Friday, February 27, 2009

Rhubarb Cherry Tart

Rhubarb Cherry Tart

Dorcas Annette Walker

My father loved rhubarb, but my mother didn’t have a green thumb and was too busy working full time to bother with a garden or flowers outside. So I can remember as a girl riding around in the car with my father during the summer as he spied out rhubarb patches around the farm areas where we lived. Rhubarb is a fast growing plant that rapidly spreads and seeing a handicapped father with young children the women were always happy to give a bagful of rhubarb away. I enjoyed cutting up the reddish green stalks, but wasn’t that crazy over the tart taste until I grew older. My husband on the other hand had never seen nor heard of rhubarb until we were married. Since then he has become an avid fan of eating rhubarb from the patch that I grow in my herb garden.

Rhubarb dates back to China in 2700 BC where it was first noted that rhubarb was given to the Wu emperor to cure his fever. It was transported to the throne from the southern parts of China during the Tang dynasty, in 960 rhubarb was taken to cure the plague, a Christian was pardoned from hard labor after using rhubarb to heal some soldiers, during the Ming dynasty a general tried to commit suicide by eating rhubarb, and in 1828 the Daoguang emperor sent out an edict that no more tea or rhubarb would be sold to the “barbarians”. Rhubarb was first recorded in 17th century England after sugar became affordable to the common people and was first used for medical purposes. An unnamed Maine gardener in 1790 is given credit for introducing rhubarb to growers in Massachusetts where it soon became popular and was sold in produce markets. Rhubarb or “pie plant” spread rapidly westward with the settlers.

Rhubarb is classified as a vegetable grown from thick short rhizomes of a perennial plant with large triangular shaped green leaves that are toxic. The flower of rhubarb is greenish-white to rose-red. It is the deep red, pink, or green stalks that are used for consumption. Rhubarb is now grown in greenhouses in many areas and is available throughout much of the year. The rhubarb commonly grown today here in America is actually a nineteenth century hybrid of China. Rhubarb can be cooked in many ways such as: stewed to yield a tart sauce, filling for pies, tarts, desserts, jams, and for wine. I’ve even known some folk who enjoy eating the raw stalk like celery. Talk about a mouth puckering snack!

Most commonly rhubarb is combined with fruit such as strawberries, apples, or cherries. My Rhubarb Cherry Tart camouflages the rhubarb with a cherry pie filling until only the cook will know that rhubarb is the secret ingredient. In return the rhubarb gives the cherry filling a pleasing tasty zing. The Rhubarb Cherry Tart takes only thirty minutes to prepare and this recipe serves six.

Rhubarb Cherry Tart

1 baked pie crust in a 9 inch tart pan
Cook 2 cups of rhubarb in a small amount of water until tender.

While hot add:
1 (3 oz) pkg of strawberry jello
½ c sugar
1 tsp almond extract
Stir together until dissolved and then fold in:
1 (21 oz) can of cherry pie filling
Pour into the baked tart crust and chill for a couple of hours until firm. You can garnish your Rhubarb Cherry Tart by sprinkling powdered sugar on top or serve with a dollop of cool whip!

Weekly tip: To make a fancy dessert plate for a special dessert heat red jelly or a colorful clear sauce and pour a thin layer onto a white dessert plate. Then pipe dots of cool whip to shape a heart or round circle in the middle. With the tip of a knife or toothpick you can either connect the dots or swirl the dots to form a comma!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Mountain Cookin page and blog at:


Katypi said...

This looks very good and would definitely be something I'd try.

Your blog is charming; I enjoyed visiting.

It's nice to see someone who shares a similar cooking philosophy :op

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Thanks. You won't be sorry if you try my Rhubarb Cherry Tart.
Happy cookin!