This rhubarb pie has a secret ingredient that will keep it from dripping as you eat. Credit: Sandy Oliver / BDN

Rhubarb pie juices right up and dribbles all over unless the filling has tapioca, flour, cornstarch or egg custard to firm it up so no disaster occurs twixt plate and lip. And now that it is rhubarb pie season, non-drippy pie is on my mind for sure.

Drippy pie bothered Meg McGarvey in Eastport enough that she decided she would come up with a recipe for a pie filling sturdy enough to cut into neat wedges but not gluey with stiffeners. She discovered that rice cereal for babies was just the ticket.

Unless you are the parent or grandparent of a wee one, or unless you have a baby neighbor, you probably won’t even know about the cereal. In that case, you’ll have to go hunting in the baby food aisle to acquire it. I was thinking I ought to put together a consortium of rhubarb pie makers and divvy up an eight ounce package into quarter cup quantities so we’d be all set for a season.

Otherwise a package of rice cereal might last a decade.

You’ll assemble the pie filling in a flash. Meg put a solid crust on top of her pie; I wove mine. (Woven crusts work pretty well for juicy fillings like rhubarb and most berries.)

She bakes hers for an hour and a quarter at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes reducing the temperature to 325 degrees for another 10 minutes or so if she thinks it’s not quite done. How long you bake it will depend a little on your pastry recipe. Because it was a hot day, my pastry felt a little soft so I started mine at 375 degrees for 10 minutes to set the crust then reduced it to 350 degrees for another hour and ten minutes.

Meg says it ought to bubble and ooze a little.

Sure enough, this is not a drippy pie. It’s just sweet enough though you can increase the sugar amount to two cups if you want. I let my pie cool overnight, and this morning asked my niece if she wanted a piece of pie for breakfast. She made some comment about fatuous questions and cut herself a slab.

Meg McGarvey’s Rhubarb Pie

Yields 1 pie

1½-2 cups sugar

¼ cup infant rice cereal

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 large eggs

6 cups rhubarb chopped into one-inch pieces

Pastry sufficient for two 9-inch crusts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, rice, and cornstarch.

Whisk the eggs into the sugar mixture to make a smooth batter.

Add the batter to the rhubarb and stir to distribute it evenly over the rhubarb.

Line the pie plate with pastry, add the filling, then top with pastry.

Bake for 1 hour at least, check to see if there are bubbles, and if necessary bake another 15 minutes or so.

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Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...