Sometimes the answer to sadness is to bake.
Mom harvested some rhubarb from the garden and It brought me to mind of my grandmother … she showed love through food and more often than not pie. Rhubarb custard was one of her favorites to make (and my grandfather’s favorite to eat). I skipped the crust because the good stuff is the inside anyway, right?
This sort of turned out somewhere between a Dutch baby, a clafoutis and a crustless custard pie. I’ll skip right to the recipe and save the extensive thoughts for after, shall I?
Here is what I did:
3 Cups Rhubarb sliced into small chunks.
2 Cup pitted dried cherries (I kept these whole)
½ cup melted salted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (I used a combo of almond and coconut because we don’t like regular milk around here)
¾ cup sugar (granulated white is what I used but you could probably substitute your sweetener of choice)
½ cup flour (I used AP flour… you could use Gluten free I’m sure if you wanted GF)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Brandy
1 tsp rose water.
5 generous shakes of ginger powder (a lot of traditional/similar recipes will use nutmeg or cinnamon… I like ginger… you do you or skip completely).
Large mixing bowl
Small bowl to melt butter
Spoon (I did this by hand… you could use a mixer if you really wanted to)
Pie pan – 10”
-Preheat your oven to 350 F
-Grease your pie pan (I used the cooking spray because it’s fast… you can use butter if you like the satisfaction of smearing butter all over a pan)
-Fill your pie pan with the rhubarb and dried cherries… spread the cherries out as evenly as possible.
-In your large bowl mix your sugar, flour, ginger, milk, vanilla, brandy and rose water and eggs one by one.
-Melt your butter in the small bowl and mix that in too.
Here’s where a stand mixer would make quick work… I like the meditation of mixing by hand… I think it’s an act of putting love into the food. For something like this it really doesn’t take that long, just mix it till it’s smooth.
-Pour the batter over the rhubarb and cherries and give the pan a little shake and maybe use your spoon to make sure everything is settled.
-Pop it in your oven and let it bake around 45 minutes. It will puff up and brown rather like a dutch baby or Yorkshire pudding in the oven and when you pull it out will collapse a bit. This is ok. The edges should be brown and the middle should only wobble slightly.
-Let it cool completely before cutting how you like about 6 slices generally.
-It should be stored in the refrigerator after it cools and will be good 3 to 4 days.
Story and Explanation... if you are still here... In my paternal family the love language was food. Also tied to that were some complicated issues around food and weight and guilt. I’m trying hard to let go of the bad and keep the good. I acknowledge and accept that food is in fact one of my primary love languages too (and music). But without the mixed messages and guilt.
I’ve always loved Rhubarb. My grandmother would use it in sweet and savory applications, and it is truly a remarkable plant (as well as being pretty). Pie was Kenny’s (my grandfathers) favorite food. I think if he could have, he would have had it every meal. One of the things I like about rhubarb is that it’s not overly sweet. ¾ of a cup of sugar (compared to a lot of other desserts) really doesn’t seem that bad. While I wouldn’t maybe call it “healthy” you know it could be way worse lol. To add a little sweetness, it’s good to add a sweeter fruit to the mix. This time I used cherries, but strawberries and rhubarb are also a classic and wonderful combination. If you use fresh strawberries though you will want to add a touch more flour as they will release a lot of juice and the texture will be off.
I tend to use a lot of ginger in my cooking, it adds a warmth, richness and complexity that is a nice addition to again… most sweet or savory things.
The rosewater and brandy I added to this just add more layers of flavor making it more spring and more grown up. A little rosewater goes a long way so if this flavor isn’t your jam leave it out or use less. I thought this amount added just a little hint of floral. The brandy mixed with vanilla I think just makes it elevated. I often mix the two when something calls for vanilla.
About the Blog
I've been blogging on and off for years. This is my area to explore healing, food, wine, travel and various thoughts on life. My goal: Be True. Be Kind. Heal. Dream. Inspire. Discover. Create.