Tuesday, 3 April 2012
This is the cookery book I cut my teeth on, way back in the olden days as a young Bride. I was only 19, not all that experienced . . . and this was pretty much my cookery bible. Everything you needed to know about baking cakes, pies, cookies, quick breads, etc. and simple and easy meals was within it's pages. They became quite dog-eared and spattered through the years . . . which is the sign of a good cookbook.
Of course I have more than added to my cookbook collection through the years, but this is still one of my "go-to's" when I want to bake or cook something basic, simple . . . and delicious, without artiface or faffing about.
The rhubarb in our garden is beginning to ripen nicely now. We planted extra in the autumn, so we will have lots and lots this year. We both just adore rhubarb and in my opinion, you can never have enough rhubarb!! (Did you know it's actually a vegetable and not a fruit?? Tis true!)
One thing I love to do with it is to bake at least one or two rhubarb pies during the season. One that I bake is a Rhubarb Custard Pie, which is very, very good. Rich and custardy, and quite a favourite of ours to say the least.
Other times though I just want a basic, two crust, simple . . . rhubarb pie. No frills. Nothing fancy. Just sweetened fruit between two crusts.
I think when it comes right down to it . . . I'm a kind of a basic and simple girl . . . with a kind of a basic and simple husband, and this pie suits us to the "T."
*Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pie*
Makes one 9-inch double crust pie
Nothing fancy here, just plain old fashioned goodness.
Sufficient pastry for a 9-inch two crust pie
4 cups diced fresh rhubarb (1 inch pieces) (6 to 8 stalks, depending on their thickness)
1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups of sugar (240g to 335g) depending on how tart your rhubarb is
1/3 cup all purpose flour, sifted (about 34g)
1/8 tsp salt
1 TBS butter
milk and sugar for glazing
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.
Prepare the pastry, divide in half and roll half of it out large enough to line a 9 inch pie plate. Keep the remainder covered. Set aside.
Mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Place half of the rhubarb into the lined pie plate. Sprinkle half of the flour/sugar mixture over top. Add the remainder of the rhubarb. Top with the remaining sugar. Dot with butter.
Roll out the remaining pastry into a round large enough to cover the rhubarb with lots of overhang. Seal around the edges of the pie, trim and flute. Cut a few slashes in the top of the pie to vent for steam. Brush the top with milk and dust with sugar.
Place onto a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked and bubbling. Allow to cool to at least warm before cutting into wedges to serve.
I like mine warm with vanilla icecream, and Todd, of course . . . likes his with custard.
*Basic Pastry for a Double Crusted Pie*
Makes enough for one 9 inch pie
2 cups sifted aall purpose flour (199g)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening (6 ounces, Trex or White Flora)
4 to 5 TBS cold water
Additional flour for rolling
Blend or sift together the flour and the salt. Drop in the shortening and cut into the flour with a pastry blender, or using two round bladed knives in a cutting motion. You should end up with some crumbs about the size of small peas, and some smaller. Add the water one TBS at a time, using a fork to mix it lightly together, and adding water only until all the flour is dampened. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured suface and shape into two balls.
Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll each ball lightly, from the centre to the edge each time, until the pastry is about 1 inch larger than an inverted pie plate.
To line a pie plate, fold the rolled pastry in half and trasnfer it to the pie plate. Unfold and ease loosely into place, being very careful not to stretch the pasty. Trim off any extra with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.
Baked Pie Shells: Flute the edge of the pastry in your preferred way. Prick with a fork at 1 inch intervals and then bake in a preheated 230*C/450*F/ gas mark 7 oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool before adding the cooked filling. This recipe will make two single crust baked pie shells.
Unbaked Pie Shells: Prepare as above but do not prick the pastry. Add the uncooked filling and bake as directed in the filling recipe. This recipe will make two unbaked pie shells.
Double Crust Pies: Add filling to the pastry lined pie plate and moisten the edge. Roll out the top crust and place on top of the filling. Flute and crimp edges, trimming off any excess. Cut a few vents in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake as directed in the filling recipe.
Tips: Avoid stretching the pastry, especially during rolling and when fitting pastry into the pie plate. Stretched pastry will shrink during baking. Avoid overhandling and over rolling the pastry. This causes it to toughen.