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Sweet but tart, rhubarb makes perfect summer desserts

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Rhubarb is in its prime, and plump and plentiful for the picking with all the recent moisture. And most, with a liking for sweets, will admit that there is nothing better than a fresh dessert made from the tart fruit-like plant that in actuality was considered a vegetable until the 1940s, when it was reclassified as a fruit since that was the way it had been considered and eaten.

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Rhubarb recipes have become abundant through the years, with the following a few favorites from my personal recipe files, including two variations each for pie and cake. I made the rhubarb cream muffins Sunday evening, a new recipe I had clipped out the Hillsboro newspaper, and they are wonderful. I doubled the batch and discovered I had to bake them a little longer, but the end result was almost picture-perfect - golden brown, moist muffins with melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

The other recipes are equally as delicious. 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 cooking.

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 Dessert

4 cups fresh rhubarb, diced

1 cup sugar

½ cup cinnamon red hot candies

20 large marshmallows

1 cake mix, yellow or white

Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Place the rhubarb in pan and cover with sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon candies over and place the quartered marshmallows around the fruit. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter over the rhubarb mixture and bake at 360 degrees for 60 minutes. Let cool. Cut into squares and serve fruit side up with whipped cream or ice cream.

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

2 cups rhubarb

1 cup strawberries

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. flour

1 (nine inch) pie shell

Dice the rhubarb and quarter the strawberries. Beat the eggs well. Mix flour, sugar, salt and add to eggs. Combine with the strawberries and rhubarb. Pour into a 9 inch pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately one hour.

Rhubarb Pie

2 cups rhubarb

3 egg yolks

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup sweet cream

2 Tbsp. flour

Mix the ingredients and place in unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes, then at 350 degrees for 40 more minutes.

Beat three egg whites stiff and add 6 tsp. sugar and a dash of cream of tartar. Put on top of the pie and bake at 300 degrees until golden brown.

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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