Even though I am supposedly trying to shed some winter pounds that had been hiding under my big brown Scottish sweater, I couldn't resist buying a sack full of rhubarb at last week's farmers market. When I was a kid growing up on the farm, we had a patch of what my grandpa called "pie plant," what everyone else in the world I know now calls rhubarb. I loved going out into the old apple orchard with a big butcher knife and whacking off big frilly leaves, then bringing the stalks in for a pie. Trouble is, I sometimes had difficulty distinguishing between rhubarb and burdock, but that's another story (I couldn't tell mint from nettles either, which is worse).
Anyway, rhubarb is emblematic to me of early summer, just as strawberries and asparagus are. I like the stalks cooked with sugar into sauce to pour on ice cream or spoon on hot buttered toast. I like it made into crumbles with crunchy topping. I have a nice custardy rhubarb dessert my friend Rosemary gave me about 30 years ago that is tasty. But this time I made pie.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Chop up about six cups of rhubarb. Mix it with 1/2 cup sugar and about 1/3 cup flour. I like to grate in a little lemon peel, and I like to sprinkle in a bit of cinnamon, your choice. Stir it all together and put it in a prepared pie crust. Dot the rhubarb mixture with some butter. I quit making pie crusts once I figured out Pillsbury did a better job that I did. Score the top of the pie to let steam escape. If you want you can brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle sugar on it, but it's up to you.
Bake 45-55 minutes, or until nice and brown.
I like mine with a few sliced strawberries on the side and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.