Spring Has Sprung and Rhubarb is Here!

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One of my favorite memories as a child was my Aunt Lois Lovas’s custard rhubarb pie.  She was a home economics teacher in Mayville, North Dakota.  My dad and I both loved rhubarb and when my mom, Ruth Bennett, made her custard rhubarb pie there were lots of smiles in the kitchen.  This recipe was in a cookbook of recipes from home economic teachers all over the country and I still have it.

One of my student’s asked me if I liked rhubarb and all those great memories resurfaced.  She brought in a huge bag for me and Cheyenne, let me tell you, I have already used it up.  I made two of Aunt Lois’s pies and rhubarb simple syrup for a lovely cocktail!

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Here’s the recipe:

Aunt Lois’s Custard Rhubarb Pie

4 1/2 c. 1/2″ rhubarb
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Shape your pie dough into a 9-inch pie plate, fluting the edges, and chill until set, about 15 minutes. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork, and then line the crust with aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake until the edges of the crust are just golden, 15 minutes. Remove the foil with the pie weights and continue to bake until the bottom of the crust is dry and lightly browned, another 15 minutes. I know this seems like a lot of work and who precooks a crust for a baked pie?  Trust me, it keep the bottom of the pie from getting all soggy.  Yuck.  Cool completely.

Toss the rhubarb with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the orange zest and juice until well combined. Transfer to the coled crust and spread to form an even layer. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk the eggs with the cream, flour and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar until smooth, and then pour over the rhubarb. Bake until the pie is lightly browned, puffed and no longer wet in the center, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Before serving, lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar.
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This is so good it doesn’t even need ice cream  Guaranteed.  Thank you Aunt Lois, who is in heaven drinking thick Norwegian coffee with my mother, Ruth Bennett, Aunt Florence, Aunt Clarice and Aunt Emma.

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