I know, I know, this is the second rhubarb pie I’m sharing this year.
DON’T JUDGE ME AND MY PIE ADDICTION.
I would say I’m working on it, but I’m not. I’m really not.
Unless by “working on it” you mean, continuing to feed the addiction by making more and more pie.
Because, yes. THAT I am doing. Can you even blame me?
In my humble opinion, pie is just the BEST dessert.
Flaky buttery crust, juicy fruit filling….it has it all. And if you’re a chocolate fanatic, yes we can pie that too.
Combine that with the fact that rhubarb season is fleetingly short (especially when you can’t scavenge all the supermarkets in a ten block radius of your apartment trying to find it), and you’ll understand why I’m double dipping in the rhubarb pie genre of desserts this year.
This rhubarb and brown sugar pie comes from Pastry Love – the latest bakebook by Joanne Chang, creator of Boston’s magnificent Flour Bakery chain, and recent James Beard award nominee. I’ve been on a bit of a bender of baking through this book and so far I have no regrets. I think I’ve made almost ten things from it thus far, each more delicious than the next.
What is particularly intriguing about this rhubarb pie is that it gives a custardy twist to what is otherwise a pretty typical fruit pie filling by adding eggs and flour to the batter. You probably couldn’t tell if you didn’t know they were in there, but they do help to hold the filling together and add a bit of creaminess to the pie. The inclusion of brown sugar adds depth of flavor so that the pie is at once tart, sweet, and sultry.
And the crust! Joanne Chang uses an interesting technique called fraisage, where instead of pulsing the dough together in a food processor or cutting it together with a pastry cutter, you use your hands to smear the butter into thin sheets that inevitably form an incredibly flaky crust. She also has you parbake the bottom crust (a practice that is fairly unusual when making a double crust pie), which ensures that there will be no soggy bottoms or overbaked tops.
Enjoy it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top, though it truly does not need either.
- 1¾ cups (245 g) all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, cold
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 3 tbsp (45 g) whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1¼ lb (560 g) fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced ½-inch thick
- ⅔ cup (135 g) sugar
- ⅓ cup (75 g) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (30 g) cake flour, sifted
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg yolk (for egg wash)
- 1 tsp sanding sugar
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix for 15 seconds.
- Cut the cold butter into 12 pieces and add to the flour mixture. Mix again on low speed just until the mixture starts to hold together when you press it, 60-90 seconds.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and milk, then and add them to stand mixer bowl. Mix on low speed, just until the dough starts to come together, about 30 seconds.
- Pour the messy dough onto a clean work surface and gather it together into a pile. Use the heel of your hand to smear it, starting from the top of the mound and smearing down to the bottom. This will create sheets of butter that will make for very crispy, flaky dough. Repeat until most of the large butter chunks are smeared like this and the dough has come together.
- Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
- Remove the chilled crust from the fridge about 15 minutes prior to rolling it out. Divide the crust into two pieces - one that is about ⅔ of the dough and one that is about ⅓. Take the large piece and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch circle. Rewrap and refrigerate the remaining dough for the top crust. Dock the rolled out crust all over with a fork. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the rolled out dough, leaving a ¼-inch lip around the edge. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
- Heat oven to 350F. Remove the pie plate from the fridge and line the crust with parchment paper. Pour pie weights onto the parchment, pushing them into the edges of the crust and filling it all the way to the top. Blind bake the shell for 30 minutes, rotating midway through. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once cool enough to handle, remove the parchment paper and pie weights from the shell. Discard the parchment paper and store the pie weights for future use.
- While the shell is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk together the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in the rhubarb and toss to combine. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, and salt until combined. Add the sugar mixture to the rhubarb mixture and stir together until thoroughly combined. Pour into the par-baked pie shell.
- Roll out the remaining pie dough into a 9-inch circle. Drape it over the pie and press gently so that it will stick to the edges of the parbaked crust. Whisk the egg yolk and brush over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the sanding sugar evenly over the top of the pie. Score the top with 5 2-inch slits to ensure the pie is well ventilated.
- Place the pie plate on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the pie halfway through, or until the crust is beautifully brown and the filling is bubbling in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.