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Monday, November 3, 2008

Rhubarb Blanket Pie


Rhubarb - a hardy perenial plant resembling a bright pink celery, very sour in taste and usually does not come cheap in the vegetable aisle. It originally came from northern asia, but is not a common ingredient in the south east asian household.

Intrigued by its traits (and chancing upon a market sale of $2 for a good sized bunch), the hardy rhubarb found its way into this 'blanket pie', named such because the shortcrust pastry is draped over the sweetened stalks like a blanket.

To make a basic shortcrust pastry, rub 175 grams of chilled butter into 2 cups of plain flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of chilled water or until the dough comes together, roll into a ball and chill from 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the stringy parts then chop rhubarb (around 800 grams) into equal sizes (around 1.5 inches) and sweeten with 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, as this spice goes really well with rhubarb.

Roll pastry crust in a slightly bigger size than the pie dish, and roll it over the dish, letting the excess sides hang off for a while. Scatter rhubarb pieces evenly across the dish, then drape the edges over to the stalks, exposing the middle part. Brush with milk, and sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar over the pastry. Bake in 180C oven for around 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and crisp, and rhubarb bubbling away in the middle. Best served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

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