A delicious cookie crust, a sweet-tart creamy custard loaded with rhubarb, topped with an (optional) amazing meringue. Works with frozen or fresh rhubarb. RHUBARB GROWING HINTS: water freely while it is growing; fearlessly remove the flower buds (they look kind of like white broccoli) before they open--if you don't the plant puts more effort into flowering than in making thick juicy stalks--can't have that!; harvest stalks throughout summer, then discontinue plucking spears in early August; snap off or cut stems at the base (right above the ground); rhubarb leaves are a GREAT mulch around the rhubarb bed, to keep the weeds down.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1⁄2 cups white flour
- 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 8 cups diced rhubarb (one long, thick stalk will generally yield about one cup of 'barb)
- 6 egg yolks (whites are used in the meringue)
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup milk or 1⁄2 cup cream
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 6 egg whites
- 1⁄4 cup sugar (2 tsp at a time)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350; butter a 13x9 pan.
- Cream butter with flours and sugar, spread in prepared pan, pressing into corners and bottom; bake for 5-10 minutes (it will get bubbly--sort of).
- While that is cooking, cut up the rhubarb.
- In a blender or a mixer bowl, beat eggs until foamy and fluffy, add sugar and continue mixing, then add other ingredients until thick and rich; set aside (rewhip right before pouring into pan with rhubarb).
- When crust is baked, spread rhubarb pieces evenly (press lightly into crust--lightly!); pour custard over rhubarb; return pan to the oven for 45 minutes (knife poked in middle comes out clean).
- While THAT is cooking, prepare meringue; beat eggs until forming soft (firm) peaks, adding sugar 2 teaspoons at a time, then salt and vanilla last, mixing until stiff.
- At end of baking time, remove pan from oven, turn heat up to 425; spread meringue over rhubarb/custard, smooth with a spoon into pretty swirls.
- Brown for five minutes; set the timer--it can burn very quickly!
- VARIATIONS: Skip the meringue and use whole eggs in the custard; switch out some of the rhubarb for strawberries or raspberries; use all white flour instead of wholewheat in the crust.