Growing up, Zack and his family lived quite near his grandparents, and three times a year his grandmother would bake a rhubarb pie: once for his Grandpa's birthday, once for his Father's birthday (both in May) and one last pie for Zack's birthday (in August, but she thought ahead and froze the rhubarb so that it would keep 'till the end of summer). You see, rhubarb pie is Grandma's specialty, but before I married into the family, the Ritchie men were the only ones who liked the sweet tang of spring rhubarb in flaky pastry.
At each birthday, the family would gather. They celebrated with dinner and drinks, candles and gifts, then, finally, with pie. The women would settle into whatever alternate dessert they had prepared, and the three men would divide Grandma's rhubarb pie into carefully measured thirds. Looking back, husband says that this is one of his fondest childhood memories; thrice-annual 1/3 of a rhubarb pie eaten far too quickly.
These days, birthdays are no longer celebrated in large groups, and, to be honest, I can't seem to save any rhubarb 'till August. But when the Grower's Market begins to boast stacks of long rhubarb stalks, glistening with ruby-red bruises from the rubber bands that hold each bunch together, we take full advantage. I only had enough cash on me to snag three bundles at the market last week, but three bunches is really all your need for a pie.
We shared this one with friends (eight slices, one slice per guest. Sorry, Zack). But I still got a splendid high-five across the table from a very pleased husband, so even if your piece is small, it is sure to be enjoyed.
Grandma Donna's Rhubarb Pie:
3 cups cut rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
3 TB flour (or tapioca)
1/8 tsp salt
2 TB chilled butter
Combine all ingredients (except the butter) in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into a prepared pie shell and dot with butter. Cover filling with top crust and bake at 450 for 10 minutes, before lowering the heat to 350 for the remaining 30 minutes. Cool, Eat, and Enjoy.
nota bene: Also delicious served witha side of vanilla bean ice cream. of course.