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How much sugar for rhubarb pie?

SuB's picture

I was lucky enought to recieve some beautiful fresh rhubarb from a friend's garden.


What ratio of sugar to rhubarb do you use for your rhubarb pie?


I've been browsing recipes at Epicurious and elsewhere and the ratios are all over the map, from as much as 1-1/3C. sugar to 4C. rhubarb to as little as 2/3C. sugar to 10C. rhubarb (yikes!). 


Does fresh rhubarb vary much in tartness?


I've made three or four good strawberry-rhubarb pies over the years but don't have experience with straight rhubarb.  We prefer it on the tart side but not extremely so, and I always add a little lemon zest and juice to brighten the flavor. I realize I could pre-cook the rhubarb filling and taste for sweetness but I'd much prefer to keep it simple.


I'm sure there are rhubarb afficionados around here who can give me some guidelines. 


Thanks all...



Cheers, Sue B.


Good is in the details.

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

Risottogirl's picture

(post #64757, reply #1 of 24)

I like my rhubarb on the tart side, but for pies I use about 1 scant cup of sugar for 6-7 cups of rhubarb.


I use less sugar in savoury rhubarb preparations, of course. heck, I like to eat it like a celery stick.


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

courgette's picture

(post #64757, reply #2 of 24)

I love sour and I love rhubarb but even I can't do the raw thing.....my hat's off to you!


A friend has been using our rhubarb this year. With no kitchen I just couldn't be bothered to pick it and freeze it. Lazy, huh?


Mo

Marcia's picture

(post #64757, reply #3 of 24)

I love tart but have never thought to eat raw rhubarb - we'll see how it goes - thanks for the tip, but don't bother to send it in to FC. LOL

wonka's picture

(post #64757, reply #12 of 24)

When we were kids we used to eat the rhubarb raw dipped in a bit of sugar as a treat.

Marcia's picture

(post #64757, reply #16 of 24)

When I was a kid, I never even saw rhubarb.

wonka's picture

(post #64757, reply #17 of 24)

My grandfather had a huge vegetable garden. He also created a garden plot for each of his grandchildren to grown what they wanted (with his help). I grew strawberries, peas, lettuce (we liked it sprinkled with sugar as a snack) and sunflowers (he roasted the seeds for me when they ripened).  I credit him with my love of gardening. He had quite a large rhubarb patch, grew every imaginable vegetable, had strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, plum, apple and filbert trees. We lived with them for a bit when I was a kid (my parents were teens when I was born) and I loved being out in the garden with him. He's been gone since I was 12 and I still miss him.

Marcia's picture

(post #64757, reply #19 of 24)

My grandmother was a wonderful gardener and could grow anything, but I did not inherit her love of gardening. I did pick up cooking from her, however.

When I grew up in the deep south, we never saw rhubarb - I wonder if it's too hot for it to thrive there?

wonka's picture

(post #64757, reply #20 of 24)

Maybe, it grows here during the cooler spring months.

Marcia's picture

(post #64757, reply #21 of 24)

And it's the same in NJ. In the deep South there are a few days of spring and then wham, it's really hot summer.

wonka's picture

(post #64757, reply #22 of 24)

There is still a nip in the air here. This weekend is suppose to start warming up significantly. We've had a cool very wet spring this year (and last year). I hope we end up having a better summer than last year. Lots of plants are really delayed. We are just starting strawberry season. Usually by this weekend DH takes the kids camping and they go raspberry picking on their way home but that won't be happening this year. No raspberries yet.

Adele's picture

(post #64757, reply #4 of 24)

I scored rhubarb at home last week, made a simple compote w/strawberries that I (and Fiona) hand picked at a farm at which I also bought goat cheese from a goat I met named Bob. 


So sad that when we hit the store on the way to the airport (because I forgot the day before) they were out of it.  I wanted to do a jam. :(


The point of this is that my Dad ate a little, dipped it in sugar, ate a little.  It was a tad sour for me to do raw like that.


Edit:  The goat didn't sell me the cheese, she just made it.  LOL


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!


Edited 6/24/2008 6:56 pm ET by Adele

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

avak123's picture

(post #64757, reply #5 of 24)

You crack me up!


I have a great visual of you chatting it up with a female goat named "Bob!"

Adele's picture

(post #64757, reply #7 of 24)

The farm is associated with the school that my niece goes to.  It's just a road over and they visit a couple of times a year.  I'm guessing the kids name them, Fiona knew all their names, and the cats too.



But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

avak123's picture

(post #64757, reply #8 of 24)

What a wonderful opportunity for the kiddos!

