My Mother’s Cookbook’s Classics… Rhubarb pie.

Lattice top Rhubarb pie.

There are a number of commercial cookbooks in My Mother’s Cookbook collection, some were gifts, others Mum purchased because she viewed them as ‘important’. Some became regular reference books, and a few were the source of recipes she used regularly. This later group show their use with the drops and spatters marring their white pages. I should explain that books were generally treated with more reverence, and respect, but not cookbooks…cookbooks are tools…those few cookbooks in the collection which are missing this history of their use, are at best suspect…at worse duds.

The collection does not include the Joy of Cooking or Mastering the Art of French Cooking, instead titles such as Kate Aitken’s Cookbook; the Barbour’s Cookbook (several versions); and the Five Roses Flour’s A Guide to Good Cooking appear among others. Mum was first and foremost a Canadian woman preparing and cooking food for her family throughout the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s thru until her death in 2006. She favoured Canadian publications, and in particular regional and community cookbooks.

The 1967 version of the Five Roses Flour’s A guide to Good Cooking was one of Mum’s reference for baking, recipes for pastry’s, breads, cakes, etc. Yet not for the meal recipes it includes.

A well used copy of the 21st edition c. 1967.

Five Roses flour was produced by Ontario based Land of the Lakes Milling company beginning in 1888, they produced their first edition of this cookbook in 1914. The Five Roses brand is now owned by Smuckers Foods Canada, in 2011 they released their most recent version of the cookbook, and maintain an online recipe site today. Each version is edited and updated, reflecting the changes in ingredients and tastes of the period. The 21st version, c. 1967 is a more modern cookbook than earlier versions, more precise measurement of ingredients, temperature etc. This edition contains some of Mum’s favourite’s, containing a little more fat and sugar than those which trend today.

One of the recipes from the Five Roses cookbook is my personal go to is for Rhubarb pie. Generally, there are several major types of Rhubarb pie, those contain with other fruit, i.e. Strawberry Rhubarb; those filled with Rhubarb in an eggy custard; and a ‘true’ Rhubarb pie.

C. 198 Picking Strawberries Photo Courtesy of the Miramichi Heritage Family FB Site.

Rhubarb can be tricky, the balance of fruit and sugar is important and complicated by the variety of sweetness of Rhubarb. Filling texture is also important, the Five Roses version includes a ‘trick’ which assures a texture which is not too wet or gummy with too much flour.

My Mother’s Cookbook Classic…

Rhubarb Pie …From Five Roses: A Guide to Good Cooking

2 cups Rhubarb
1 cup Sugar
2 Tbsps Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 unbeaten egg
Your favourite Pastry for double crust (or My Mother’s Cookbooks Pastry recipe follows)
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
2) Prepare Pastry and line a 9 inch pie plate
3) Cut up rhubarb place in a bowl and set aside
4) Assemble the sugar, flour and salt together in a small bowl, add the unbeaten egg
5) Add the sugar, egg mixture to the rhubarb
6) Pour fruit mixture in to the pie plate and top with crust ( I use the lattice top, I find it produces a consistent filling)
7) Place in the oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees, for an additional 45-50 minutes or until done.

My Mother’s Cookbooks double crust(generous) pastry

1 cup cold shortening
1/2 cup cold butter
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
1) Assemble dry ingredients and fat, using a pastry blender cut the fat into the flour mixture.
2) Add only sufficient water to bring the dough together.
3) Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.

Matchett’s Purity Bread delivery wagon c. 1930’s Photo courtesy of the Our Miramichi Heritage Family FB site.


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