Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rhubarb Recipes

It's that time of year.  Rhubarb time.

I grew up in California.  No, not the sun drenched beaches of southern California.  I grew up in the Central Valley, due east of San Francisco, where all the produce is grown.  I was spoiled with freshly picked produce at farmer's stands all through my childhood from asparagus to zucchini.  My dad was gardener as well, so I know what it is to have a fresh supply of vegetables at the dinner table.  So you can see why it astounds me that I had to come to the midwest to get my first taste of rhubarb.

Well, the day someone from our church here in Iowa handed me a recycled Wal-mart bag filled with the celery look-a-like, I smiled, said thank you and promptly went home to google it.  What was this stuff?

The greatly coveted church cookbook

Not long after, I managed to get my hands on a most precious item, the St. John's cookbook.  Ahhh, this was the answer to my rhubarb dilemma.  Sure enough, rhubarb recipes galore.  I did notice one thing about all the recipes... quite a bit of sugar!

Emily's Favorite Rhubarb Cake:

Found in St. John's cook book page 88
1pkg white or yellow cake
1c. sugar (I leave the sugar out because I use a larger box of jello)
2 to 4c. diced rhubarb
1 6oz. pkg any red jello (but c'mon, strawberry is the way to go!)

Mix one package  yellow or white cake mix according to package directions.  Pour into greased and floured 9x13-inch pan. (I find that it's too much for my basic pan, so I use my large Pampered Chef rectangular baker).  Sprinkle rhubarb over top and sugar over top of rhubarbThen sprinkle red jello over all.  Bake at 350 until done, about 50 minutes.

 Another invaluable rhubarb recipe resource has been other ladies in the church.  Here is a recipe from my friend, Deanna.  This one is my personal favorite.

Aunt Mena's Rhubarb Dessert:

1 c. flour
5 T. powdered sugar
1 stick melted butter

Mix these together and spread in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
 Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, mix together the following ingredients:
1 and 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs beaten

Just before the crust is ready to come out of the oven, mix in 2 cups chopped rhubarb into the egg mixture.  Pour the rhubarb/egg mixture over the crust (carefully!) and return it to the oven to bake at 325 degrees for 25-35 minutes.

No well respected Midwesterner would neglect to include the ever popular strawberry/ rhubarb pie.  I actually had enough rhubarb to bake not one, not two, but yes, three pies in addition to the afore posted recipes.  That was a lot of rhubarb!
My recipe comes from Betty.  :)
I made the crust using her tried and true recipe for a 9 inch two crusted pie.
2/3 cup plus 2 TBS shortening or 2/3 cup lard
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
4-5 TBS cold water.

Here's the filling:
1 1/3 - 1 2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp grated orange peel (this really makes the pie in my opinion)
2 cups cut up rhubarb
2 cups cut up strawberries
2 TBS margarine or butter

Heat your oven to 425. Make the pastry by cutting shortening into flour and salt. Mix in water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball.  Split your dough in half and roll it out for the bottom shell.  Mix all the filling ingredients except the cut up fruit.  Put half the rhubarb and half the strawberries into the pastry-lined pie shell.  Sprinkle half of the filling mixture over the fruit.  Put the last of the fruit in the pie and again, sprinkle the dry filling over the pie.  Dot with margarine or butter. Roll out the remaining dough and lay it over the fruit to cover.  Cut some slits into the top crust, seal and flute the edges.  Use a pastry shield or foil to cover the edge to keep it from browning too quickly.  You'll remove that 15 minutes before pie is finished baking.
Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust... about 40-50 minutes.  It would be wise to put pie(s) on a edged cookie sheet in case the juices spill over. 

 There ya go, easy as... well, pie.

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