The rhubarb in my garden is ready for using. I am fascinated by how fast it grows. While I freeze a substantial amount for use over the winter, there is nothing like scooting out to the garden to pick some fresh rhubarb just at the time I am making a recipe.
I have my usual, regular recipes that I make every year with rhubarb and generally try one or two new ones. One of my all-time favorites is Rhubarb Custard Torte. We’ve been making this recipe in our family for as long as I can remember. It’s not overly difficult to make but it does take time since there are three stages to it: 1) the shortbread base; 2) the rhubarb custard filling; and 3) the meringue.
The most tricky part is making the rhubarb custard and ensuring it doesn’t scorch while it is cooking and thickening. To ensure this doesn’t happen, cook it at medium-low temperature and stir it constantly. A couple of other tips when making this recipe are, first, don’t overbake the base as it will become hard and somewhat tough. Second, when making the meringue, make sure the egg whites, the bowl, and beater are all cold and add the sugar slowly.
I love the rich, ruby red color of the rhubarb! Use the brightest red rhubarb you can find as it will give great color to your recipe.
Rhubarb Custard Torte
½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
Cream butter. Mix in flour, salt, and sugar.
Lightly spray cooking oil into 8”x8” pan and press shortbread mixture evenly into pan.
Bake in 325ºF oven for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack.
1¼ cups sugar
3½ tbsp flour
½ cup whole milk, evaporated milk, or blend
3 large egg yolks (reserve whites in refrigerator for the meringue)
2¼ cups chopped rhubarb
In medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and flour. Blend in the milk. Whisk in the egg yolks. Over medium-low heat, cook mixture just until hot (not boiling), stirring constantly. Add the rhubarb. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then, spread rhubarb custard over cooled shortbread base.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
3 cold egg whites
¼ cup sugar
In chilled bowl of stand mixer, beat the three egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the ¼ cup white sugar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
Spread meringue evenly over rhubarb custard, ensuring custard is completely covered.
Bake for 7-10 minutes, just until meringue starts to brown.
Cool completely before serving.
Yield: 9 servings
Enjoy with a fine cup of coffee or tea.