Saturday, May 30, 2020


Pie is one of those foods that consistently remains at the top of my food chain and the pie that tops my list is made from the common "pie plant", Rhubarb...not strawberry-rhubarb, not apple-rhubarb...RHUBARB. I am a purist and do not want anything messing with my rhubarb.
Last year on a trip to Brooklyn, we discovered an absolutely delightful pie shop called Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Their pies and cookbook have fast become favorites because they are also pie purists and their rhubarb pie is unique and delicious. It is so because the recipe includes cardamom and Angostura bitters. This is one heck of a good pie.

Rhubarb grows as a weed in Wisconsin and with little effort. In Kansas, growing rhubarb has been an annual challenge which usually ends up with me losing. I have grown flats from seed to end up with one plant that languishes in our hot humid summers. This year, the planets have aligned and I have been able to make a real purist pie from my own rhubarb.  

How did this come to pass? First of all, we've enjoyed an absolutely perfect spring. Rhubarb loves this weather. Secondly, several of my plants from last year made it through the winter and produced plenty for my pie.  
This spring I have planted two new varieties of rhubarb, bred to outlast the heat and humidity of middle America. I will not mention how much i had to pay for these new varieties...let's just say it was less than a chief's ticket!
The first new variety's called Hardy Tarty
and the second, Kangarhu.
I am waiting patiently,
to see how they will do!

Here's the Rhubarb Pie recipe.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds Rhubarb Pie

 Pastry for double crust pie

6 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, diced
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
3 to 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Egg wash: 1 large egg whisked with 1 TBS water
Several dashes Angostura bitters
Sugar for finishing

Prepare pastry.  Split in half and roll out the bottom and line a 9” pie pan with the crust and crimp edge.  Whisk egg with water and brush bottom and sides of crust with egg wash. Reserve 1 TBS of the wash for the upper crust.  Place in refrigerator to chill while you mix the filling.

Pour the remaining egg wash over the diced rhubarb in a large mixing bowl.  Add sugars, spices and flavorings and stir together.

Roll out top crust and cut into lattice strips. 

Remove bottom crust from refrigerator and fill with the rhubarb mixture. 

Weave a lattice crust and crimp the edges.  Brush with reserved egg wash and sprinkle with decorative sugar. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set the crust.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and position racks in the oven to the bottom and center. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack.

Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and Bake 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is set and just beginning to brown.  Lower the temperature to 375 degrees F and move the pie to the center rack of the oven.  Continue to bake until pastry is deep golden and the juices are bubbling, about 30-35 minutes longer. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Friday, May 8, 2020


Skies are bluing up in this gray time and it looks good for us to open our Spring Studio Sale on THURSDAY, MAY 21. We will be open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May up to Sunday, June 21.  
This includes Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.  
Most of the sales environment is already outside and the inside studio portion will be wide open as well. Lots of safe social spaces here- Plan on getting outta the house and joining us!