Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bebop-a-rebop Rhubarb Pie

My sister's rhubarb went nuts this year.  So nuts that she cut a ridiculous amount for me and kept a ridiculous amount for herself. Neither of us had ever cooked with rhubarb. So we were left asking the question: What do we do with all of this rhubarb?

We decided to do a rhubarb pie bake-off. Of course.

We chose two different recipes. I enjoy a tart pie, so when I ran across a recipe for a raspberry rhubarb pie, I knew that was the ticket.
My sister opted for a more classic combination; a strawberry rhubarb pie. She decided to replace the double pastry crust with a graham cracker crust.  This is an ideal substitution if you are trying to bake a pie while caring for a colicky baby (read: a baby that was crying all-day-long) and while potty training a two year old.
The Contenders
Raspberry Rhubarb
Strawberry Rhubarb
Because we are both highly experienced in the field of eating. We got together to sample and to critique the results of our labors.  We discovered that both recipes were delicious, but both had some drawbacks. Here's the break down of the pros and cons to each recipe. (Links for recipes to follow)
Raspberry Rhubarb Pie:
This pie is full of personality. The double pastry crust was buttery, flaky and suited the filling well. This was a fairly tart pie and the flavor had quite a bit of depth. We felt that the cinnamon was an interesting compliment to the raspberries. Beyond the rhubarb, this pie called for very few ingredients that weren't already in my cupboard. Major points for that. 
The subtle notes of the rhubarb were a bit overwhelmed by the raspberries. Plus, I'm not always a fan of raspberry seeds.  Also, the crust was a bit of a pain to roll out.
Bottom line:
A nice, tart, enjoyable pie. Worth the effort that went into it.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie:
The flavor is sweet, tangy and pleasant. Strawberries are wonderful paired with rhubarb. The addition of the graham cracker crust added sweetness and made for more of a cobbler effect. The graham cracker also added a nice texture. Like the other pie, very few ingredients were needed from the store to make this recipe possible.
This pie is sweet, but lacks some depth of flavor. We suspect that adding the optional orange zest would help with this. The graham cracker substitution needed some more tweaking as the crust turned out on the soggy side. My sister is still unsure of why arrowroot is preferable to a cheaper thickener like cornstarch.
Bottom line:
Definitely a sweet treat. With a little tweaking to the crust, this would be an amazing pie.

Just a word to the wise, both pies demanded vanilla ice cream. Okay, without further ado, here are the recipes:
-Raspberry Rhubarb Pie taken from Gourmet. Go there to find a dozen more rhubarb recipes that look and sound wonderful.

-Strawberry Rhubarb Pie adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

Here are some more photos from my baking process.
Jellybean was very excited to get that pie out of the oven.
Get yourself some rhubarb and Have a Happy Day!


P.S. For your viewing pleasure:
Prairie Home Companion's Bebop-a-rebop Rhubarb Pie Commercial

This post is participating in:
 Tip Junkie handmade projectsToday's Creative Blog