Risottogirl's picture

(post #64757, reply #6 of 24)

I have about 10 pounds that I may need to just freeze since I'm not able to cook quite yet with this IV and all.

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

avak123's picture

(post #64757, reply #9 of 24)

I realize the IV must be a big hassle, but how are you feeling?

roz's picture

(post #64757, reply #14 of 24)

"...goat cheese from a goat I met named Bob."

Oh, Roberta!

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
drussell's picture

(post #64757, reply #10 of 24)

This is the first year that my rhubarb plant is producing much of anything. Not much by any standard, but worth at least harvesting the few stalks. But my reason for posting is that everyone seems to add sugar, not salt. Well it may be strange, but if I eat rhubarb in its raw stage it's with salt! Anyone else? 

mer's picture

(post #64757, reply #11 of 24)

I made a strawberry rhubarb pie a two weeks ago that was delish, but was a tiny bit tart for me, so I served it with my runny strawberry jam/sauce. It was wonderful. I made two pies, froze the second pie and once it was nice and hard, I put it in a foodsaver bag and it is now in the deep freeze. Can't wait to have it later in the summer.

SuB's picture

(post #64757, reply #13 of 24)

That's a good idea - make a sweet strawberry sauce if I don't get the sugar quite right and the pie is too tart, so all will not be lost.  Thank you, thank you.  DH loves strawberries...



Cheers, Sue B.


The older I get, the better I was.


Edited 6/25/2008 3:04 am by SuB

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

ashleyd's picture

(post #64757, reply #15 of 24)

Rhubarb does vary in tartness, and people's taste (as seen above) also varies quite a lot, I tend to make it with a minimum of sugar and then add sweetness at the time of serving, either have sugar to sprinkle or use a sweet sauce - strawberry is good but you can use others.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

teebee's picture

(post #64757, reply #23 of 24)

I have only made one strawberry-rhubarb pie (ever).  I used the recipe in FC (can't remember which issue).  I don't think that I care for rhubarb.  I sent the pie home with the carpenter who brought the rhubarb (his family loved it).  I froze the rest of the rhubarb that he gave me, but I am questioning how to make the same pie with frozen rhubarb this time.  Should I thaw it first?  I was planning to use (very) fresh strawberries.  We are having a big family campout weekend, so I'm sure that someone will eat the pie.  Any advice will be very much appreciated!

SuB's picture

(post #64757, reply #24 of 24)

Thanks for your input everyone.  Reporting back:


I made the pie yesterday using my 9" white ceramic deep dish pie plate and the lemon-cornmeal crust from FC #93.  I used 7 cups (2Lb.+2oz.) fresh rhubarb diced 1/2", 1-1/4C. sugar, 1/3C. flour, 1Tb. Minute tapioca, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 2Tb. fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest, and 3 drops red food color (mixed into the lemon juice).  Pie into freezer to firm crust while oven preheats, brush crust w/ egg wash, baked about 55 minutes at 425 degrees, until bubbling.


It's a beauty.  The amount of filling is exactly right for this pan and the thickening is perfect - slices neatly but not too firm or gluey.  I don't taste the cinnamon but it gives a subtle fragrance so I think it was a good add.  The color is just right.  The crust is flaky and crisp.


The down side: It needs just a little more sugar - this pie teeters on the brink between tart (good) and sour (not good).  So this morning, inspired by Ashley's suggestion, I brushed the top crust lightly with water, sprinkled it generously with sugar, then dried it using a very light touch with my propane torch to make an invisible sugar glaze.  This made a big difference, took the edge off the tartness.


Next time I will use 1-1/2C. sugar for 7C. rhubarb, or 10.5 oz. to 34 oz. 


The cornmeal crust from FC#93 is a keeper, this is the second time I've used it with excellent results.  BUT it browns much more quickly than standard pastry, maybe due to the lemon juice?  The edge of my pie was just shy of burned (luckily DH likes it that way).  With my standard pie crust the challenge was always getting the edge done enough, but for this one I highly recommend protecting the edge with aluminum foil. 


Hope someone finds my experience helpful.


 



Cheers, Sue B.


The older I get, the better I was.

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

caroljay's picture

(post #64757, reply #18 of 24)

If you are not sure of the tartness of the rhubarb, you might cook a 1/2 cup sample, add sugar until it tastes good, (measure the sugar!), then scale up to the full amount for the recipe. As for my personal taste, I like a distinct tartness, but it needs to be in balance. I probably use a ratio of 2 cups sugar to 8 cups rhubarb. However, I always do the sample thing, 'cause you never know!

Carol