Rhubarb-Lime Icebox Pie
So many people in this area grow rhubarb in their yards that the local grocery stores don’t even bother to sell it in the spring. Come May, everywhere you turn there’s rhubarb crisp, or rhubarb pie, or stewed rhubarb over ice cream. Following the local tradition of adding rhubarb to every reasonable thing during the season, here’s a pie that looks and tastes like a pink Key lime pie.
The creamy filling gets its requisite tartness from a quickly stewed pot of fuchsia rhubarb, to which you add the elements of a classic Key lime custard: egg yolks and condensed milk. The color depends on the rhubarb you use—the redder the stalk, the pinker the pie. (If you like, add a drop of red food coloring to a filling made with greenish rhubarb, although I happen to love the natural blushing mauve color.)
And take a cue from those retro diners famous for their icebox pies: Whip the cream just until soft and billowy and sculpt it into a dramatic pompadour on top.
Makes one 9-inch pie
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Combine the rhubarb, ½ cup of the sugar, and the lime juice in a saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the rhubarb is broken down, 10 minutes.
Let cool for a few minutes. Then blend the stewed rhubarb with a stick blender (or, alternatively, transfer it to a food processor and process) until smooth. Add the condensed milk, blend to combine, and add the egg yolks. Blend until smooth.
Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake until it is completely set in the middle, 30 minutes. Let the pie cool to room temperature, and then chill it in the refrigerator until completely cold, at least 3 hours.
Combine the cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and the vanilla in a mixing bowl and whip until lofty and forming peaks. Top the pie with the whipped cream and serve. Keep any leftover pie in the refrigerator.
Sweet Shortbread Crust
Makes enough for one 9-inch single-crust pie
Nonstick spray or canola oil
1½ cups finely ground shortbread crumbs (from plain Sandies cookies or other shortbread)
5 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick spray (or rub it with a little canola oil).
Combine the shortbread crumbs, sugar, ginger, and melted butter in a bowl, and mix with a fork to combine. Press the crumb mixture into the prepared pie plate, making sure to push it all the way up the sides and to pinch a little lip above the rim of the pie plate. Bake until fragrant and light brown, 10 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF if making Rhubarb-Lime Icebox Pie.