Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rhubarb mini pies

Last weekend, Maggie decided we should make something with the rhubarb we bought the previous weekend from our farmer. I wasn't quite sure this should be "her" thing, as last time we had it, she did NOT like the rhubarb (I made rhubarb compote). But she insisted, since the rhubarb had been her choice at the market. So we did it.

She didn't help a whole lot, but you can tell she's growing up: She still hung out near the island and talked with me, helping just a little here and there the entire time. In the past, she'd get bored or annoyed and leave. We based it on the banana mini pies, again using the crust recipe from Joy of Cooking. I didn't put plastic wrap over the bowl in the fridge, which I think made the crust dry out. (With the banana ones, I divided the dough in two and put each in a plastic box, since I'd originally made the crust the night before. This time, I just stuck the bowl in the fridge. So, anyway, the point is: Cover the dough in the fridge, just like they say!) The top pie in the pic is very good evidence of the problem with a dry crust. Using rhubarb also didn't help, as it's hard and pokey, so I think every single pie had at least one hole in it. The holes also meant that the nice juicy part of the filling seeped out. Thank goodness for Silpats! Maggie really enjoyed the caramelized spilled filling, so it didn't go to waste.

I used the rhubarb pie filling from Joy of Cooking as well. It called for 5 cups of rhubarb. I think I used no more than half of what I made, even though I used an entire recipe of dough for a double crust pie. Wait, I did have a ton of crustie cookies at the end. But maybe enough for only one more pie. (I cooked the remaining filling in the microwave for about 5 minutes until it was like compote, but stickier. Then put it in the freezer since I had the fresh pies to eat.)

I tried a 7-8" crust diameter, using one of my plates for a cutting guide. It just looked too darn big (for individual servings that is). So the others I used a bowl, making them between 5 and 6". That was just about right.

The rhubarb pie recipe said the brush the tops with milk or cream and spring with sugar. This was far easier than with egg yolk (which the banana's called for). I used the leftover 1/2 and 1/2 from the banana ice cream. And plenty of sugar since I wasn't sure how sweet the filling would be. It was sweet--at least sweet enough for me but then I love rhubarb (with sugar).

For some reason, Maggie didn't try one until Tuesday night. I offered her a taste before giving her an entire pie. We made an initial mistake: I broke the pie to make sure she had an inner bite, not just crust. She got a bite almost entirely of filling and that was too sour! I convinced her to try a second bit that included crust and she LOVED it. (I tried to get Eric to try it then, too, but he refused. He doesn't even like the smell of rhubarb. I guess I understand, since I feel that way about coffee, ketchup, and alcohol.)

I put half of them in the freezer, and can't wait to make more next year. I hope it will be with rhubarb from our backyard that time.

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