Rhubarb Custard Pie

The Recipe: My very first rhubarb pie recipe, bites of tart red rhubarb with a delicate custard, a rustic, country pie.

The Conversation: What does a great rhubarb pie "sound" like? And who else wants to hear it?!

Rhubarb Custard Pie, a rustic, country pie, tart rhubarb with a delicate custard.

If there were a soundtrack to Rhubarb Pie, the first song would be silence, the one that expresses supreme appreciation. And then the second would be the music of forks scrape-scraping on plates, gathering up the very last morsels. Care to listen? : - )

You wouldn’t think even a northern cook like me would need two rhubarb pie recipes. After all, the rhubarb season is only a few weeks long and there’s no end to recipes for my much-loved ruby-colored spears.

But you see, Rhubarb Custard Pie was my first rhubarb pie recipe – the one I made every summer when visiting my parents in Minnesota, especially the years when my mom and I made a pie every day – then invited people for coffee and pie. We had a waiting list! We took requests!

Some years back, Straight-Up & Perfect Rhubarb Pie tempted me and oh! I was glad it did, it's a perfect balance of tart and sweet and cinnamon. When I shared the recipe eight years ago now, I called it my “last” rhubarb pie recipe.

So now it's time to return to my past. After all these years, here’s the “first” rhubarb pie recipe.

Two great rhubarb pie recipes? It’s enough to last a lifetime.

ALANNA’s TIPS For pastry, use your own favorite pie crust or try mine, Flaky Tender Pie Crust. (Even experienced pie bakers might want to review this photo essay, How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust. It's packed with tips, readers keep telling me they are making their very best crusts ever!) Rhubarb Custard Pie is a single-crust pie but I always make the full recipe and then roll out the rest, sprinkle it with cinnamon and bake it in a hot oven. Shades of my childhood! Why start off the pie on the lowest rack? That’s to give the bottom crust a real whack of heat. If you have a baking stone, put it right on the stone. Otherwise, the bottom crust may not brown as much as preferred. I’ve even considered “blind baking” the crust for 10 minutes before adding the rhubarb but would be concerned about the edges getting too dark. For an almost crème-brulee-ish “crack” on the surface, sprinkle the top of the custard with sugar, plain or raw sugar, for the last 10 minutes of baking. If you have leftover custard, stir a bit of sugar into it, pour into a ramekin and bake right alongside the pie. Leave the pie uncovered until it is completely cooled and then chilled, otherwise condensation will collect and drip down onto the custard. Not nice!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to finish: 90 minutes
Time to table, including chilling: 4 hours
Makes 1 9” shallow or deep-dish pie
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 4 cups (16oz/453g) fresh rhubarb cut into ¼” pieces
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup (248g) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plain or raw

Heat oven to 400F. Line a pie pan with pastry, chill until ready to fill.

Please note, the pie bakes in three stints: first, just the rhubarb alone for 20 minutes; then with the custard for another 20 minutes; finally with the sugar for 10 minutes or until done.

RHUBARB In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Turn into pie shell and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes on the lowest rack in the oven, directly on a baking stone if possible.

CUSTARD While rhubarb bakes, gently whisk all the ingredients. Gently pour into partially baked pie, leaving about a half inch of crust exposed – if using a shallow pie plate, there will be leftover custard. Bake for 20 minutes on the center rack.

TOPPING Sprinkle pie with sugar. Bake for another 10 minutes or until center is no longer soft and jiggly.

COOL Cool completely without covering, about 1 hour. Refrigerate pie until ready to serve.

LEFTOVERS Best on the first day but in my family, leftover pie for breakfast is a tradition! Be sure to keep refrigerated.

Per Slice, assumes Flaky Tender Pie Crust cut into 12/8 slices: 291/437 Calories; 18/27g Tot Fat; 11/16g Sat Fat; 97/146mg Cholesterol; 115/173mg Sodium; 27/41g Carb; 1/2g Fiber; 16/24g Sugar; 4/6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 7/11, WW PointsPlus 8/12
Filling Only (for anyone using their own crust or who’s not eating the crust since well know bad crust isn’t worth the calories!), assumes 8 slices: 259 Calories; 15g Tot Fat; 9g Sat Fat; 127mg Cholesterol; 132mg Sodium; 27g Carb; 1g Fiber; 23g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 6, WW PointsPlus 7
Only slightly adapted from my all-time favorite pie cookbook, Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook. It’s been long out of print but there are used copies available, pricey though.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite rhubarb recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Rhubarb Recipes: And I'm Not Done Yet!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Upside-Down Rhubarb Cheesecake Rhubarb Cake Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
~ more rhubarb recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Custard with Rhubarb Sauce ~
~ Rhubarb Curd ~
~ Straight-Up & Perfect Rhubarb Pie ~
~ Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie ~
~ more rhubarb recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.