Rhubarb is a spring treat I enjoy raw, baked or in a jam. I have never cooked or baked with the stuff until a couple of weeks ago. I was not disappointed and neither were my friends.
Recently, my editor in Knoxville gave me a bag of rhubarb from his garden. I was thankful and excited but wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it.
I set off to brainstorm a bunch of recipe options: a jelly or jam, strawberry rhubarb pie, a cobbler or even a coffee rhubarb cake. Then it hit me–rhubarb custard.
A few years ago, a friend of mine brought over custard with fresh rhubarb. It was sweet, yet tart, and wasn’t masked with other fruits, like strawberries. It was fantastic. This is what I went with.
I found a recipe that was simple. Eggs, sugar, flour and a dash of salt.
As my wife can attest to, I use recipes as a template but I don’t follow directions well. I like to create my own thing. The custard recipe was simple and could easily be modified without destroying the taste.
Prepping and baking took the longest amount of time. I washed the rhubarb, then diced it into little cubes.
I put the fruit in sandwich bags with a little water and sugar, shook it up, then let it sit in the fridge for about half an hour.
Next, I mixed the custard. I had enough rhubarb to make two pies, so I doubled the recipe. I used farm fresh eggs, sugar, flour, a smidgen of salt and ginger—the extra ingredient the recipe didn’t call for.
The recipe then called for a crumbled top made with flour, sugar, water and a pinch of salt. I decided to alter this and made more of an airy, sugar cookie dough to put on in globs over the whole custard.
I cheated a little and didn’t make my own pie crust. It makes a floury mess on the counter and I didn’t want that. I used frozen premade pie shells.
After baking the empty pie shells I pulled them out and poured in the custard, then slapped globs of the cookie dough mixture on top.
I tossed the custards in the oven at a preheated 350 degrees for a little more than one hour and waited with anticipation.
The aromas coming out of the kitchen were amazing. I periodically checked inside the oven, without opening the oven door, to see what was happening.
The globs of goodness on top had all come together to form a light crust. Once the top turned golden brown, I pulled them out.
I let the custards cool, then cut a slice for my wife. She loved it and so did I.
I gave one of the custards to a friend of mine who likes to tinker around the kitchen himself. His father happened to be there and he gave it a try. He seemed to enjoy it.
He tossed a compliment my way while he was heading out the door. Another stamp of approval.
One custard pie disappeared quickly in about 24 hours. I’m ready to make more.