KITCHEN WIT AND WISDOM: Rhubarb springs up

Spring means rhubarb season and there are plenty of delicious ways of using up these stalks that are flourishing in gardens now

Spring has certainly been good to us so far, with beautiful sunny days and warm temperatures.

My rhubarb is half-grown so I imagine real gardeners are almost ready to use their new crop. With that in mind, it’s time to check your freezers to see what’s left from last season. I found three bags, nicely measured out in four-cup portions for my favourite recipes and I’ll be using them up in the next couple of weeks.

Even if you simply stew them up, rhubarb has a way of being a delicious reminder of the season to come.

Rhubarb Meringue Squares

1⁄4 cup butter

1⁄4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Filling

3 cups fresh rhubarb

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

Topping

2 egg whites

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8×8-inch square baking pan.

Crust: Beat butter and sugar in bowl until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt and mix into butter/sugar mixture until a stiff dough forms; press into bottom and 1/2-inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until firm, about 15 minutes.

While crust is baking, in a saucepan over medium heat, mix rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon and 2 tbsp. water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook until rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes. In a cup mix 2 tbsp. of water with cornstarch, add to saucepan, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Spread over baked crust.

Topping: In a medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over rhubarb layer. Sprinkle with coconut. Bake 10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool completely. Cut into squares.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

3 cups rhubarb, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 uncooked pie shell

Topping:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

Place rhubarb in a bowl and cover with boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, with a mixer, mix sugar, egg, butter and flour until smooth.

Strain rhubarb well. With wooden spoon, add rhubarb to batter and mix. Pour into uncooked pie shell.

Mix topping ingredients with a fork, and sprinkle over uncooked pie. Bake at 375 F for 50 minutes or until set.

Top with whipped cream if desired.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

 

 

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