Rhubarb and ginger pie

I cannot claim any of the credit for this pie.  It is my mum’s recipe and my mum made it.  However, I couldn’t resist posting it here because it is just so delicious. The addition of the stem ginger really complements the rhubarb.  Every time my mum makes it it disappears almost as soon as it is put on the table. So if I can decipher my mother’s handwriting, this is how she makes it.

For the pastry:
200g plain flour
100g cold butter, diced
cold water

For the filling:
650g prepared rhubarb (peeled if necessary and cut into 3cm chunks)
2 heaped tbsp Demerara sugar
1 tsp stem ginger syrup from the jar
3 pieces of preserved stem ginger, chopped finely


Place the flour and the cubed butter in a food processor and blitz until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Add about 2-3 tablespoons of cold water at first and then pulse the mixture.  You may need to add a little more water until the pastry comes together in a ball.  The important thing is to keep the mixing to a minimum otherwise the pastry will be tough.  You can of course rub the butter and flour together with your fingers until the breadcrumb stage and then stir in the water with a knife until it comes together.  Form the pastry into a flattened disc, cover with a food bag or clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Place the rhubarb, sugar, stem ginger and syrup in a bowl and leave to marinate for about ten minutes.

Split the pastry in half and roll out one half to fit a pie dish or plate.  Place the rhubarb mixture into the dish.  Brush the edges of the pastry with water.  Roll out the second disc of pastry to fit the top and seal well around the edges.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 or in the Roasting oven of the Aga for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.  Sprinkle on a little more demerara as soon as it comes out of the oven for a crunchy top.

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Rhubarb crumble

It’s lovely to go on holiday and relax with the family, but it is also lovely to come home.  It is especially lovely if when you go on holiday winter seems to still be hanging around and then you come home three weeks later  (a longer holiday than planned thanks to that dastardly volcano!) to find that spring has certainly sprung. So much has changed, the trees are in full leaf, the apple blossom is heavy, the wild garlic is everywhere (and past its best for that salad I was planning) and the weeds seem to have taken over the veg patch. We have been back for over a week now and much of that time has been taken up with sorting out all that post that has piled up, cleaning the (volcanic?) dust that has accumulated and doing some heavy-duty gardening.  Never before have those knee pad thingys that you can buy from the garden centre seemed so appealing.

What was so lovely to come home to (apart from family and pets) was that first trek around the garden to see what was coming up (ignoring the weeds).  The mint, of which there was no sign when we left, is now a foot high.  I reprimanded myself for not getting round to cutting last year’s dead sticks back before I left, but that has now been rectified. The rhubarb, which was just a couple of nobbles peering out of brown earth when we left is now positively taking over its corner of the garden.  I was very pleased to see both of these things as mint is something which I add to my cooking as often as possible and I love and adore rhubarb.

So, one of the first meals we had on our return was minted aubergines followed by rhubarb crumble.  Both of these were demolished before I managed to get the camera out so you may have to wait a while for the recipe for the minted aubergines, but I have made the crumble again and so here it is in all its lovely spring is here glory.

6 sticks of rhubarb, prepared by peeling, if not forced rhubarb, and slicing into chunks
grated zest of 1 orange
juice of ½ orange
4-6 tbsp vanilla sugar

For the topping:
25g (1oz) pecan nuts
175g (7oz) plain flour
100g (4oz) butter
50g (2oz) sugar


Spread the rhubarb into a deep pie dish and grate the zest of an orange over.  Pour over the orange juice and sprinkle with the vanilla sugar.

I always prepare my crumble in a food processor by whizzing the flour and nuts together until the nuts are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and pulse until the crumble is crumbly. If you don’t have a food processor, then place the pecans into a food bag and bash with a rolling-pin until fine and then add to the flour.  Dice the butter and then rub into the flour using your fingertips and then mix in the sugar.  Sprinkle this crumble topping all over the rhubarb.  I like to have little bits of rhubarb peeking out so that the juices caramelise on the top.

Here is the crumble how is should be eaten, with cream poured generously over, and it’s just as lovely cold as it is hot.

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