Rhubarb Custard Pie

Favorite SpringPieRhubarb

Tart rhubarb and creamy custard—sweetened with just a hint of orange zest and nestled inside a flaky crust—are a match made in rustic pie heaven. This no-fuss single crust pie takes only a few minutes to prepare.

Photography Credit: Alison Bickle

Spring is made for rhubarb pie, and rhubarb pie is made for custard.

You won’t find any obtuse strawberries here trying to steal the show. I don’t even allow a double crust or crumb topping. This is just a simple pie with delightful bits of tart rhubarb enveloped in creamy, orange zest-infused custard.

Just like rhubarb itself, this pie is humble, easy to love, and ready for you to take it anywhere!

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SWEET OR TART?

I personally believe rhubarb pie should be tart. I’ve made this pie with only a half cup sugar, and I like it that way. My husband prefers it with a full cup of sugar. We compromised, and I wrote the recipe using 3/4 cup of sugar.

The moral of this story is to make your pie as sweet or as tart as you like it. This recipe is very forgiving. Feel free to use anywhere from a half cup to a full cup of sugar.

Rhubarb Custard Pie with Orange Zest - slicing rhubarb stalks

WHAT IS THE BEST DAIRY FOR CUSTARD PIE?

I first tested this recipe using two percent milk, because it’s what I had around the house. The custard was still creamy and light. If two percent is what you have in your fridge as you peruse this recipe, then by all means, bake away. The pie will be delicious!

I, however, believe dessert should be dessert. Meaning, heavy whipping cream is my best friend!

I wrote the recipe using heavy cream, because I like the extra fat, and it creates a luscious mouthfeel. You don’t have to go that far down the heavy cream road with me. We can still be friends.

If you prefer to make this pie with two percent milk, whole milk, or half and half over heavy whipping cream, be my guest. It will still taste lovely, and you will have pie! Yay!

Just do not use skim or one percent milk. It’s pie. This is not the time to count calories.

Best Rhubarb Pie Recipe - - rhubarb pie with powdered sugar on top

ORANGE ZEST, HOLD THE JUICE

I do my best, I really do, to use up everything when I cook, but alas, I have failed you when it comes to rhubarb pie. I used the zest from the orange, but not the juice.

I highly recommend using a fresh orange, and not the slightly dehydrated one leftover from Christmas lingering in the back of your fruit drawer. The oils from the zest really make this pie pop!

Once you’ve used the zest, I might I suggest squeezing the juice into a glass over ice. Feel free to mix it with any number of beverages. I promise, I won’t tell a soul! You can sip on it while you wait for the pie to bake.

Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pie - pie with a slice taken out and sitting on a jadite plate

THE BEST PIE CRUST FOR THIS PIE

We have quite a few pie crust options on Simply Recipes. If you’re an experienced pie crust maker and prefer an all-butter crust, try Elise’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe. It makes enough for two crusts, so freeze one and save it for another day.

Another option is the tender, No Fail Sour Cream Pie Crust. It’s a very soft crust, so be careful when you roll it out and place it in the pie plate.

HOW TO STORE RHUBARB CUSTARD PIE

As if you will have any slices of pie just lying around waiting to be eaten? But in the event of an emergency where you had to leave the house abruptly and without your pie, rest assured you can cover it with foil and place it in the refrigerator for up to three days.

HOW TO FREEZE RHUBARB PIE

Freezing pie is a brilliant way to make friends. The person with an endless stash of back up pies is always the neighborhood favorite. The good news is rhubarb pie is easy to freeze! Get ready, you’re about to have an endless line of people wanting to come over for tea (and pie).

To freeze rhubarb pie, make it but don’t bake it, triple wrap it in foil and freeze it. It can keep for up to 4 months. When you’re ready to bake it, unwrap the foil, and place the frozen pie in the oven. You will need an extra 10 minutes of cooking time. Tah Dah! Pie at the ready for every occasion.

NEED MORE PIE IN YOUR LIFE? YOU AND ME BOTH!

