Sweet and Tart

Rhubarb Hand Pies

Rhubarb delivers rewards early in the growing season.

By Annemarie Ahearn
Come spring at the family farm in Dresden, my great-grandmother Edna would head out to the garden and gather fat, ruby stalks of rhubarb in her apron. Back in the kitchen, she measured out flour and plenty of sugar to tame the tartness of the vegetable. Then she rolled in a few nubs of cold butter, added a pinch of salt, and crumbled the dough over the rhubarb. Her bramble would be cooling on the windowsill when my friends and I returned home from our adventures in the woods, hungry for a snack. With a memory like that, is it any wonder rhubarb is a fixture on my May menus today?

Rhubarb Hand Pies

Makes 4 hand pies

For the dough:

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 tablespoons cold heavy cream

Two sticks cold unsalted butter

For the rhubarb:

1 pound rhubarb, cleaned and cut
into ½-inch pieces

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

⅓ cup water

For the egg wash:

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degreees.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, scramble the eggs with the cream. Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces, then cut each piece into quarters. With your hands, crumble the butter into the dry ingredients until no piece is larger than a pea. Make a well in the center and pour in the egg-and-cream mixture. Bring dough together by hand until it’s consistent in texture, then split in two. Form two disks, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Rhubarb Hand PiesIn a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, and water and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, stirring occasionally until it resembles a loose jam, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Take out the dough and roll each disk between two sheets of parchment paper into rectangles, about 8-by-6 inches. Cut the edges to square them off. Now cut each rectangle in half, widthwise, so you have four rectangles that are 4-by-6 inches. Whisk egg and cream together quickly. Place two-ish tablespoons of jam at the center of each rectangle and brush egg wash around the outside of the jam. Fold the dough over the jam and seal the edges by pressing them together. Place the hand pies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush each with egg wash and place in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Photo by Mark Fleming.


See more Maine food and recipes!

Get the best of Maine food and dining in our Down East Taste email (every two weeks).



Annemarie Ahearn

Annemarie Ahearn runs Salt Water Farm, a cooking school in Lincolnville.

  • Ingrid

    Oven temp, please? I love rhubarb, too, and can’t wait to try this!

    • Double checking on that. Will get back to you asap. – Jeff

    • Hi Ingrid – Confirmed with Anne Marie that it’s 375 degrees. Happy cooking!

      • Ingrid

        Thank you!