Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Rhubarb Custard Pie


The woman who serves rhubarb custard pie is queen of the tealit dining room, her whisperclean countertops formica bright. Though she has been known to fake orgasms, she would never serve Splenda to guests. Her smile can stretch criticism into compliments and put a man in the wrong for being born without dimples. She knows rhubarb is a vegetable but lets it pretend otherwise. Doesn’t mind when the Washington State Rhubarb Coalition cross-dresses it in custard and plates it quivering pale, lukewarm to the fork. Of the forgivenesses available for use by the average human, hers is the kind that would rather be wrong than rude.



Rhubarb Custard Pie

Pastry for a single-crust 9-inch pie

3 cups diced rhubarb

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon butter

Prepare the pastry. Roll out the crust and drape it into the pie pan. Trim excess dough and form an upstanding ridge. Refrigerate the bottom crust while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and dice unpeeled rhubarb and mix with sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg. Beat eggs slightly, then add milk and mix. Combine with rhubarb mixture. Pour into your pie shell and dot the surface with small chunks of the butter. Bake on 400 for 50 to 60 minutes. The pie is done when the crust is golden and the center remains firm when shaken gently. The custard will be translucent and slightly settled at the bottom of pie.

Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Kate Lebo’s poems appear in Best New Poets 2011, Poetry Northwest, Bateau, and The Pacific Poetry Project, among other anthologies and journals. She’s an editor for Filter, a literary journal made entirely by hand, and the recipient of a Nelson Bentley Fellowship, a 4Culture grant, and a Soapstone residency. Currently an MFA candidate at the University of Washington, Kate hosts a semi-regular semi-secret pie social called Pie Stand whenever schoolwork allows. For more about Kate’s zine, A Commonplace Book of Pie, and other tasty treats, visit