Rhubarb Custard Pie Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9-inch pie (6 to 8 slices)

Rhubarb leaves are poisonous. Make sure you dispose of those before you chop your rhubarb. Also, rhubarb stalks can come in many different widths. If your stalks are about an inch wide, slice the stalk in half lengthwise, and then chop it.

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 3 1/4 cups rhubarb (about 1 lb), cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest from 1 large orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1 When ready to assemble pie: Preheat oven to 375°F.

2 Roll out your pastry: Roll your pie crust into a 12- inch circle. Drape it over a 9-inch pie plate. Tuck the edges under and crimp it, so it looks pretty. Return it to the fridge.

3 Prepare filling: Whisk flour, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, heavy cream, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add the rhubarb and fold together with a spatula.

Best Ever Rhubarb Custard Pie - orange zest and custard in bowlRhubarb Pie Recipe - custard in bowl

Easy Rhubarb Custard Pie - rhubarb and custard in bowl

4 Assemble the pie: Pour the filling into the crust. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Easy Rhubarb Custard Pie - pouring rhubarb into pie

5 Bake the pie: Put the pie on a cookie sheet to protect your oven from spillovers. Fold aluminum foil in half and create a cover just around the edges of the pie crust, leaving the filling exposed.

Place the pie in the oven. Remove the foil halfway through the baking time. Bake until the custard is fully set, without a jiggle, and the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pie - - tearing aluminum foil in half Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pie - tearing aluminum foil in half How to make rhubarb custard pie - wraping the edges of the pie with foil

6 Cool: Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45-50 min.

7 Serve: Serve this pie slightly warm, cold, or at room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Store leftovers covered and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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18 Comments / Reviews

No ImageRhubarb Custard Pie

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. H. G.

    I followed this recipe and it was a disaster, one of the worst things I’ve ever baked! A good deal of error I experienced was mine, but the recipe was still at fault for some of the problems I faced. The amount of liquid was visually far too little for the amount of rhubarb — 2 eggs to 1/3 cup of milk is not enough of a custard against the raw rhubarb — but I went with it anyway and yet it still took over 2.25 hours to bake, NOT 45 minutes! I thought it was in my best interest to blind bake my homemade crust because I was worried the liquid would make my crust soggy in the oven since it was only baking 45 minutes, so of course my crust overbaked and tasted awful beside a clumpy “custard” that never set completely (the flour helped none. Also, the images in the recipe are misleading, because I, knowing better than this, thought my pie would appear pink and yellow, but naturally the entire product was brown after the first 45 minutes in the oven and not a lovely golden brown at all. This went so poorly that I vow to never make a rhubarb custard pie again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Yvonne

    I love the combination of custard and rhubarb but was unhappy with the floury taste. In my opinion the custard did not need that much flour added and would be a truer custard without. Eggs should provide enough thickening to set the custard alone.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Sonja

    I adapted this recipe to make eight individual fluted-edged tarts that tuned out beautifully! I used one Pillsbury pie crust, 2/3 c. half & half, added 1/4 tsp. ginger, and 3 large strawberries, diced, instead of 1/4 c. of the rhubarb. I baked the tarts for 40-45 min. on 375 degrees. My rhubarb stalks were huge (an Instacart delivery!), so I stripped the tough skin that wasn’t red off before dicing it. I filled the unbaked tart crusts to about 2/3-3/4 full. The orange zest was amazing, and the few strawberries that I added made them very pretty. I would sprinkle them with powdered sugar next time, as your photo shows. I dropped them off of my social distancing neighbors’ doorsteps and they loved them ~ used terms like beautiful, gourmet, and delicious to describe them! I will make again soon.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Jessie McGugan

    have you ever put a top crust on it or a lattice top.

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Jess

    Used brown sugar in place of white granulated sugar, increased the spices to 1/2 tsp and added another 1/2 tsp of cardamom and ginger…almost tasted like Xmas! Absolute treat and easy to make!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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