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Old 06-08-2009, 05:06 PM   #1
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Why are my rhubarb pies always runny?

I joined this forum today just to ask this question. What is going on with my rhubarb pies? I prefer the straight-forward pie, not custard, no strawberries; I just want a great rhubarb pie like my late grandmother made 50 years ago.

No matter what recipe I try (and they are all basically the same—the fruit, a little flour, lots of sugar....), they always turn out very runny... lots of liquid in the pie, which presumably comes from the rhubarb.

This last time, I decided to add what I see in the custard recipes, thinking that might firm it up: I added two eggs, which I mixed with the sugar. I put half the fruit in the pie shell, added half the flour (increased to 1 cup, plus added 2 TBLsp of corn starch), then added the rest of the fruit, the rest of the flour mixture, and poured the thick sugary egg mixture over it all. Then put on the top crust.

Runny again.

Do I need to just keep adding more and more corn starch until the "runny" is absorbed?

WHY do none of the published recipes I try not address this? Why do they always turn out runny? Doesn't anybody TRY these recipes before posting them, LOL?

FYI, I've used shallow 8" pie plates and deeper 9" ones. I follow various recipes to know how much rhubarb (3 to 5 cups, chopped) and flour to use.

Many thanks to anyone who can help!

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Old 06-08-2009, 05:25 PM   #2
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my aunt adds uncooked tapioca, you can use plain, she adds the strawberry flavored.
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:35 PM   #3
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I suggest using Instant Clear-Jel or instant tapioca instead of flour or cornstarch to thicken. Cornstarch would be my last choice because it doesn't like either acidic foods or freezing.

Don't be too hard on the recipe writers. The characteristics of ingredients are far from uniform--either regionally or over time. Using heirloom recipes can be challenging because of how food products have changed over the years.

Best of luck and feel free to send all the failed attempts to me for disposal!
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:58 PM   #4
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Rhubarb is notoriously runny. There are a couple of tips for you. If the rhubarb is frozen you need to drain it and even squeeze it a bit. I usually do at least a cup of sugar and a cup of flour for my pies. I don't measure but it makes kind of a paste in the bowl. Another tip is to spread about 1/4 cup flour on the bottom pie crust before you put the filling in. Especially with juicy stuff.

My rhubarb pie is about 6 cups diced rhubarb, 1 - 1.5 cups flour and about 1 cup sugar (sometimes half brown half white). That makes a nice thick goo.

Make sure when you bake your pie you put it on a cookie sheet or something because the juice will ooze out the air vents.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmofet View Post
my aunt adds uncooked tapioca, you can use plain, she adds the strawberry flavored.
Thanks, I'll try that!
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRL View Post
I suggest using Instant Clear-Jel or instant tapioca instead of flour or cornstarch to thicken. Cornstarch would be my last choice because it doesn't like either acidic foods or freezing.

Don't be too hard on the recipe writers. The characteristics of ingredients are far from uniform--either regionally or over time. Using heirloom recipes can be challenging because of how food products have changed over the years.

Best of luck and feel free to send all the failed attempts to me for disposal!
Sounds like a great suggestion, I'll give it a try. Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
Rhubarb is notoriously runny. There are a couple of tips for you. If the rhubarb is frozen you need to drain it and even squeeze it a bit. I usually do at least a cup of sugar and a cup of flour for my pies. I don't measure but it makes kind of a paste in the bowl. Another tip is to spread about 1/4 cup flour on the bottom pie crust before you put the filling in. Especially with juicy stuff.

My rhubarb pie is about 6 cups diced rhubarb, 1 - 1.5 cups flour and about 1 cup sugar (sometimes half brown half white). That makes a nice thick goo.

Make sure when you bake your pie you put it on a cookie sheet or something because the juice will ooze out the air vents.

I only use fresh rhubarb. The suggestion of putting the flour mixture on the bottom, first, sounds like a good idea. Thanks!
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:35 PM   #8
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I put the flour and the sugar in with the rhubarb. Then I use an EXTRA bit of flour on the bottom. That will help for sure.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:27 AM   #9
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My recipe is similar to Alix's but with a little less flour. The secret I have found is letting the rhubarb marinate for about 30 minutes in a bowl with the flour and sugar before I put it into the crust. I don't know if the flour is better distributed and then thickens better but I don't have runny pies anymore.
Good Luck!
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:55 PM   #10
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Thanks, JMediger. I will soon have more rhubarb to pick, so look forward to trying the suggestions!
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