Welcome to my first Blog post! As the owner of Noble Pies in beautiful Warwick, NY, I get asked lots of questions about pies. In each blog I will share with you what I have learned over the years about the beautiful and therapeutic art of making pies and the variety of ingredients you can use to make sweet and savory pies.
It’s April and everything is starting to grow. For most of us the first thing that comes to mind are Strawberries, though my blog is going to focus on its pie loving companion, Rhubarb!
I always thought that everyone knew about rhubarb.
No they don’t!
“What is rhubarb” is one of the most frequently asked questions at our pie shop when we mention our pie flavors. We started out begging customers to try some Strawberry-Rhubarb pie and customers were shocked at how delicious it was. Fresh rhubarb starts to become available in late May-early June. You will find it at Farmer’s Markets and sometimes your local grocery store. Typically the leaves are removed and just the stalks are for sale. Color will vary from bright red to pale red and light green, it all tastes great. Select nice crisp, firm stalks.
Well, what is rhubarb? It is a vegetable. The plants have long stalks (the stalks look a bit like celery) they are red and green and grow huge leaves. They are a perennial so they will come back each year. The leaves contain poisonous oxalic acid so you don’t want to eat them ( http://oxalicacidinfo.com/ ) . The stalks are safe to eat and if eaten raw are unbearably tart.
Rhubarb plants can take a lot of abuse so if you don’t have a green thumb you can probably grow rhubarb! Be aware that they grow quite large so you will want to put them somewhere where they are away from other vegetables and have lots of room to grow. They require sunny/partially shady area with good drainage. I haven’t hurried to grow rhubarb because we have been incredibly fortunate to have people in our community of Warwick bring us arm load’s of rhubarb from their own yards.
I do plan to start growing rhubarb this year. I have ordered Gaskin’s Perpetual rhubarb (http://www.rareseeds.com/glaskins-perpetual-rhubarb/) . This is a variety that is bug resistant, therefore great for organic growing and the stalks are said to be less bitter than other varieties.
Ok, you say but what about the pies? Well, I have to admit that when we first started Noble Pies we had never had straight Rhubarb Pie, just the classic Strawberry-Rhubarb pie. We had several requests so of course we made it! Adventurously we took a bite of Rhubarb Pie and my-oh-my!. It is absolutely incredible. We still sell way more Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie than we do Rhubarb Pie. Strawberries are an absolute wonderful addition to rhubarb. They balance out the tartness of rhubarb and I have nothing negative to say about this pie!
But, if you are a tart taste lover like I am you will go crazy for a Rhubarb Pie! For our pies we slice up the Rhubarb stalks into ¾ – 1 inch chunks. Some prefer to peel the outer “skin” of stringy fibers, but we have found that even large stalks aren’t tough once baked in the pies. We use a mixture of white and brown sugars to offset tartness of the Rhubarb before it goes into the pie.
Noble Pies Rhubarb Pie
Preheat oven to 375F
You will need both bottom and top crusts for this pie. Use your own recipe or our Simple Pie Crust Recipe found here
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