A Slice of Summer Heaven–Rhubarb Cream Pie

Hot summer evenings. Supper’s over.  The sun’s going down.  Crickets and cicadas are giving a concert.  It’s time for pie.  Pie a la mode.  Except as a kid you don’t care about a la mode…what you want is ice cream and it’ll be several years before you know what a la mode means.

Tonight it’s fresh rhubarb pie.  Funny, it looks like celery but it sure doesn’t taste like celery.  How come nobody makes celery pie?  Tart and sweet, dancing together on your tongue.  Creamy, cold ice cream smoothing it out and creating a party in your mouth.  Until later.  Later the rhubarb gets into a fight with your stomach and you’re reaching for the antacid.  At least until the first time I had rhubarb cream pie.  The “cream” just kind of mellowed the rhubarb out and took away the anticipated stomach burn.

I’ve had a hard time finding a good recipe for rhubarb cream pie.  So, I made up my own.  Plenty of recipes call for adding a couple of eggs—some even eggs plus extra egg whites.  But that just seemed to me like making a rhubarb “quiche”.  So I looked a bit further and decided to go for a bit more of a custard approach with the simple addition of some evaporated milk.  (I didn’t go for cream because it’s a bit too pricey for my taste especially when I can get a can of evaporated milk for $1).

And the results?  Well, give it a try.  I think you’ll like the way this gives you that tartness of the rhubarb tempered with a smooth, custardy sweetness. I made this as a 2-crust pie but if you want you can make it as a one crust with a crumble top.

Here’s a link to my Cheap Bastid post for “Old Fashioned Lard Pie Crust:  http://www.cheap-bastid-cooks.com/old-fashioned-lard-pie-crust/

Recipe: A Slice of Summer Heaven–Rhubarb Cream Pie

Summary: This Rhubarb Cream Pie recipe has all the tart goodness of rhubarb but smoothed out with a cream custard. It’s delicious.


  • 3 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp cold butter or margarine


  • Get out your cutting board and chef’s knife a medium mixing bowl and small bowl.
  • Put the sugars, nutmeg and flour in the bowl and blend together.
  • Put the eggs, vanilla and evaporated into the small bowl and whisk together. Then add it to the dry ingredients in the big bowl and mix it all together.
  • Chop the rhubarb into ¼ to ½ inch chunks and put into the bowl. Stir everything together.
  • Pour or spoon this mixture into a prepared pie shell.
  • Break butter/margarine into small pieces and dot over the top of the mixture.
  • Put top crust over the pie mix*, pinch top and bottom crust together and “flute” the edges.
  • Use about 1 tbsp of extra evaporated milk to brush the top of the pie crust.
  • Put into oven pre-heated to 375 for 45-50 minutes.
  • *If you prefer to make a crumble top, mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup sugar (white or brown or half & half) and ¼ cup softened butter or argarine together until everything is blended and in “crumbs”. Sprinkle on top of the pie filling and bake).

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

This is creamy and custardy and will take some of the tartness out of the rhubarb.  Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a slice of this tasty pie and you’ll be in old-fashioned, summertime dessert heaven.  And if you’re like me and end up with twice as much rhubarb as you need, you can go ahead and cut up the rest and freeze it for when there isn’t any fresh rhubarb and your tastebuds have another “hankering” for it.

The Cheap Bastid Test:  The crust costs about $.60 to make.  I used about $.40 worth of sugar The rhubarb cost me $2.50 at the local farmer’s market and I used about $.25 worth of evaporated milk.  So the total for this pie was $3.75.  That’s about $.62 a slice.  That’s pretty inexpensive!

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way:  Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

About Walter Blevins

My wife started to call me Cheap Bastid a while back because I enjoyed coming up with dinners that cost next to nothing--and making them taste good. Yeah, I love to cook. And I love to cook good food cheap. I'm not a chef and I'm definitely not anything close to a gourmet. I'm just a home cook who grew up in a home where cooking was from scratch and was a little bit Midwest and a little bit country. That's because my Mom was from Michigan and my Dad was from Kentucky. I started sharing recipes when my daughter called me in 2006 and asked for my recipe for Swiss Steak. That year for Christmas I put together a cookbook for my 2 kids called "Dad's Everyday Cookbook and Kitchen Survival Guide". And I heard back that they both use it regularly. It was full of basic recipes that I had cooked for them when they were growing up. I work hard at creating recipes that are original and creative and inexpensive. You won't find a foo-foo foodie approach to my recipes and style. I believe that it's OK for food to go up the side of a plate. Food is for eating--it doesn't have to be pretty. And I write about my cooking and my recipes so that I can share them. I hope you enjoy these posts. Leave me a comment--that you liked something or that you didn't, it doesn't matter. I'd love to hear from you.
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4 Responses to A Slice of Summer Heaven–Rhubarb Cream Pie

  1. David E McClain says:

    Walter, you evil, evil, man. You are forcing me to enjoy a decadant dessert complete with ice cream. Ah, what the hell, I hate dieting anyway. I’m thinking that tomorrow when Mel makes her trip to the store she is gonna have a few additions to the old shopping list.

    • Walter Blevins says:

      David, thanks. And knowing you, rhubarb pie is something that you’re already somewhat familiar with (in Missouri, it should be ripening now and you should be able to grow your own like a lot of folks do in Iowa–in a bed alongside their house). Plus, I really liked the “custard” part of it because sometimes rhubarb pie can have too much “bite” and create some indigestion. This keeps the flavor but smooths it out. And–we liked vanilla bean ice cream with it! Thanks again.

  2. Sounds delicious. I just posted a Strawberry Rhubarb pie, but I’ve never tried Rhubarb Custard Pie. Will attempt this recipe next. Thanks for posting.

    • Walter Blevins says:

      Thanks for the comment. I like the rhubarb custard/cream because it tones down the “bite” that rhubarb often has. I hope you enjoy it. And, next time I make it I think I’ll do a single crust with a “crumble” topping.

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