This blog is all about Food. Real Food. Food that Nourishes, Heart and Soul.

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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Custard

My Grandma Pringle made the best rhubarb pie EVER. Seriously. Of anything I remember her cooking for us, that is the one thing that conjures up memories of her kitchen (there was also an unfortunate chicken liver incident, but we won’t talk about that one, ‘K?) Back to the pie. Whenever I asked for the recipe, her answer was always , and I think I quote, “oh, a little of this, and a bit of that” but never a full recipe to work with. At the time I always thought it was a closely guarded secret recipe, but I now have my suspicions that she, like me, wasn't much of a recipe follower. Sometimes great food just happens, and I think that was the case with the pie.  I tried to recreate that elusive pie over the years, and although some came close, nothing ever quite captured the essence of her pie.  Now that I am grain free, I have sadly  put thoughts of pies out to the proverbial pasture, as grain free pastry is proving to be a very tricky thing, and although I am trying, I have yet to perfect a blog worthy version.  Now perfected!! follow this link for my Grain Free Pie Pastry!
Fast forward to this past Saturday. I was out shopping and just could not resist buying a bag of beautiful organic rhubarb from the Scotscraig Farm Veggie stand that is at Fenwoods during  the vegetable garden season. I have rhubarb in my garden, but due to a last minute transplant, it has been too small to do anything with. Buying my first real rhubarb of the season made me sadly nostalgic for my grandmas pie all over again, and it was relegated to the fridge while I sulked. 

 Driving home from work tonight though, I had one of those kitchen epiphany moments. The best part of Grandma's pie was not the pastry. Although it was good, the creamy rhubarb studded custard was always the shining star of the pie. So, why not just recreate the filling?  Pastry is just a vehicle for the interior of the pie anyway. Home to the kitchen I flew, to rescue the rhubarb from my fridge.  I added some organic strawberries, which sometimes made an appearance in Grandmas’ pies, and I think I hit the nostalgia nail right on the head.  If I close my eyes and take myself back 30 years, I can almost imagine sitting at her big wooden dining room table, surrounded by family after a big dinner, sinking a fork into a piece of her pie. I think she would like my crust-less version, and I know she would be proud that her cooking techniques are alive and well in me.

Strawberry Rhubarb Custard

4 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups sliced strawberries
3 Tbsp arrowroot starch
6 eggs
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla powder** or 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375F
Place chopped fruit in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle the arrowroot on top of the fruit, and stir to coat the fruit.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, and add the coconut sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix well to incorporate.

Pour over fruit mixture and bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the custard is set in the middle. Let cool slightly and serve warm, or chill thoroughly and serve cold.

**Organic Traditions has an organic vanilla bean powder that I love to use in baking. Substitute an organic vanilla extract if you wish!

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