarb (about 8 cups)
¾ cup Crème de cassis (black currant liqueur)
Grated zest of 2 organic oranges
A little less than 1½ cups (10 ounces) sugar
¼ cup (1 ounce) cornstarch, more as needed
2½ cups flour
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup (2¼ ounces) shortening
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
Pinch of salt
About 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
1. The night before mix the rhubarb with the cassis and the orange zest in a non-corrosive container. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Cut the butter in chunks and put it in the food processor with the shortening, sugar, ginger and salt. Process until the mixture is crumbly and pebbly, then gradually add tablespoons of ice water and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Place the ball in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
3. Drain rhubarb and pour the liquid in a saucepan. Set the rhubarb aside. Whisk the sugar and the cornstarch into the liquid and slowing bring to a bowl, whisking constantly. Cook until it turns clear and thickens. Add more cornstarch, a tablespoon at a time, until you get a very thick consistency. Cook to turn clear after each addition, and only then add more cornstarch.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Roll out half of the dough to a 12-inch circle to fit a 10-inch cake pan. Lightly spray the pan with baking spray and fit the dough into the pan, trimming the edges.
6. Mix the rhubarb with the thickened liquid and pour it into the pan.
7. Roll out the remaining dough and cut out small cookies of your fancy. Place them closely together on top the filling.
8. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool completely before cutting.
Makes 12 servings