Recipe: Phyllis Ackerson's Rhubarb Pie

ImageAs we all know, this is what happens with recipes – they travel and mutate along the way. The original inspiration for Scott's "strawbarb pie," a version of which appears in The Tao of Cooking, was this recipe for "plain old rhubarb pie," from Scott's mother. Here it is, passed over the backyard fence, in a handwritten version, with the stalks of local rhubarb needed to make the filling.

Preheat oven to 450º F (230º C) 

Rhubarb Pie Filling
5-6 cups fresh diced rhubarb
1 and 1/2 cups organic cane sugar (more if you like a sweeter pie)
1/2 cup all purpose unbleached flour 
3 T. butter (Anne recommends Organic Valley)

• Combine and mix flour and sugar, then add to the diced fresh rhubarb. 
• Heap mixture into pie pan lined with crust. 
• Dot top with small pieces of butter.
• Cover with top crust, and crimp the edges of the pie crust.
• Cut 5 or 6 vent holes in the top crust, and cover the edges with thin
   strips of aluminum foil or a tin pie crust edge protector. 
• Place pie on mid-level rack in the hot oven, and bake for 15 minutes.
• Reduce oven temperature to 350º F (175º C) and continue to bake for
   one hour or until the top crust is brown and you see steam excaping
   from the vents. 
• Remove foil from pie pan edges during the last five minutes or so of 
   baking. Serve either warm or cold.
Double Pie Crust
2 and 2/3 cups flour (Anne uses New Rinkel Organic Pastry Flour)
1 t. sea salt
1 cup shortening (such as Earth Balance - or use chilled and grated butter)
6-8 tablespoons ice water

• Mix flour and salt together. 
• Cut shortening into the salt and flour mixture. 
• Add ice water to the dough gradually while mixing with a fork, until
  you've used enough that the dough holds together. (For a flaky crust, do
  not overmix.)
• Divide into two balls. 
• On a floured pastry cloth, flatten one ball with your hand and roll out
   with a rolling pin. Reserve the other ball for the top crust. 
• Cover pie, crimp edges, and cut vent slots.