Since it seems to be a popular topic on a few blogs right now, I have to jump in and do my own post touting the virtues of the lovely (I said lovely, not lowly!) rhubarb plant.
It's my understanding that pioneers in our country often referred to rhubarb as a "spring tonic." (Exactly what a spring tonic does for us may be left to your own interpretation. Something about getting the bile flowing through our bodies . . . I don't know that I want to think about it too much.) However, it doesn't take much imagination to understand that the old-timers had had very little resembling fresh food in many months by the time the first fruit of the season in the form of rhubarb was ready to be eaten.
Personally, spring tonic or not, I love rhubarb and can hardly wait until mine is ready for that first picking. Which is what occurred day before yesterday on this here little homestead.
What did I make for our first rhubarb dish of the year? Oh, the decisions!
I settled on Rhubarb Cream Pie. I found this recipe three years ago in a book entitled, "Life's Little Rhubarb Cookbook: 101 Rhubarb Recipes" written by Joan Bestwick. In the book it's called Rhubarb Cream Delight Dessert but it's a PIE, people, so I renamed it Rhubarb Cream Pie. And it is soooo good! The only change I made to the original recipe is that I make a rhubarb sauce to spoon over each individual piece of pie when it's served.
RHUBARB CREAM PIE
For the crust: Mix 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Then cut in 1/2 cup butter. Pat/press this mixture into a 10" pie plate.
For rhubarb layer: Combine 3 to 3-1/2 cups fresh rhubarb cut in 1/2" pieces, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Toss lightly and put into crust.
Bake the above in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.
While this is baking, prepare the ---
Cream layer: Beat 12 oz. softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time.
Pour cream layer over hot rhubarb layer,
smooth it out with a spatula and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Topping layer: Combine 1 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread over hot layers.
Chill pie before serving with Rhubarb Sauce spooned over top of each piece.
In a medium saucepan, bring 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add 4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb. Simmer about 10 minutes stirring frequently.
Store pie and sauce in the refrigerator.
When it comes to rhubarb, I've always been a purist favoring a good, plain, ol' two-crust rhubarb pie as my favorite. (Well okay, maybe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.) But since discovering this recipe, I've been mightily swayed toward saying it's my new favorite. Try it and see what you think.
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