Rhubarb “Pie” Crumble

Rhubarb “Pie” Crumble

Source:  Myself in 2013

Personal Notes:
I used to work at Marie Calendar’s pie shop in California when I was 16 years old.  From the name, you can guess, there were over 40 pies and I tasted every one!  I remember only having rhubarb once in my life, I guess it wasn’t my favorite, and I never tasted it since.  Now, a good uh-hum 20 years later, I see we have rhubarb growing in the back yard here.  Simultaneously, I picked up a gardening magazine this week and read a nice recipe for a rhubarb tart.  I decided today was the day for trying rhubarb!  I reviewed the magazine recipe, and didn’t have cream, nor eggs as it called for.  I searched around on the internet for a good looking recipe, and found quite a few which didn’t use eggs nor cream.  I didn’t like the looks of what I was finding though.  I searched for a Rhubarb Crumble, and all of the recipes called for oats, and cinnamon.  I liked the recipe from the magazine I found, which called for Hazelnut “mehl” or flour.  It’s quite popular here in Europe to use nut meal in baking.  Trader Joes was the first to carry nut meal in the U.S., I remembered it was such a big deal when the carried it to all my German friends!  I see why.

So, the long of the short here is…I took a little of this and a little of that from several recipes and created my own.  I didn’t measure much, just mixed and eyed the consistency I liked.  I’d say give it a go.  It turned out to be an acceptable dessert with my family.  My kids thought it was apple, and my husband knew the taste but liked it quite well too, I hope you find the same.


3 C. thinly sliced rhubarb Hazelnut flour
1 C. Sugar Cream

Slice your rhubarb and put in a metal mixing bowl along with your sugar.  Mix around.  You will notice the rhubarb produces a lot of moisture, so I added a bit of ground hazelnut to absorb the moisture-maybe ¾ cup  You decide.  Then, I had a bit of cream which I added just for texture.

I mixed it all up, tasted it (a bit sweet/tart) then poured into the pie shell which I made (see pie dough recipe)

I topped with a crumble of butter, sugar and flour.  Again, mix about a cup of sugar, ½ cup of flour and about 1/3 C. butter  and blend together with your fingers to form a ‘crumble’. Pour on top of the Rhubarb mixture, and put in oven.

Bake @ 350 degrees for about 30 min.

Some sources recommend to serve with ice cream or cream. We ate it plane, and was super!

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Source:  Aunty Bruna:  About 2005

Personal Notes:
My mom and Aunty Paulie just left (March 2013) from a 3 week visit where we did lots of talking about food, meal planning, recipe sharing, and where I gained a lot of “hands on” experience!  It was a joy to share, learn and to work off the days stresses in the kitchen together.  By the request of the kids, my mom made her famous Coconut Cream Pie for us.  It was delicious.  My mom said that if we thought hers was good, that we’d have to taste Bruna’s.  Bruna is my Aunt who lives in Arizona.  Just recently, Aunty Bruna and I were talking; she said she was making her coconut cream pie.  The moment could not have been more perfect for me to ask her all about it.  Her philosophy is, if you’re going to make a cake or pie, make the entire thing from scratch…even the pudding!  I think you’ll find this a wonderful recipe!  Enjoy.

Coconut cream pie
Coconut cream pie

Ingredients for Filling:

½ C. sugar 1 ½ C. milk
2 large eggs 1 ½ C. sweetened coconut flakes
1 large egg yolk 1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbs. flour 1/8 tsp. coconut extract

Directions for Filling:
Whisk 1/2 cups sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and flour in medium bowl. Bring milk and coconut to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return to same saucepan; cook until pastry cream thickens and boils, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla and coconut extracts. Transfer pastry cream to medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface to prevent formation of skin. Chill until cold at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Transfer filling to crust. Cover and chill overnight.

Ingredients for Crust:

1 ½ C. flour 6 Tbs. chilled butter cut into small pieces
1 Tbs. sugar 3 Tbs. chilled/solid vegetable shortening
½ tsp. salt 4 Tbs. or more of chilled ice water

For the Crust:
Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 4 TBS. ice water over mixture. (use more if needed) Process just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball: flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

Roll out dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9- inch diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under. Crimp edges decoratively. Pierce bottom of crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 15 minutes.(Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep frozen.)

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line crust with aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans or in our case 3 rocks. Bake 20 minutes.  Remove weights and foil. Bake until golden and set, about 10 minutes. Cool. (Crust can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature)

Ingredients for Topping:

2/3 C. coconut flakes 2 Tbs. sugar
1 ¼ C. chilled heavy (whipping )cream 1/8 tsp. coconut extract

Directions for the Topping:
Toast coconut in heavy small skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Cool completely, making sure you don’t burn the coconut.

Using the electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, and coconut extract in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread  cream all over top of filling. Sprinkle evenly with toasted coconut. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead)  Cover and refrigerate.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Source:  my Mother cir.  1980’s.

Personal Notes:
Of course I have big shoes to fill when I ever attempt to make my own apple pie-as of course, the outcome is being compared to my mother’s.  I’ve watched my mom make it a million times, and I’ve even made the dough w/ her.  But somehow, it’s not the same.  So, when my parent’s visited in spring 2012, we made a few apple pies together.  I think the key to a good apple pie is of course good quality tasting apples, and a perfectly flaky dough.  This requires lots of butter, but as the French say, the key to great tasting meals-butter, butter, and butter!

Apple Pie

Pastry for Pie:                                         Filling for Pie:

2 C. flour 4-6 apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
½ tsp salt ¼ C. sugar
150-200 gr. cold butter 2Tbs. cinnamon
6-7 Tbs. icy cold water 1Tbs. flour (aids as a thickener for filling)


Pastry dough:

Combine salt, and flour.  Slice small pieces of the cold butter into your flour mixture.  Begin to combine and add the cold water as you need.  You will begin to bind the dough and you will work it as little as possible, due to the heat from your hands making the butter melt.  This is a quick process to combine and smooth the dough.  Once you have achieved the binding and desired moist texture, roll out and lay into your pie pan.


After your apples have been peeled, cored, and sliced, combine with sugar, cinnamon and flour.  Mix around in a bowl, and then pour into prepared pie pan with the pastry dough below.  You can either decide to cook it open face w/ a crumble mixture on top, or lay another layer of pastry dough on top.

Bake:  375°F for 50-60 min.  Or until crust is a perfect golden brown.

Let cool, so the filling will thicken.

Apple Pie

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.