It’s rhubarb season again! And it’s almost Mother’s Day! My mom loves rhubarb pie and I used to make one for her for Mother’s Day every year. The rhubarb season is short and I always make sure to make at least one pie before it is over. And one compote. And one pudding. And one rhubarb and strawberry dessert as soon as good strawberries are available. And I want to try roasting rhubarb with beets and brown sugar tossed with blue cheese for a salad this year.
I especially love the fresh tartness of rhubarb paired with sweet vanilla and almond. My mom used to simply mix rhubarb compote with vanilla pudding and that was a perfect, fresh treat on a warm early summer afternoon. This pie is a classic meringue covered version that also works really well with other tart fruit.
For the Pie
- 1 1/2 pounds of rhubarb
- 1 1/2 sticks of soft unsalted butter (170g), plus more for the pan
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (300g)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour (225g)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
For the Meringue
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar (200g)
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- pinch of salt
Prepare the rhubarb by cutting off the thick stalk and leaf ends while peeling off the thin skin at the same time. Rhubarb is kind of fun and easy to peel, the skin comes off in long strips. Cut the rhubarb into 1/2" pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-10" round cake pan with tall sides.
Using a standard mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed until very creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. Sift together the flour with the baking powder. Set the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture and heavy cream until everything is well incorporated. Keep mixing the dough on low speed for an additional 5 minutes.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth it out and evenly spread the rhubarb pieces over the top. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar. Bake for one hour and 20 minutes. The dough should not be set all the way at this point. It should look like it needs another 15 minutes in the oven.
In the meantime, when the cake has been baking for about 25 minutes, begin to prepare the meringue. Using a standard mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the lemon juice and salt until soft peaks form. Make sure that your bowl and whisk are absolutely grease free! Slowly add the sugar, whipping the mixture for about 8 minutes until the meringue is very stiff and hard peaks form. This works best if the egg whites are at room temperature.
Use a pastry bag with a large star attachment to pipe the meringue onto the cake, or just spoon the meringue overtop and use the back of a spoon to create some nice swirls and peaks. If you are using a pastry bag, set the bag into a tall jar, or pitcher or even a vase to fill it - fold the bag over the rim of the jar and voila - no mess.
Bake the cake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Ideally, the meringue should still be snow white with slightly brown tips, set hard on the outside and creamy on the inside. This cake is best served very fresh. Do not refrigerate this cake or the meringue will get soft.
SOURCE: ADAPTED FROM TRADITIONAL RECIPES