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Rhubarb's a winner; it's closing in on peach pie as a reader favorite.

Rhubarb lovers abound in the West. How do we know? When we asked readers to share with us their favorite recipes for summer fruit pies (see the June 1990 Sunset), rhubarb was second only to peaches as the filling most mentioned. This was a bit of a surprise, considering that rhubarb's season isn't limited to summer (it begins in February), and it's actually a vegetable. But a small detail like botanical identity hasn't interfered with rhubarb's popularity, especially in pies, where sweetening enhances its tart flavor. Long, slender stalks of bright pink hothouse-grown rhubarb are in markets now through May. The green-tinged field-grown type appears later in spring and into summer. If you pick your own, trim stalks of all traces of the toxic green leaves. What happened to those recipes for rhubarb pie? We tested, tasted, and rated, and here are three that came out on top. Recipes for a rhubarb cream pie and a rhubarb-kumquat pie are on page 146. Rhubarb Cheesecake Pie
 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
 3 tablespoons cornstarch
 4 cups 1-inch pieces rhubarb
 Graham crust (recipe follows)
 2 small packages (3 oz. each) cream
 2 large eggs
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 1 cup sour cream

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, mix 3/4 cup sugar and cornstarch; add rhubarb and 1 tablespoon water. Stir often over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Pour rhubarb mixture into crust. With a mixer or a food processor, smoothly blend cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and 6 tablespoons sugar; pour over rhubarb. Bake in 350' oven until filling appears set in center when pan is gently shaken, about 20 minutes. Mix sour cream with remaining I tablespoon sugar; spread evenly over filling. Bake until topping is set when gently shaken, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then cover and chill at least 2 hours or until next day. Cut into wedges. Serves 9 to 12.-Shirley Von, Glendora, Calif. Per serving: 262 cal. 4 g protein; 14 g fat, 33g carbo.; 165 mg sodium; 67 mg chol. Graham crust. In a blender or food processor, whirl 18 graham cracker squares, broken into pieces, to make fine crumbs (you should have about I cup). Pour crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan. Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Press mixture firmly over bottom and up sides of pan. Bake in a 350[deg.] oven until darker brown at rim, 8 to 10 minutes.
Rhubarb-Raspberry Pie
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
4 cups 1/2-inch pieces rhubarb
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
 Raspberry vinegar pastry (recipe

In a large bowl, stir together sugar and tapioca. Add rhubarb, raspberries, and lemon juice; mix gently but thoroughly. Let stand 15 minutes or up to 1 hour to soften tapioca; mix gently several times. On a lightly floured board, roll half the pastry into a 12-inch-diameter round; ease into a 9-inch pie pan. Fill with rhubarb mixture. On floured board, roll remaining pastry into a 10-inch-diameter square. With a pastry wheel or knife, cut into 8 equal strips. Arrange strips on top of pie in lattice pattern; trim off as they lap over rim. Fold bottom crust over lattice, flush with pan rim; flute to seal. Set pie in a foil-lined 10- by 15-inch pan (pie bubbles as it cooks). Bake in a 400[deg.] oven on the lowest rack until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 40 to 50 minutes. If rim begins to darken excessively before filling bubbles, drape with strips of foil. Serve warm or at room temperature. If made ahead, let cool, then cover loosely and store at room temperature up until next day. Cut into wedges. Makes 8 or 9 servings.-Michaela Rosenthal, Woodland Hills, Calif. Per serving: 412 cal; 3.8 g protein; 18 g fat; 61 g carbo.; 64 mg sodium; 0 mg chol. Raspberry vinegar pastry. In a bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub in 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine until fine crumbs form. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar and 3 to 5 tablespoons cold water over crumbs. Stir with a fork until dough holds together. Divide dough in half and pat each portion into a smooth, flat round. Use or, if made ahead, seal in plastic wrap and chill up to 3 days.
Rhubarb-Strawberry Tart
with Orange Shortbread Crust
 4 cups strawberries
 3 cups 1/2-inch pieces rhubarb
 1/2 cup sugar
 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
 1/4 cup cornstarch
 2 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur
 Orange shortbread crust (recipe

Rinse and hull strawberries. Drain until dry on absorbent towels; cut berries in half. Set aside 1 cup of berries for garnish. In a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium heat, combine remaining strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and peel. Cover and stir occasionally until rhubarb is soft when pierced, about 5 minutes. Blend 2 tablespoons water with cornstarch; stir into rhubarb mixture, then stir over high heat until mixture reaches a rolling boil. Mix liqueur with rhubarb mixture, then spread into baked tart shell. Chill until filling is cool and set, at least I hour; if made ahead, cover and chill up until next day. Top with reserved strawberries. Cut into wedges. Serves 8 or 9. Ellen Nishimura, Fair Oaks, Calif. Per serving: 281 cal; 3.l g protein; 11 g fat; 43 g carbo.; 108 mg sodium; 51 mg chol. Orange shortbread crust. In a food processor or with your fingers, whirl or rub together 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour; 3 tablespoons sugar; 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, cut up; and 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel. Add 1 large egg yolk; process or stir with a fork until dough holds together. Press evenly over bottom and up sides of an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake in a 325[deg.] oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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