Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb Pie
Ingredients:

2 pounds rhubarb
1/4 cup lemon juice (Mark substitutes 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Minute instant tapioca (Mark substitutes 1/4 cup flour)
1/2 cup water (Mark omits the water)
2 boxes Pillsbury crust
one 10-inch Pyrex pie plate
foil for bottom of oven

Procedure:

I use two boxes of crust for a 10-inch pie plate. Never use smaller pie plates than 10 inches. A large pie plate affords long slices, which look so much more formidable and appetizing. Plus, you can always bring the extra slices to work if you panic when faced with eating the leftovers and susequent extra time on the StairMaster.

One box of two small crusts really isn't enough to make a nice, thick crust that won't leak, nor does it allow you to have a substantial edge that won't burn. Also, when shopping for rhubarb, look for thick, juicy, red stalks. Beware of stalks that are bruised, cut, or dried-out at the ends.

Begin by slicing the rhubarb into inch-long pieces. Then, slice the rhubarb down the middle, along the grain of the stalk. This allows the rhubarb to release its flavor and absorb the sugar. Combine the rhubarb, lemon juice, sugar, and tapioca. Stir to coat the rhubarb, then allow it to marinate while you prepare the crust.

Turn on your oven to 400 degrees, to allow it time to preheat while you roll the crust and put the pie together. You want the oven to be fully preheated, otherwise the crust won't be as flaky. Also, cover the bottom of your oven with foil, to keep it clean in case the filling boils over.

Open a box of crusts, remove all the plastic, and place both crusts atop each other on a clean, floured board. Roll the crust to be 3 inches larger than your pie plate.

Place the bottom crust into the pie plate and pour-in the filling. Roll-out the top crust to the same size as the bottom crust. Brush the overhang of the bottom crust with a little water, then cover the pie with the top crust, pressing lightly to seal the edges.

Fold the crust over once, towards the center of the pie, then fold it once more. This thick edge doesn't need to be covered with foil to avoid burning. Use your thumb on one hand and thumb and index finger of the other hand to fully seal the crust and build-up a nice, pretty edge to the crust.

Cut several holes in the top of the crust. Don't be afraid to cut too many, as this will help release steam when the filling begins to boil. If you don't cut enough holes, pressure will build inside the crust and break open the edges, causing leaks and spills.

Just before you place the pie in the oven, pour in the half-cup of water. This makes for a juicy, wonderful filling. The tapioca will absorb the water and rhubarb juice to make a nice, gelatinous filling that contrasts with the texture of the rhubarb.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake the pie for another 40 minutes, checking towards the end to see if the filling has begun to bubble in the center. Once the center begins to bubble and thicken, remove the pie from the oven.

Allow the pie to cool almost completely before serving. This lets the filling completely thicken and set, so it won't run all over the place when you slice and serve the pie. This pie is best served warm with scoop of vanilla ice cream, or cold with a glass of milk.