Anne Dimock's Straight-Up Rhubarb Pie

By • May 11, 2012 • 28 Comments

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Author Notes: In this pie, there are no strawberries to claim rhubarb's glory. Anne Dimock's simple filling formula calls for 1/4 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of flour for every cup of sliced rhubarb, plus a little cinnamon, an unlikely accent that brings out the rhubarb's fire. Her golden pie crust ratio is 3:1 flour to fat -- feel free to adjust both filling and crust up or down depending on the size of your pan. Adapted from Humble Pie: Musings on What Lies Beneath the Crust (Andrews McMeel, 2005) with additional notes from The Essential New York Times Cookbook (Norton, 2010).Genius Recipes

Makes 1 9-inch pie; serves 6-8

For the crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening (Dimock uses non-hydrogenated brands like Spectrum or Earth Balance, but use another fat like butter or lard if you prefer)
  • About 6 tablespoons ice water

For the filling

  • 5 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 2 pinches cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Make the crust: before measuring the flour, stir it to leaven with air and then measure out 2 cups. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Cut the shortening into the flour with a fork or pastry blender. Stop as soon as the sheen of the shortening disappears and the mixture is a bunch of coarse pieces. Sprinkle a tablespoon of water at a time over the dough, lifting and tossing it with the fork. When it begins to come together, gather the dough, press it into a ball and then pull it apart; if it crumbles in your hands, it needs more water. (It's better to err on the side of too wet than too dry.) Add a teaspoon or two more water, as needed.
  2. Gather the dough into two slightly unequal balls, the larger one for the bottom crust and the smaller one for the top. Flatten the larger ball, reforming any frayed edges with the sides of your hand. Dust with flour and roll the dough, starting from the center and moving toward the edges. Take a knife or thin spatula and quickly work its edge between the crust and the counter top. Lift the dough to the side; dust the dough and counter top with flour. Roll again until the diameter is an inch or 2 larger than that of the pie pan. Lay the rolling pin a third of the way from one of the edges. Roll the crust onto the pin and then unroll the crust into a 9-inch pie pan and shift it into place. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.
  3. Make the filling: in a large bowl, blend the rhubarb, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour into the crust-lined pie pan. Dot with butter, if using.
  4. Roll out the top crust. Dab the rim of the bottom crust with water to create a glue. Then place the top crust over the rhubarb; trim, seal and cut several vents. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake 25 to 30 minutes more, or until a bit of pink juice bubbles from the vents in the crust.
Jump to Comments (28)

Comments (28) Questions (2)

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4 months ago Fran Bombardo Sullivan

I live near Sanford Fl, once the celery capital in these parts. I have been searching for a celery pie recipe without success. I know it exists because I have eaten celery pie and I wondered if I could use this recipe with celery instead of rhubarb. When I tasted celery pie years ago, I recall it being very similar to the taste of apple pie or rhubarb pie. If anyone has a recipe for celery pie I would be forever grateful or else I'm going to try this one with celery.

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4 months ago chefrockyrd

while waiting for my rhubarb to grow I am buying it. Everyone has their own way- but we like either all rhubarb or rhubarb/raspberries. I do not thicken the filling with anything but precook the rhubarb instead. Just saute it in a pan with a bit of the sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice to hold the color. I let the juices thicken and then remove it from the heat and add the raspberries at the end, so they don't break down totally. I transfer it to a plate to cool it, then add it to the prepared crust. The filling is nicely thickened after baked.

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4 months ago boulderbee

Here's a useful trick. Combine the sugar and flour before you mix it with the rhubarb. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of this mixture across the bottom crust, heap rhubarb in and then sprinkle remaining flour/sugar over the top. No need to mix. This prevents a soggy bottom crust!

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4 months ago LittleKi

I was short on time, so shamelessly cheated on the crust and went pre-made (hang head), but the filling was fantastic and my guests polished this thing off!

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5 months ago edwin cohen

Sense Rhubarb was one of the only things that grew well in our back yard in San Francisco the pie came to be a favorate, if a bit weird by my friends standards. Mom would always use a lattice top to help with taming some of the juiciness and toss in a hand full of raisins to balance more a the powerful tartness. Still one of my favorites and it was many years before I ever knew about the Rhubarb Strawberry marriage thingy.

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over 1 year ago ElaineStLouis

Earth Balance makes a very nice crust, but can be very salty, so I advise cutting back or eliminating salt in the crust if used. I made this yesterday and it is really good. I did cut back on 1/4 cup of the sugar though, as my rhubarb from the garden has been exceptionally sweet!

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over 1 year ago Big Len

Instead of flour add arrow root powder, 3-4 tbs. Absorbs much better and gives no mealy consistency.

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over 1 year ago Chloe8

A homemade Rhubarb Pie! one of my favourite pie.

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over 1 year ago Carole Paquette

Everything was delicious but it was a bit too runny. Will add a little more flour next time. Also used 1/2 butter and 1/2 Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread and that worked beautifully. I used my food processor to make the crust, pulsing to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture, then add the ice water a Tablespoon at a time through the feed tube. I made it with only a bottom crust and used an oatmeal crisp crumbly topping. My hubby says it is the perfect rhubarb pie recipe and I needn't look any further.

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over 1 year ago heatherp

totally righteous recipe.
it tasted exactly like my grandmother's pie. and that's a really good thing.

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over 1 year ago Nancy Mck

I am totally on board with this pie. I never understand the need to add strawberries to rhubarb.

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over 1 year ago karela

Here is a great trick from Cook's Illustrated. You can use half water and half vodka for the liquid. You will NOT be able to detect the vodka taste after it's baked (all the alcohol bakes out)and the vodka doesn't develope gluten like water does so you can get it plenty moist enough to roll easily and still have light, tender, flakey crust without the toughness that too much water creates. Magic!

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over 1 year ago Emsbutler

My family loves this pie, too...more than any other type. So, in the spring when rhubarb is available I make sure to freeze some. I cut it into one inch pieces and pop into a freezer bag so I am always ready, even if the rhubarb isn't in the stores (or in my garden).

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over 1 year ago jamcook

Added 2 pinches of Penzey's Baking spice.. a wonderful combination of everything nice..cinnamon.. anise seed, allspice, mace and cardamom..looks and smells lovely. for a potluck tonight

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over 1 year ago ACK

How thick/thin should the rhubarb be sliced?

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

If you page through the slideshow above, you can see lots of details -- we went for 1/4-inch-thick slices.

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over 1 year ago MadChef

Grandma called it pie plant for a reason,to make rhubarb pie.

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over 1 year ago KT

sure looks like there is rhubarb and some other fruit in this pie. Like peaches or something???

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Nope! Just straight rhubarb. This just happened to be a batch of rhubarb with more green in it.

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over 1 year ago adele93

if butter is used instead of shortening do i use 2/3 cup still?

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes, exactly -- make sure the butter is very cold when you cut it into the flour, and that it stays cold as you work with it. You might even want to chill the dough for 30 minutes or so before rolling out. This will help it get nice and flaky in the oven.

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about 2 years ago KLL5

My comment on this recipe is that the filling came out tasting too sweet- and not much like rhubarb. Perhaps it was my rhubarb, but I would use much less sugar next time. I do like this crust recipe! It was very easy to make.

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over 2 years ago daisybrain

It is a Father's day tradition on my house to make a rhubarb pie. So far I haven't used the same recipe twice. This one may rate highly enough to try next year. I did add extra rhubarb though. Maybe an extra cup. Very yummy. My 9 year old proclaimed it his new favorite pie outranking both pumpkin and apple.