This delicious midwestern favorite dessert recipe, Wisconsin Rhubarb Pie, is made with fresh rhubarb and a double pie crust.
I love rhubarb–a lot. In fact, it’s one of my favorite spring-summer fruit that’s grown here in Wisconsin and why I love making this Wisconsin Rhubarb Pie Recipe.
But, it was my mom (who by the way was an amazing baker) who inspired me to try my hand at making rhubarb pie many years ago. The rhubarb for my first try came from a flower bed on the side of her house, so the only cost for the pie was the crust.
At first, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t turn out as planned, but my fears were put to rest because this really is a simple recipe that uses just a handful of ingredients, along with a few tricks of the trade.
Be sure to check out my fun but informative podcast on WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO – CENTRAL TIME – FOOD FRIDAY “CELEBRATING RHUBARB SEASON” HERE: https://www.wpr.org/food-friday-celebrating-rhubarb-season
How to Make the Rhubarb Filling
Fresh rhubarb has a tendency to be one of those “runny” fruit fillings that needs a thickener. It also has to be allowed to “set” awhile so that you don’t end up with an inch or two of filling and a lofty crust. Trust me, if you’ve ever made a fruit pie without a thickener, you know what I mean.
So, what thickener should you use?
Well, there are various camps of thought on the matter. I have tried most but I like the results of cornstarch the best.
The reason? Cornstarch thickens well and it doesn’t have an aftertaste. Flour, on the other hand, thickens good but dulls the color and flavor of the filling. Cornstarch does not.
Some folks like the idea of being able to freeze their rhubarb pies, so they use tapioca as a thickener. Mine never last that long, so I don’t bother to traverse that route.
But that being said. If you’ve had great success with flour or tapioca or any other thickener when baking fruit pies–and like the results–use it. In all honesty, it all comes down to personal taste.
The key to this recipe, whether you use cornstarch, flour, or tapioca is that you want to let your rhubarb pie cool down completely in the refrigerator overnight after you have baked it.
How to Make the Best Double Crust
The one secret I want to share with you for making the most amazing Wisconsin Rhubarb Pie crust is vodka. Yes, you heard right.
A while back, I had read somewhere that adding it to your pie dough helps crisp it up. But if you know me, I don’t make my own crusts. Instead I prefer Pillsbury’s pre-made refrigerated pie crusts. So I got to thinking that maybe I could tweak my otherwise standard recipe with this new twist.
Whola! When you brush vodka on the base and top crust, it makes a super crisp crust that can’t be beat.
Start by brushing vodka (flavored or unflavored) on the bare baking dish prior to placing the bottom crust in the dish. Then, brush more on the base of the crust.
Next, add a bit of granulated sugar to the base of the crust before adding six cups of rhubarb, sugar and cornstarch.
Then, instead of using egg or milk to secure the two crusts together, try a quick brush of vodka (again!). Believe it or not, vodka has great sticking power.
Finally, pinch and crimp the edges of both crusts together and follow by another quick brush of vodka and a sprinkling of white or raw sugar to the top crust.
Cooking Tip: Make sure that you make large enough vent holes for the steam to be released during baking.
After about 45 minutes of baking, remove the rhubarb pie and allow it to cool in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours or best yet, overnight, before eating. This will allow the filling to completely set.
Serve with homemade vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
Author Note: One thing to remember about my Wisconsin Rhubarb Pie Recipe: This is a homemade pie and no matter what, it might not look exactly like the staged pies you find on boxes, ads or cookbooks. Even so, it’ll come very close. What you will love about this pie is the fresh taste and the crispy crust–which is to die for — a definite plus for those rhubarb aficionados who can’t get enough of this sweet-tart fruit. ~DLM
Wisconsin Rhubarb Pie Recipe
- 6 cups rhubarb chopped
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar plus 2 tbsp to dust top of pie crust (you can also use raw sugar, if you’d like)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cornstarch or Minute Tapioca* (see Recipe Notes)
- 1/4 cup vodka flavored or unflavored
- 14.1 oz Pillsbury refrigerated crusts (2 count)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Prep your baking dish by brushing on vodka.
- Add your crust, leaving the extra dough to hang over the sides.
- In a large bowl, add rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Toss and mix well, so that the rhubarb is coated completely with the dry ingredients.
- "Strain" the rhubarb from the dry ingredients with a spoon, colander/sifter or your fingers then place the coated rhubarb in the pie shell.
- Brush vodka on outside rim of bottom crust. Add top crust.
- Pinch together bottom and top crust ends. Crimp sides. Then, pierce top with knife to make air vent holes.
- Brush on vodka to top of crust.
- Sprinkle on granulated sugar or raw sugar.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in refrigerator overnight.
- Serve cold. Enjoy!