Beets in a Pie?!?!

Bluebarb Beet Lemon Custard
July 2009

It was summer, the produce was oh so fresh, and I was feeling experimental.  Beets are so beautiful and naturally sweet.  Why not incorporate them into a pie?!?  In the future, I’d puree the beets, but this experiment was still quite tasty!

Fruit Filling

2 cups rhubarb chopped into 1/2 inch chunks (or smaller)
2 cups boiled beets, chopped into small cubes (Chill the beet juice from boiling in the freezer and use it for the pie crust)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup pure cane sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (squeezed on Grandma’s juicer)
A pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1-2 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter


Combine the fruit, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt.  Toss to mix.

Allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Transfer the fruit to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid.

In a small saucepan, reduce this liquid, with the butter, to about 2 Tablespoons.

Allow the liquid to cool.

Add the almond extract.

Pour the mixture over the fruit and mix.

Pie Crust


4 oz cream cheese
14 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 Tablespoons iced beet juice
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar


Place mixing bowl and flour in freezer to chill.

Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the cream cheese, and rub the mixture between your fingers to blend the cream cheese into the flour until it resembles course meal.

Cut the butter into small pieces and add to mixture.

Add ice water as needed until the mixture can be formed into a ball.

Form into two discs, cover in plastic and chill in refrigerator.

Remove the chilled discs and roll into 1/8” to 1/4” disc shapes.

Press the dough into tart pans and prebake until lightly crisp (about 10 minutes)

Lemon Custard

3 large eggs
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large egg yolks
1+ Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup (1 sticks) organic, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract


Combine first 5 ingredients in heavy large saucepan and whisk to blend. Add butter. Whisk over medium heat until filling thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 13 minutes (do not boil). Mix in half and half and vanilla. Whisk until filling is very thick and smooth and just begins to bubble, about 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Cool 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover; chill until very cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

Assembly and Baking

Preheat oven to 350°F

Pour lemon custard into the pre-baked tart shell.

Top with fruit mixture.

Bake until custard sets.

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