Pie recipe elicits fond memory of rhubarb gift

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My favorite rhubarb story happened years ago with the small jar of homemade jam I gave to Julia Child. It was in the spring, at the peak of the New England rhubarb season, and we were invited to Julia's house for a party celebrating the publication of a cookbook written by one of her friends.

I was thrilled at the chance to meet the famed chef and her husband, Paul, and see the kitchen we had read so much about.

There was the big Garland stove where Julia made her famous coq au vin, and the pantry pegboard where Paul traced spaces for Julia's utensils so everything was put back where it belonged.

I like to imagine Julia opening the jar and putting rhubarb jam on her toast and Paul spooning it over ice cream, but I'm just plain happy with the idea that Julia and Paul might have loved anything rhubarb.

RHUBARB PIE

No-roll pastry:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons 2 percent reduced-fat milk

Filling:

6 cups diced, unpeeled rhubarb

2 cups sugar

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Topping:

1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare the pastry, mix flour with salt and sugar. Pour in vegetable oil and milk. Mix well with a fork. Transfer to a deep-dish pie pan and press with fingers to spread over bottom and up sides of pan.

To prepare the filling, combine rhubarb with sugar and flour. Spoon into pie crust. Dot with butter.

To prepare the topping, mix butter, sugar and flour with a pastry blender or your hands until crumbly. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture.

Bake 1 hour or until filling is bubbling and topping is browned.

Serves 8.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 365 calories, 17 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 58 grams carbohydrates., 2 grams fiber, 272 milligrams sodium.

Look for Relish Magazine, celebrating America's love of food, on first Wednesdays in The Augusta Chronicle. See relishmag.com for more recipes and information.

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