Hello friends! Good morning (or afternoon, or evening.)
First things first - Do you ever write a blog post, or text message or Facebook status late at night when you are tired and emotional and then the next morning you feel like you have been walking around with the top of your underwear showing or just plain naked? Yep. That is how I felt when I woke up this morning and remembered my post from late yesterday. I meant to write a perky, happy Thanksgiving craft post, and instead I went all Debbie Downer with my lament for the farm life. If you read all of that and you still want to be my friend then a huge thank you for sticking with me. I try to not wallow in self-pity often around here, but sometimes it just seeps out anyway. Tell me you understand.
It is true, as Anne Lamott says, that "Sometimes this human stuff is slimy and pathetic...but better to feel it and talk about it and walk through it than to spend a lifetime being silently poisoned." So I talked about it, and it helped, so thank you for sticking with me. Today, as I could have predicted, things are looking brighter. The sun is shining, I am enjoying the morning in my reclaimed studio (more on that to come) and enjoying yummy homemade cinnamon rolls left on my porch by a dear friend (who happened to get one of those awful rambly text-messages from me last night.) and I have a recipe to share that does not include yarn pom-poms or wallowing. I am pretty sure neither would taste good.
When I was 12 (or nearly) my family moved to Juneau Alaska from Clearwater Florida. Talk about culture shock. One of the things I remember most about those early days was eating Rhubarb. It seemed to be in every other dish that the women of our church made during those early months of welcoming their new pastor and his family (us.)
It took me a while to get used to the flavor and the texture (the dishes where not always prepared by the best bakers unfortunately) but in the end I came to love rhubarb. Rhubarb is hard to come by in the South. The climate is not right for growing it, and the grocery stores only carry it randomly and in small -expensive- batches. Luckily though, I have friends left in Juneau who are more than happy to send me boxes of it each summer, and I have had fun coming up with new recipes for it's use.
With Thanksgiving coming up I knew it was time to create a pie version that I could proudly take to my in-laws who have never had Rhubarb- and that would make my Alaskan peeps proud.
I paired the rhubarb with a thanksgiving tradition - cranberry sauce, and finished it off with a nutty almond crust and crumble. The result was so good that Miles literally licked the pie plate clean in the end.
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
Zest of ½ an orange
2 Cups of fresh or frozen rhubarb, diced.
1 can of Cranberry sauce
6 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp heavy cream
Make the filling
Melt the butter for the filling in a heavy saucepan. Once it begins to bubble add 1 tbsp of heavy cream. Stir.
Immediately add rhubarb and can of cranberry sauce, zest and sugar.
Break up cranberry sauce with spoon.
Slowly bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, about 2 minutes. Simmer until the rhubarb beings to break down the liquid is syrupy (10 to 12 minutes.)
Use a potato masher to break down the rhubarb more.
Remove from the heat and let cool completely (this is important.)
For the shortbread
1 cup of Walnuts or pecans
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
1/4 granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. pure almond extract
Up to 2 tsp of water
Cooking spray or butter
Make the shortbread crust
In a food processor (with at least a 9-cup capacity), combine the nuts with the flour. Mix until the nuts have become part of the flour mixture. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and 1 tsp of water.
Mix until creamy, and the dough begins to pull from the sides and come together. If the dough has not begun to pull away and more water, 1 tsp at a time until it does. The dough will not be dry enough to roll out, but you do not want it runny either.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic and divide into thirds.
Lightly coat a round tart or pie pan with a with cooking spray or butter.
Using a rubber spatula and a table spoon, press two thirds of the of the dough evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan, spreading it as you would cake icing. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator.
Form the remaining dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough and the shell until very firm, at least 30 minutes.
Bake empty pie shell in a 300 degree oven until firm, dry, and just starting to turn golden brown around the edges, 25-30 minutes.
Once the shell is cooked, immediately pour the cooled filling into the pie shell and spread evenly.
Crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the filling in small pieces, covering the top. Bake until the topping is firm and golden-brown, 30 to 35 minutes in a 325 degree oven on the middle rack.
Cool completely on a wire rack before serving so that the filling has time to "set up." If you want to serve it hot, serve it in a bowl over vanilla ice cream. The filling will still be runny while hot so it might act more as a topping than a pie.
Once cooled, slice and enjoy. The crust is not too sweet and the almond flavoring serves as a nice balance to the sweet yet tart filling.
I think this pie is a good one to make ahead of time because it is best served at room temperature No need to to worry about oven time on the big day with this pie.
As you can tell, it is not yummy at all.
So are you making a pie? What kind? I would love to know.