Rhubarb Pie with Tapioca

Frequently as I look at recipes from the past, and think about what my ancestors in aprons had in their kitchens, I realize how different our staples were.  What things would grandmother and great-grandmother have in their kitchen that I no longer think of as necessary?

Minute Tapioca

Minute Tapioca in its current box.

Tapioca–before the 1900’s old-fashioned ball tapioca, and after that, Kraft Minute Tapioca® in a small red box.  Tapioca went on the market in 1894, and you can read the history of Minute Tapioca here.

My mother always had it on her shelf, as did my grandmother, I imagine.  So did Agnes Badertscher (Ken’s mother.)

Ken loves rhubarb pie, but he has been after me to make it his mother’s way, thickened with tapioca, so I delved into the comfort food of old–tapioca. Besides making a nice, bland, comfortable pudding, tapioca is handy for thickening all sorts of things.

I made a rhubarb-strawberry pie by accident. Because it turned out the farmer’s booth at the farmer’s market did not have enough rhubarb for a pie, I had to stretch it with strawberries. But I used Minute Tapioca for the thickening instead of flour, for the first time.  And it was great. Agnes Badertscher’s way of making rhubarb pie has won me over.

strawberry-Rhubarb pie

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie made Agnes Badertscher’s way with tapioca.

I’m pretty sure that Agnes, as well as my mother, would have initially used the recipe on the package, which has not changed, so I used the Minute Tapioca which has not been a staple in my kitchen for a very long time, and tweaked their recipe just a bit. Be sure to use the perfect pie crust recipe.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie with Tapioca


  • 2 cups strawberries (sliced)
  • 2 cups rhubarb (peeled and cut in chunks)
  • 1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (cut in small pieces)
  • Pastry for double-crust pie


1. Mix fruit, apioca, sugar in bowl. Let stand while rolling out pie crust for 9-inch pie plate.
2. Fill crust with fruit mixture.
3. Dot with butter, cover with top crust, seal. Cut slits in top.
4. Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar.
5. Place pie plate on a cookie sheet and slide into preheated 400 degree oven. Bake 45-50 minutes.


This turned out sweeter than I like my rhubarb pie. I would cut the sugar if I make it again with strawberries. On the other hand, if it is rhubarb alone, it might need that much sugar.

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4 thoughts on “Rhubarb Pie with Tapioca

  1. Kay Badertscher Bass

    Like Ken, rhubarb pie, is my all-time favorite pie. Adding the strawberries is actually something Mom (Agnes Badertscher) did late in life sometimes even throwing in a small box of strawberry jello. Yes, sugar overload in these modern times! I think she would definitely be proud of your achievement. The ratio of sugar in the original recipe definitely offsets the tartness of rhubarb (only) in the pie. Thanks for posting and allowing me to savor some memories. Alas, this area of the country has very little rhubarb so whenever I travel to Ohio guess what is the first thing I want for dessert?

    1. Avatar photoVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      Kay, I wish I had your mom and grandmom (and mine, too) to ask questions about these recipes! I’m surprised you can’t get rhubarb in Texas. It is grown around Tucson. I can get it at the farmer’s market from time to time.

  2. Christy

    Thank you for posting this! I have a several packages of Bob’s Redmill’s fine ground tapioca flour and have been using it in place of corn starch and flour for thickening. I’ve been playing with it as I create different sugar-free fruit & berry pies. I figured out the approximate measurement for some pies, but my standard 4-Tbsp didn’t do the job on a rhubarb-blueberry-blackberry pie I just made. There isn’t much literature out there regarding using tapioca flour since it’s “outdated.” However, I like using the tapioca much better than the corn or wheat products- which are NOT what they were back in the day. I’ve found a bonus of tapioca flour- some people with food sensitive autoimmune diseases can tolerate it! So going forward, I’ll start pies out with a quarter cup of tapioca, then gi from there. Thank you!



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