It is beautiful as June approaches, the trees are leafing out and the birds are busy building their nests. If you will recall my daughter, Sophia, conned her grandmother into purchasing some baby chicks from the Tractor Supply Co in Mason City just a few weeks ago. They have already grown so much and have begun to feather out. We made a cozy little home for them in a tank in our outdoor dining room. Sophia takes them outside everyday just as a mother hen would, they love it. They explore and search for delicious bugs to eat. We also welcome the warm spring weather and all that comes with it, including wonderful things for us to eat; like asparagus, morel mushrooms and rhubarb.
Every spring when the rhubarb comes up it is hard not to be reminded of Garrison Keillor’s Rhubarb Pie song. Everyone seems to have their own patch of Rhubarb and that means lots of Rhubarb Pie! We love warm Rhubarb Pie fresh from the oven with a scoop of old fashioned vanilla ice cream. My mother, Phyllis, says it’s all in the crust and the best crusts are made with lard. We like to use our own lard from our very own Niman Ranch pigs. Making Rhubarb pie is like a competitive sport. We all have our own way of doing it and of course we think ours is the best. Here is my mother’s recipe off the top of her head this morning.
3 cups of flour
1 cup of lard
1 tsp salt
Gradually add enough ice water to form pie dough. Once it’s formed into a moldable consistency, divide into 4 equal sized balls.
Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before rolling out the dough. (makes 4 crusts)
Phyllis’ tip: Roll out the crust until it feels as thick as the ear of a newborn baby pig.
4 cups Rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup minute tapioca
dash of cinnamon
grate of nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp of butter, cut into five pieces
Put filling into the prepared pie crust tin and dot the butter across the top of the pie filling to hit the five points of a star. Cover with a top crust.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.