French Rhubarb Custard Pie with a Canadian Twist

This is my second recipe with rhubarb and one of my favorite dessert: fruit pie. I really love the combination of tart rhubarb with the creamy and sweet taste of custard.

A lot of calorie for sure … made with good quality products for a maximum of nutritional value. This is a sweet indulgence that you don’t eat everyday. This is a dessert that you share with the people you love…

Why rhubarb is so interesting!

You may know that the stalks are the only things eaten, because the triangular leaves are extremely high in oxalic acid, which can cause severe illness in people.

No surprise, rhubarb is low in calories (21 calories per 100 grams) but it holds some vital phyto-nutrients such as dietary fiber, poly-phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

Rhubarb contains antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins, helping to fight off disease

It apparently can help lower cholesterol, boosting your heart health

Rhubarb stalks are a good source of fibre, benefiting your digestive health.

It contains vitamin K (37% daily value per 100 grams), an essential property that helps with blood clotting, limiting neuronal damage in the brain, protecting the bones and help fighting off liver and prostate cancer.

Rhubarb is also a good source of vitamin C (great for a healthy immune system), vitamin A (the red rhubarb), calcium, potassium manganese and magnesium.

And do you know that like many fruits, rhubarb is best eaten with a fat to help absorption of carotenoids and vitamin K.

I think it is time to cook, this is the recipe:

Recipe for 6 to 8 servings

Preparation: 30 min

Cooking: 50 min to 1 hour

1 – Pie crust recipe

This is my grandmother Lucie pie crust recipe, already published in my first blog.

Ingredients

250 g (2 cups) flour

125 g (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) of butter, cubed and very cold

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

100 ml (less than 1/2 cup) very cold water, plus more is needed

Directions

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture, and cut it using a pastry cutter (rubbing it in with your fingertips also works in a pinch). Keep working the butter into the dough until in coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.

Scrape off any residual butter-flour mixture from the pastry cutter, and drizzle in the water.

Gently work the water into the dough with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until it becomes a shaggy but relatively cohesive mass. Give the dough a few kneads with your hands (fewer than 10) so that it forms a rough ball.

Try to work these steps (after adding the cold water) as fast as you can. This is one of the secrets for a flaky and soft crust.

Wrap the ball in plastic wrap, and chill for at minimum 30 minutes or overnight. This allows the water to fully hydrate the dough, making for a more cohesive product that’s easier to roll out.

2- The rhubarb custard pie

Ingredients

200 g (~ 2/3 cup) “crème fraiche” (sour cream works also)

90 g (~1/2 cup) sugar + 90 ml maple syrup

Vanilla extract (facultative)

3 eggs

500 g rhubarb (3 to 5 sticks)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. On a well-floured surface, roll dough into a 9″ circle. Press into pie pan, and prick the bottom of your crust gently with a fork. Reserve in the freezer (facultative).

Wash and dry rhubarb. Peel the skin if very tough. Cut the stalks into about 1/3 inch pieces.

In a medium bowl, toss rhubarb with 40 grams of the sugar. Let sit until fruit has released its juices, about 15 min (until 1 hour). Strain, reserve juice.

To make custard, beat eggs with cream, vanilla extract, maple syrup and remaining sugar. Stir in rhubarb juice.

Scatter rhubarb in crust and pour in custard.

Bake until custard is set but loose, about 50 to 60 minutes. Do not over bake.

Pork with onion rhubarb sauce

I love rhubarb. This is one of the first fruits that we can harvest in the garden.

Rhubarb, a perennial, is one of the easiest plants to grow in a northern garden, and it's one of the earliest local vegetables.

Rhubarb, a perennial, is one of the easiest plants to grow in a northern garden, and it’s one of the earliest local vegetables (http://www.nubimagazine.com/rhubarb-unsung-food-hero/) .

However, it is more than this for me. It is a lot of good souvenirs with my grandmother Adele, when we were cooking together. Her rhubarb jam was amazing … bright pale yellow color, the small pieces of rhubarb cooked slowly in sugar and still intact, the jam running a little bit (French way to do jam), easy to spread on a piece of fresh French baguette covered with butter. Yummy!

And each year since I am a teenager, I am cooking with rhubarb, predominantly deserts like pie, crumble, marmalade and jam of course.

But do you know that rhubarb is not a fruit but a vegetable?

I found this quite intriguing and this year I have decided to experiment a new avenue: a savory dish with rhubarb.

Pork and rhubarb, a delicious combination for a stew. The tanginess of the rhubarb is balanced perfectly by the sweetness of the onions, and this combination works perfectly with pork.

I think it is time to cook. This is the recipe:

Recipe for 6 to 8 servings

Preparation: 15 min

Cooking: 1 hour and 15 min

Adapted from Cuisine de A a Z

Ingredients

1 kg to 1.2 kg pork tenderloin or pork loin roast

1.2 kg rhubarb

40 grams butter or 2 tablespoons olive oil

4 sweet onions (medium size)

I did this recipe two times. The first time, the sauce was really watery. The second time, I decided to use less liquid (50 ml) and I almost burnt my dish. Better to keep an eyes on it. You can add more liquid if necessary, and if your sauce is too watery, you can reduce it a little bit before to serve it.

100 ml water

You can replace water with beer or wine. The first time I did this recipe, I used an American Pale Ale beer from Black Oak Brewery. You can also use a Blanche de Chambly from Unibroue. A light but flavourful beer is perfect!

The second time I use a white wine. My suggestions: pinot grigio or chardonnay

Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat the butter/olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.

 

Add the minced onion, liquid, salt and pepper; cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Add the minced rhubarb, mix well with the onions; cook over medium heat for an extra 40 minutes.

Cut the pork into slices, arrange on a warm platter, and spoon sauce over the sliced pork.

Serve with rice, roasted sweet potatoes and/or French green beans.

Bonne Appetite!