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Eating Well: Sweet but tart, it's rhubarb time again

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My backyard rhubarb plant is flourishing and I couldn't resist the opportunity this last weekend to make a rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb recipes have become abundant through the years, but I was looking for that special pie recipe, the one my late mother always turned to often when rhubarb was at its peak finest.

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Much to my delight, digging through her keepsake recipe box, I quickly located it, well tattered, but still clear enough to read.

Two hours later, from picking to cleaning the rhubarb, to assembling the pie (made even easier by those delicious ready-made, store bought crusts) the end result was a golden brown, magnificently beautiful creation, looking like it came straight from Betty Crocker's kitchen.

It was also as delicious tasting as I had remembered it, sweet and custardy and just the right amount of tart.

On that note, I couldn't wait to share it with all of you this week, in addition to a few other "rhubarb favorites," which through the years have become traditional baking staples, especially this time of year when the rhubarb is plentiful.

The rhubarb cream muffins are wonderful, and the three different cake variations all must tries, with the first forming its own creamy topping, with the pieces served upside down.

I recommend serving rhubarb desserts warm from the oven, if at all possible. This only serves to enhance the flavor and texture and also makes that huge dollop of whipped cream or ice cream even more enticing as it melts down and adds to the richness.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking.

Rhubarb Pie

3 cups rhubarb

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs beaten well

3 Tbsp. flour

Pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. butter

2 Pillsbury ready made pie crusts or your own favorite homemade version

Mix first five ingredients together and pour into pie crust in nine or ten inch glass pie plate. Place remaining pie crust over the top and flute the edges. Cut small slits in the top to allow the steam to escape while baking. Dot with the butter and bake in a 425 degree oven for ten minutes and then 45 minutes at 325 degrees or until golden brown and rhubarb is tender.

Rhubarb Custard Cake

1 white cake mix pudding in mix

4 cups cut up rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1 pint cream

Prepare cake mix according to instructions on box. Pour into greased 9 x 13 cake pan. Place the four cups of rhubarb on top evenly. Sprinkle cup of sugar over all. Pour carton of cream evenly over top. Bake in 350 degree oven for 60 minutes or until appears set. Remove from oven and serve warm with whipped or ice cream.

Rhubarb Torte

1 cup flour

5 Tbsp. powdered sugar

½ cup butter

Mix like pie crust and pat into 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes.

Pour 3 ¼ cups rhubarb over the crust.

Beat 3 eggs thoroughly with ¾ tsp. salt at high speed with mixer. Then add to the eggs:

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup flour

¾ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

Pour over the rhubarb and crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Rhubarb Cake

4 cups rhubarb

1 ¼ cups sugar

½ cup miniature marshmallows

1 pkg. strawberry Jell-O

1 pkg. white cake mix

1 cup water

¼ cup salad oil

Mix the first four ingredients together and let stand for one hour. Mix the cake, water and oil. Combine all and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Rhubarb Cake

1 ½ cups brown sugar

½ cup margarine

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 ½ cups rhubarb

1 tsp. vanilla

Topping

1/3 cup brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream together butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Pour in buttermilk and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix again. Fold in rhubarb last. Pour into 9x13 greased pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over top. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until done in center. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Rhubarb Crunch

2 cups rhubarb

¼ cup oatmeal

¾ cup white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup butter

6 tbsp. flour

Put rhubarb in 8 inch baking dish. Mix other ingredients until crumbly and pour over rhubarb. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Rhubarb Cream Muffins

¼ cup butter, softened

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup sour cream

¾ cup diced fresh rhubarb

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Topping:

¼ cup brown sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. cold butter

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternating with sour cream. Fold in rhubarb and walnuts.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups ¾ full. For topping, combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl, cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for five minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 8 muffins.

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