Festival Memories and a Rhubarb Pie

There comes a time of year for me when I start to get nostalgic for tent cities, sunshine, ladybugs, and late nights. 12 long months, I’ve waited to wear Chacos with my hippie trippy skirts and to spin around in the middle of a log cabin on a worn wooden floor, my heart bursting with happiness.
Yes, it’s now festival season. I was utterly chagrined when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to go to Mt. Airy recently, a wonderful festival that takes place every summer in Mt. Airy, NC. It is the town that Mayberry (a la The Andy Griffith Show) was based on (I swear I’m not making this up). Until it burned down a few years ago, they actually had an Aunt Bee’s Pancake House…no lie.

I know I’ve talked about it here before, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say that more people should try out the old time music festival circuit. It’s just like a camping trip with a huge group of really awesome family members that you never knew you had. There’s the crazy aunt, with her cat pins, floor length skirts, and crazy frizzy hair (she’s the best banjo player you’ve ever heard). There’s your grandpa, who might be 100 years old and wear overalls while smoking his pipe or hand rolled cigs, and he has stories of learning to play the fiddle by candle light, figuring out each note for himself. Nobody taught him and he has his own style. There are teenagers, pretending to be bored and thinking everyone playing music and enjoying themselves are lame (they always come around when they hit about 16 or 17 and want to learn to play themselves). Until they come around, they travel in packs, sneak beer and cigs and roll their eyes.

I guess my point is that I have been doing a lot of thinking about what “home” really means to me at this point in my life. Is it DC, where traffic makes me want to go on a murderous rampage, people are all type A control freaks, and I can’t see the stars standing outside on my porch? No freaking way. Is it where my parents live? Unfortunately…not anymore. I’ve created my own home these last few years, and it happens to be out in the middle of the woods in West Virginia, wherever my friends are playing music and making mischief.

One of my favorite memories from growing up in the world of summer festivals is of the Hobo Pie people. Hobo Pie was actually their band name, but I honestly don’t think I knew that until I was like, 22. Every year, packs of kids would descend on their campsite at Clifftop, lugging containers of ingredients from kitchen campsites. For a dollar or so, one of the Hobo Pie people would make a to-order combo of ingredients like cheese, ham, veggies, chicken, tomato sauce, or maybe a sweet combo like jam, marshmallows, chocolate, whatever and then cram it all between two slices of white bread. Then they pressed it into a camp toaster, which looks like an old fashioned square pizelle iron without the pattern which you hold over a fire or a grill, and it basically formed something like a Hot Pocket. MMMMM. Toasty, gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside. I’ve been dying to find out if you can make one of these with gluten free bread and get a similar result.

For now, I decided to make an actual pie. I’ve been moping around lately because I couldn’t find any local rhubarb, so I finally broke down and bought some at Safeway. I think it was actually a good move, because the stuff I bought looks gorgeous: dark red and luscious looking.

This pie was completely wonderful. It is not, however, one that I ate warm out of the oven. In order to allow the juices to thicken up, I refrigerated this pie intending to eat it the next day and promptly forgot it for the entire weekend (I was dog sitting for the cutest dog ever with the cutest boy ever…don’t judge me!). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, because the flavors had a chance to fully develop and the pie was amazing. Try it out if you have a craving for a summery taste of fruit with a luscious sweet crust. Speaking of the crust, I used Mike Eberhart’s recipe for a standard pie crust, from his book Gluten Free and Wheat Free Gourmet Desserts. The taste is wonderful, it doesn’t use any gums or weird thickeners, and best of all, you don’t have to roll it out!!!! The dough is simply pressed into a pie tin, but you can’t tell when it’s all baked up. What more could you ask for?
Another side note: I didn’t do a top crust on this, mostly because I was making it up as I went along and didn’t think about what shape the fruit would be in when I pulled it out of the oven. Fortunately, the fruit sort of roasted and got nice and soft and sweet. I would do one of two things next time: Either stew the fruit first and then add it to a completely cooked pie shell, in which case you would bake the shell for 29 minutes rather than 15. Or, I would add a top crust to it. Either way would work.

Summer Fruit Pie

Ingredients

Filling:

3 large stalks rhubarb, washed, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pint blueberries, washed and checked for stems
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 c. tapioca starch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Crust:
1/2 cup butter
5 ounces cream cheese
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp. corn syrup
1 1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. sweet white rice flour (glutinous rice flour)

Egg wash:
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. corn syrup

1) To make the crust, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add baking powder, vanilla and corn syrup and mix completely.

2) Add cornstarch and sweet rice flour. Mix until just blended (will start to stick together).

3) In a 9″ or 10″ pie pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, press crust along bottom and up the sides of the pan.

4) Brush a light coating of egg wash over the entire surface of the crust. Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes. If you see the edges starting to get well done, cover edges with tin foil or a pie shield.

5) While crust bakes, combine rhubarb, apples, and blueberries in large bowl with sugar, tapioca starch, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir to coat all fruit.

6) When crust is done, fill with fruit mixture and bake another 40 minutes at 400 F. Cool completely before eating. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
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6 Responses to “Festival Memories and a Rhubarb Pie”

  1. Amy Green Says:

    My grandma made rhubarb pie every summer – I have been thinking about making a sugar & gluten-free version myself. I was so happy to see the pie crust recipe with no sugar!! I am going to try this myself. Thanks so much for sharing. Your pie looks delicious.

  2. Amy Green Says:

    My grandma made rhubarb pie every summer – I have been thinking about making a sugar & gluten-free version myself. I was so happy to see the pie crust recipe with no sugar!! I am going to try this myself. Thanks so much for sharing. Your pie looks delicious.

  3. kitschen Says:

    Hi Amy! I'm glad you're going to try the recipe. Since the pie crust still has corn syrup in it, I would suggest that you try using a little xanthan or guar gum in place of it, since I think Mike's version included the syrup in place of another binder. Let me know how it turns out!

    Rosemary

  4. kitschen Says:

    Hi Amy! I'm glad you're going to try the recipe. Since the pie crust still has corn syrup in it, I would suggest that you try using a little xanthan or guar gum in place of it, since I think Mike's version included the syrup in place of another binder. Let me know how it turns out!

    Rosemary

  5. Katie Says:

    this looks great!!

  6. Katie Says:

    this looks great!!

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