Wednesday, June 3, 2009

returning to a garden full of rhubarb - recipe: rhubarb sour cream pie

Returning home from a vacation tends to be bittersweet, don’t you think? I usually feel a little glum on the departure day – the holiday (and the anticipation of it, sometimes the best part!) is over and “back-to-reality” is just one sleep away. That being said, there’s nothing better than your own bed, a closet full of (fresh and unwrinkled) clothes to choose from and your own bathroom (enough said).

We recently returned from a wonderful two-week trip to Italy (stay tuned for the details in an upcoming article). As you can imagine, coming home was tough – it was such a pleasurable, educational and delicious experience. However, being greeted by the abundant rhubarb patch (in my backyard behind the garage), softened the blow a bit.

I love rhubarb – whether in muffins, cakes, pies, fools, custards, crisps, or jams… In the past couple of years I’ve also started to incorporate rhubarb into savoury dishes such as rhubarb compote with braised pork or duck.

After washing and chopping the stalks my husband “harvested” for me as he was tidying up the garden, I found myself with an astonishing amount. The first thing I made was “award winning rhubarb orange pecan muffins”, a recipe that Mom had clipped out of The Record many years ago. You can find the recipe on my website: (in the new “recipes” section: I love muffins, especially homemade ones. I find they aren’t as greasy as store-bought ones and are almost always much healthier. After many mornings of café lattes and various Italian dolce (sweets), I needed something like a muffin to ease the transition back to my standard probiotic yogurt, kashi cereal and fruit!

I made (and shared) these muffins all week (John loved them), but I also made several of my Mom’s “signature” rhubarb sour cream pies. Mom thinks that the original recipe came from the Toronto Telegram (I think it folded in the early 70’s?) many years ago, but she isn’t 100 percent sure.

Mom makes awesome pastry and pies, and this is one of my favourites. I think it’s probably my all-time favourite, but then I re-consider when I try her wild blueberry, peach, sour cherry or pumpkin with cream cheese icing. I just asked my husband David for his top pick and he said that his favourite rotates with the seasons, but he’s most partial to the pumpkin (however I feel compelled to tell you that he ate TWO whole rhubarb pies in three days so I’m not so sure I believe him). Anyway, it’s a great pie (and super duper easy – especially if you “cheat” and buy a premade crust. Mom never cheats but I’m not ashamed to admit that I sometimes do!).

Rosslynn’s Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie

ingredients (corrections to newspaper edition in red)

  • pastry for a 10-inch pie
  • 4 (four) cups rhubarb, cubed/diced
  • 1/3 (one-third) cup flour (for filling)
  • 1½ (one-and-one-half) cups sugar
  • 1 (one) cup sour cream
  • ½ (one-half) cup flour (for topping)
  • ½ (one-half) cup brown sugar
  • ¼ (one-quarter) cup butter, softened


  • Preheat oven to 450º F.
  • Arrange rhubarb in uncooked pie shell.
  • Mix 1/3 cup flour, sugar and sour cream together and pour evenly over rhubarb.
  • Combine ½ cup flour, brown sugar and butter together until crumbly and sprinkle over the top of pie.
  • Bake in 450º F degree oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350º F and continue baking another 30 minutes or until fruit is tender, filling is set and crumbs are golden brown.

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