This morning while trying to catch the roofers as they drove away, I had a pleasant surprise. My rhubarb was up in my tiny back alley garden and appeared to have enough glossy red stalks to actually make something! Hurrah for the first rhubarb of spring. I am making Mrs. Wm. Weiler’s Rhubarb Lemon Pie using the recipe she contributed to the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
I tore the stalks from the plant as I’ve been told it is better than cutting them. I removed the leaf, washed the stalks and sliced them thinly. I had already prepared the pastry using Florence Boulee’s recipe for Pastry for One Pie which I’d used a few weeks ago. I sprinkled the sliced rhubarb on the pie shell and then prepared the rest of the filling. I added sugar to a bowl, added an egg and separated another putting the yolk in with the sugar and the white in another bowl for later. I added the cornstarch and mixed everything together. I grated the lemon rind into the sugar mixture and then juiced the lemon and added it too. I stirred everything together and poured the mixture into the pie. I baked the rhubarb lemon pie at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. The crust was golden and the top of the filling was firm and brownish too.
Mrs. Wm. Weiler is probably Louisa Henrietta Hoefle. She married William Frederick Weiler sometime before 1900 and they had four children. The last was born after the publication of the cook book. In the 1901 census Louisa is 22, William is 26 and their first child is seven months old. The couple are Lutheran and of German heritage. They don’t live in Berlin but in Wilmot Township and William worked first as a carpenter and later as a labourer in an oil mill. This is likely the linseed oil works owned by James Livingston of Baden. You can find out more about him by visiting Castle Kilbride in Baden. http://www.castlekilbride.ca/ I wish I knew how Louisa ended up submitting a recipe for the Berlin Cook Book. Perhaps she’s related to someone else who contributed a recipe.
I beat the egg white and added a little sugar and beat some more. I put the meringue on the pie and baked for about 5 minutes longer until the top was just turning brown. I let it cool before I cut my first slice of rhubarb lemon pie.
My taster doesn’t like rhubarb so I had to finish his slice. I liked the pie since I love lemon meringue pie and rhubarb in any form. However, this filling is quite sweet and there were sections of crystallized sugar. I would probably make this again but increase the amount of rhubarb since it was a bit hidden in the filling.
RHUBARB LEMON PIE
1 cup of rubarb [sic] sliced thin, 1 cup of sugar, 1 egg and the yolks of another, keep the white of this for icing, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon of grated rind of lemon. Put rhubarb in bottom of crust and mix the other together and pour over. Bake as lemon pie, ice after baking and put back in oven to brown.