Thursday, July 05, 2007

Amelia's Rhubarb Pie

A month ago, I recieved an email signed "Dad." It was the first time I had ever recieved an email signed Dad. And it contained a recipe - my favorite kind of emails! All around, it was a wonderful email to find waiting for me.

Such was my introduction to the recipe for Amelia's Rhubarb Pie. (I am embarassed to share the story of my introduction to the actual pie itself lest my future in-laws realize that it was me at the family reunion a year ago that was elbowing my way back for seconds and thirds before all the cousins had their proper chance for firsts.) Trust me - this is treasure! There are few things finer than Amelia's Rhubarb Pie. It is delicious. Simple. The perfect blend of tantelizing sharpness and comforting custard. Warm - it is perfect for dinner. Who needs meat? Leftover - it is perfect for breakfast. Set up on a table at a family reunion for self-service after one has consumed twice one's weight in Iowa pork ribs and learned all sorts of tales about the youthful mischief of the man you sincerely hope to marry one day - it is perfect for bliss. It is, my friends, a pie of humble magnitude.

Alas, my two attempts at Amelia's Rhubarb Pie have not produced a pie that even begins to hint at the unforgettable excellence of my father-in-law-to-be's. I'm getting better, but I'm just not there. Fortunately, I'm not giving up. I promise to keep on attempting, and my fiance promises to keep on sampling those attempts. But the good news - the magic of this pie - is that it is so delicious that even my slow learning curve fails to prevent us from doing cartwheels of glee when we eat it. And, I'll be honest, I love this pie for sentimental reasons too. I am looking forward to the day when our kids will be learning directly from their grandfather how to make their great-grandmother's famous rhubarb pie. I'm doing cartwheels of glee in anticipation of that circle of generations. I guess I sort of envision that this pie will be a bit like mashed potatoes were in my family: for whatever reason, my brother and I just make better mashed potatoes than my mom and she - graciously or eagerly - makes no protest to match our determination that we make them every Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, I would like to share the recipe with you. And I'd like to share it with you as I recieved it. I am, generally, of the school that doesn't like the idea of a re-publishing, random forwarding or other informal disclosure of personal email. But this particular email inspires me into cartwheels of glee, and I just can't keep it to myself.

Thankyou, Dad, for such a fine engagement gift. It is treasured, as are the memories of eating it with you for breakfast!

Hi Aileen,

Here is the well worked recipe for rhubarb pie. I’ll call it Amelia’s Rhubarb Pie

4 cups rhubarb cut up (or 3 cups)
3 eggs
1 1/3 sugar (more or less)
a little salt
(1-2 T flour maybe)

Mix eggs, salt and sugar, put rhubarb in unbaked pie crust and pour egg mixture over rhubarb. Bake. It seems like I preheated the oven to 400 then turned it down to 350 or 375 for 40-60 minutes. till the custard seemed like it was getting set in the middle. Sometimes I have had trouble with the crust getting too brown so I have used those crust shield things, I have also added a tablespoon or two of flour to the sugar mixture to help it set up.

Mom just told me the recipe in our kitchen one time and maybe later mentioned the flour or I read it someplace.

Good luck. I bought some rhubarb this morning and hope to make a pie myself.

Much love to you both.


p.s. Apology for the quality of the picture. I took it with the camera that is now broken - for certain, but has been in a pretty constant state of dilapidation for awhile now. And, truth be told, it wasn't just the camera or my lack of skills with it. J. and I have a hard time holding ourselves back from this pie. We tend to sort of rush at it.....which is why half of it was gone before I even gave that camera a chance to record it.


Matt Wright said...

The pie looks completely awesome! Good job.

David Fitzgerald said...

What a treat to read. I immediately read the blog when I received the link and have been neglectful in not responding. My son has done an incredible job of finding me a daughter that I could not be happier to be welcoming into the family. There are so many facets to enjoy about being a part of your lives and hearing the adventures, trials, and celebrations. There is only one recipe for Amelia's rhubarb pie but there will be many more emails from me though probably few as delicious. Much love. Dad