Perfect Rhubarb Pie


 I love this recipe for Perfect Rhubarb Pie because it’s so simple. Added bonus: Vodka crust!

Growing up, I didn’t eat a lot of rhubarb.

Maybe there wasn’t a lot of rhubarb in West Texas as that time because fruits and vegetables didn’t fly around the world like they do today.

Perhaps Papa Daddy didn’t like rhubarb. Or it might not have been on Aba’s radar screen. Regardless, I found rhubarb late in life and I fell in love.

My favorite way to enjoy rhubarb is, like most people, in a pie. I love this recipe for Perfect Rhubarb Pie because it’s so simple. Tart, but sweet (like me!). I know the recipe looks long and involved, but that’s the fault of the delicious Vodka Crust. Use a refrigerated pie crust, if you prefer.

I’m going to be taking some time off to pursue some other writing projects. I’ll be posting some of my previous recipes with (much) better images. I’ll be checking my email so please leave comments, suggestions and share my recipes (please!).

Thanks for the fun.

How To Pick Perfect Rhubarb


How to Pick Perfect Rhubarb

Rhubarb has always reminded me of blushing celery, even though the two are not related.

Celery only comes in one color, but rhubarb has an entire collection of lipstick shades. Besides soft pale pink, rhubarb’s long stalks can range in color from light green to vibrant magenta.

How to Pick Perfect Rhubarb

This springtime vegetable (yes, it’s a veggie, not a fruit) has a make-you-pucker tartness, so it’s usually gussied up with sugar or spices. Most rhubarb-based recipes lean toward the sweeter side. Strawberries pair beautifully with rhubarb. You can sub rhubarb for up to half of the strawberries in many recipes, but you’ll need to bump-up the amount of sweetener.

Rhubarb’s tartness also works with savory dishes. I like to simmer it until very tender, add a touch of sugar and use it as a marinade for pork tenderloin or chicken.

How to Pick Perfect RhubarbIt’s not always necessary, but sometimes I “string” my rhubarb to get rid of particularly thick and tough fibers. I use my vegetable peeler to peel down the length of the stalk (a paring knife works just as well).

Oh, and one good-to-know tip: the stalks of the rhubarb are the only edible part… the leaves are poisonous. They won’t kill you, but they can cause real stomach distress. And even though you’re going to cut them off and throw them away, rhubarb leaves should be green and fresh looking, not wilted or brown.

Rhubarb is in season right this minute. I’ve pulled together a few Rhubarb Rules to consider so you’ll know how to pick perfect rhubarb every time!

How To Pick Perfect Rhubarb

Plated + Served: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


Sistie has been praying that I’d make her a strawberry rhubarb pie… which worked out pretty well for her since rhubarb is in season and today is National Day of Prayer.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

When buying rhubarb, you should look for rhubarb that is glossy red, with firm crisp stalks. Go ahead and snap the base of the stalk… there should be a slight resistance. Some say the color doesn’t matter; it’s the snap that counts. I think the brighter the red, the prettier the pie.

One other thing: don’t eat the rhubarb leaves because they’re toxic. You won’t die, but you’ll get sick and that will certainly cut into your pie-eating pleasure.

To prep rhubarb, trim an inch off the bottom of the stalk. If the stalks are thick and have tough celery-like strings, peel them with a vegetable peeler.

If you’re making this pie, remember that rhubarb has a really high moisture content, so choose your thickener carefully. I like to use arrowroot because it is made from roots and doesn’t make the pie gummy or mask the fruit’s flavor like flour or cornstarch.

For this recipe, I used a package of high quality ready-to-bake piecrusts… I didn’t make my own piecrusts. I know this is anathema for some (I can hear it now: “Why put a perfectly good filling into cardboard crusts?”).

But sometimes you just have to take these shortcuts if you don’t have a lot of time, but still want to do something nice for someone. I’ll pray that you’ll understand. Not Sistie, though… she’s only praying for pie!

Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
prep: 15 minutes
cook: 40 to 50 minutes
serves: 8

you’ll need…
1 package (15 oz.) ready-to-use refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
1¼ cups sugar
4 Tablespoons arrowroot (find it in the spice aisle of the grocery store)
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups strawberries, quartered
5 cups rhubarb, cut into ¼” pieces
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 egg white, lightly beaten

let’s get to it…
a rimmed baking sheet on the second lowest oven rack. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Roll out one of the piecrusts into a 9-inch pie plate. Cut second piecrust into 10 (1/2-inch-wide) strips; set aside.
Mix the sugar, arrowroot and salt in a large bowl.
Add the rhubarb, strawberries and lemon zest; toss gently to coat.
Pour the filling into the lined pie pan.
Place five of the reserved piecrust strips over filling. Weave remaining strips by folding back alternate strips as you add each cross-strip. Fold bottom crust edge over ends of strips. Seal and crimp the edges.
Brush the top lightly with beaten egg white.
Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pie from front to back and reduce the temperature to 375°F. Continue baking 20 to 30 minutes longer or until the juices bubble up and the crust is a deep golden brown.
Cool for at least 2 hours before serving.


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: