May 21, 2015 at 1:21 p.m.

A seasonal tradition: Rhubarb!

A seasonal tradition: Rhubarb!
A seasonal tradition: Rhubarb!

It is the season of rhubarb. Often called a fruit, rhubarb is really a vegetable and is one of the most wholesome of all the plants in the garden. 

The rhubarb plant is a perennial that grows in the coldest parts of Asia, probably Siberia. And in this area, it is growing like crazy because of the cold weather and rain we have been having. And that is a joy to see. I have a friend in Scandia who lives on a farm and has a row of rhubarb growing along the length of their barn. Guess where I get my rhubarb for today’s recipes? If anyone in the area has an overabundance of rhubarb, call the Press office and leave a note for me. Then I won’t have to drive all the way to Scandia (as if it were 25 miles away).
Let’s do some recipes using the pie plant.

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RHUBARB
CUSTARD PIE
3 c. rhubarb, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
3 T. flour, well rounded
1 c. sugar
1-9 inch roll out refrigerate pie crust
3 eggs separated
1 T. thick sour cream (not light sour cream)

Topping:
1-1/2 c. old fashioned oats or quick cooking oats
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter or margarine

Combine flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl; add to rhubarb, mix and let stand for 10 minutes. Make a high fluted edge on the pie in order to hold all the topping. Brush bottom and sides of crust with egg white from separated eggs (prevents crust from becoming soggy). In a small bowl, beat egg yolks and sour cream together; add to rhubarb mixture. Pour into pie shell. Combine topping ingredients; spread evenly over pie. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 50 minutes more. Makes eight servings.

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ROSY RED RHUBARB CAKE
Cake:
1/4 c. butter
2 c. flour
2-1/1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 c. milk
6 c. thinly sliced rhubarb
1-3 oz. package strawberry gelatin

Topping:
6 T. butter
1-1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour

Cut butter into flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar, until crumbly. Add egg and milk; mix well. Spread into 9x13 inch baking pan. (Mixture will be moist.) Top with rhubarb. Sprinkle gelatin over rhubarb. Combine topping ingredients until crumbly, sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Makes 12 servings.


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RHUBARB CRUNCH
3 c. diced rhubarb, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1 c. sugar
3 T. flour

Topping:
1 c. each, packed brown sugar and old fashioned oats (quick oats can be used)
1-1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. each, butter AND shortening

Combine first three ingredients together, place in greased 9x13 inch baking pan, pressing lightly. Combine first three ingredients of topping mixture; cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle on rhubarb mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve slightly warm, as is or with ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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RHUBARB CREAM DELIGHT
Crust:
1-1/2 c. flour
3 T. sugar
3/4 c. butter or margarine

Cream filling:
2 c. sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten
2/3 c. cream (not half and half) OR evaporated milk
3 T. flour
1/2 t. nutmeg
4 c. sliced rhubarb, about 3/4 inch thick

Meringue:
4 egg whites
1/4 c. sugar

Combine crust ingredients until crumbly; press into 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While crust is baking, combine all filling ingredients and cook in a HEAVY saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until thickened - watch carefully because mixture will scorch easily (Mixture may also be cooked in microwave). Pour hot filling into crust, top with meringue made by beating egg whites with sugar until thick and satiny. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Note: When a recipe says to spread (whatever) evenly over top”, I drop ‘blobs’ of the filling or frosting here and there and gently spread it with the back of a soup spoon. Also, to brush the pie shell with egg white in this recipe, just take it from the four egg whites as you don’t need much to coat the shell.

Thought for the Day: Take care of the gardens, and keep them from the weeds. Fill them with vegetables and flowers, kind words and kind deeds. (As you hoe, weed and water the plants!)

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