A rhubarb custard pie with plated slices and forks
Desserts,  Our Favorites,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

Rhubarb Custard Pie

This sweet-tart, custardy pie makes a unique addition to any holiday table. It’s a simple make-ahead recipe that’s been a family favorite since I was a kid!

A rhubarb custard pie with plated slices and forks

Most people have had strawberry rhubarb pie, but not many that I have met have had my favorite pie of all time – rhubarb custard pie.

This pie is my favorite pie of all the pies that have ever been or ever will be.

Am I exaggerating?

Not at all.

Stalks of rhubarb with butter, flour, sugar, salt, and eggs for making pie

Growing up in the Midwest, my family always had a deliciously decadent assortment of homemade pies at every family gathering. I didn’t realize how spoiled I was!

I had been telling my husband about this pie for yeeeeears, and he had no idea what he was in for the first time he finally tried it. It’s such a unique flavor combination, and the texture is just lovely!

My aunts always made this rhubarb custard pie (and lots of other delicious pies) with the Betty Crocker standard pastry pie crust recipe. The combination of that crust with this pie filling is truly magical!

Chopped rhubarb along with other ingredients for making rhubarb custard pie

That being said, over the years I have tried out several different pie crust recipes. I also quite often use storebought pie crusts (usually ones bought from the freezer section of the grocery store).

If you’re up for making your own crust, the Betty Crocker one is really quick, easy, and delicious. I also love that pastry recipe with this Dutch Apple Pie recipe, which is another childhood favorite!

When it comes to making the filling for the rhubarb custard pie, it’s a little different than any other pie recipes I’ve made in the past.

Pouring sugar onto sliced rhubarb

You need to allow for time for the sliced rhubarb to sit, tossed with granulated sugar until it gets watery. This works with both fresh and frozen rhubarb, and it really is cool to see how the sugar breaks the rhubarb down to release liquid.

My aunts always poured off the liquid and discarded it, but since I’m constantly looking for ways to reduce kitchen waste, I’ve stopped doing that.

Lately my husband and I have been experimenting with using that liquid in cocktail recipes. I’ll be sure to report back once we’ve really fine-tuned some options.

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Recipe for Rhubarb Custard Pie

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A rhubarb custard pie with plated slices and forks

Rhubarb Custard Pie

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Our Swiss Pantry)
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This sweet-tart, custardy pie makes a unique addition to any holiday table. It’s a simple make-ahead recipe that’s been a family favorite since I was a kid!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie shell

Instructions

  1. Place sliced rhubarb and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until watery (about 30-45 minutes). Pour off liquid and save, if desired (see notes).
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, remaining 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, flour, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter. Add eggs and mix. Add drained rhubarb and stir to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into an unbaked deep-dish pie shell. Place pie plate on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 325°F (do not open the oven!) and bake until the pie only has a slight wobble in the center, about 45-60 minutes longer.
  5. Transfer pie plate to a cooling rack and let the pie cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  6. Mix rhubarb and 3/4 c. sugar; let stand till watery. Work 1 1/4 c. sugar, flour, and salt into butter; add eggs, then add to rhubarb. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell and bake 15 minutes at 400° then 45 minutes at 325°.


Notes

Rhubarb leaves are not edible. Only use the stalks, which are usually red and/or green.

Slice rhubarb into consistently-sized pieces. I usually go around 1/3- to 1/2-inch thick.

You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb for this recipe – both are fantastic!

Save the “rhubarb liquid” that you drain and use it as a simple syrup for cocktails, mocktails, and more – recipes coming soon!

I use iodized table salt in this recipe – I have yet to try it with kosher salt, but I think either would work out OK in this recipe.

You can use the filling to make 2 standard-sized (vs. deep-dish) pies. You’ll need to reduce the baking time but it should fill 2 pie shells easily.

I like to place pie pans on a quarter sheet pan (or half sheet pan if making 2 pies) to help catch any potential overflow and make transferring to and from the oven easier.

This pie is good warm, but I prefer to serve it cold, straight from the refrigerator, making it a perfect make-ahead recipe.

Recipe adapted from Mrs. Willis W. (Magdalena) Lehman’s contribution to Our Swiss Pantry

Keywords: rhubarb pie, custard pie, summer desserts

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20 Comments

  • Ashley

    yeah, we have a great farmers market in my town, too. my aunt lived on a farm in indiana so she had a plant that always sprouted a TON! i’m trying to get her to ship a bulb to me so i can plant one in my front yard. mmmmm….

  • Elisabeth

    I love rhubarb – this looks great! And I’m super impressed that you made your own pie crust – that’s always intimidated me. I’ll have to give this a try – thank you!

  • Ashley

    it really was easy to do! the crust recipe looks intimidating, but it’s only that long because there are variations for single and double crusts. it came together pretty quickly. i didn’t have the stockinet cover for my rolling pin, so i just rolled it out like i would sugar cookies. YUM!

  • Katy ~

    I hear you about the different pie pans. Glass? Dark tin? Light tin? Ceramic? They all work so differently. Pyrex used to be my favorite, but now I’m on a dark metal kick.

  • Anonymous

    It can be even simpler than that. Make your favorite custard mix with whole milk, but much sweeter, then pour it over the chopped rhubarb in the pie shell.

    Bake at 300 for an hour, take it out and sprinkle a bit of sugar on the rhubarb which has floated to the top. Let it rest until cool.

    That’s how my Swiss mother did it. She also used the same recipe with other tart fruits such as plums or apples.

  • Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum

    My mom makes a rhubarb dessert that is to die for. I always forget about rhubarb, and how delicious it can be in various sweet things. Thanks for the reminder… and I will have to try this pie after making my mom’s rhubarb dessert!

  • Amstutz Crew

    I randomly tried googling my grandmother’s name and this came up. This is her recipe! I don’t know you at all, but I just think this is pretty cool! 🙂 I miss her! Thanks for this!

  • Ashley

    Oh wow! Well, I’ve been enjoying your grandmother’s wonderful creation for years and years! It’s one of my favorite things on earth! 🙂

  • Dino

    Yes, it’s tough to explain why this pie is so amazing until you try it. The rhubarb is incredibly tangy, but the sweetness of the custard completely balances it out. It’s quite addicting! I’m pretty excited to have it again.

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