Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Best Spring Tonic

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.


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.


Erin said...

You know that I'm laughing, right?! Seriously, since you didn't put a whole lot of sugar or other stuff in, I will file this one for the future! I also recommended MaineCelt post on that recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake, since I am a coffee cake girl!

beth said...

Looks great. My husband has tried multiple times to get rhubarb growing here in s. calif. No luck though. He knows I love it! Guess I need to move to the cold north to get my rhubarb fix.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Erin - Hey, nobody's gonna force you to make this recipe! ;o) Maybe best to wait for MaineCelt's recipe since you're a coffee cake kinda gal.

Hey, Beth - Yay, it's good to know there is SOMETHING we can grow here that you can't in your paradise of a gardening climate!

Jo said...

You always have the best recipes! Now that we're not drowning in rain I will have to go out and pull some stalks and give it a try.

Patty said...

That looks delightful! Might make me like rhubarb. You DO always have the best recipes!

Melissa said...

Oooh, this looks gooood! A must try. I have a great recipe for rhubarb bars that my family demands, but I will have to make this one as well. Thanks for the post...

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Jo - You flatter me! Thank you. But you have no idea how many failures I've had in cooking. But I keep trying. (That's 'cause I LOVE to eat and I'm the only cooker in the house!)

Hi, Patty - Thank you, m'dear. I truly do think this pie would make a rhubarb lover out of anybody.

Hey, Melissa - Rhubarb bars?? Yum, sounds good. Care to share?

Nina said...

Found your blog while searching for rhubarb recipes! This cream pie business sounds fantastic. I know what I'm makin' tomorrow ;)

Mama Pea said...

ArtsyNina - Welcome and thanks for commenting! I have yet to make this rhubarb treat this year but I've been thinking about it a lot. Hope you like it!