05/21/2012 10:00 EDT | Updated 07/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Fresh local rhubarb stars in decadent tiramisu, cheesecake pie, chilled soup

Fresh rhubarb is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways, including desserts, sauces, pastries, soups, conserves and drinks. Here is a sampling to try.

Rhubarb Tiramisu

A festive dessert to serve a crowd, this can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to cut into squares.

125 ml (1/2 cup) orange juice

75 ml (1/3 cup) orange liqueur, divided

1 pkg (375 g) lady fingers

500 ml (2 cups) whipping cream

75 ml (1/3 cup) granulated sugar

500 g (1 lb) mascarpone cheese

Rhubarb Sauce

1.5 l (6 cups) chopped rhubarb

300 ml (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar

Rhubarb Sauce: In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together rhubarb and sugar until sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce is thick. Let cool.

In a shallow dish, stir together orange juice and 50 ml (1/4 cup) of the orange liqueur. Dip half (about 19) of the lady fingers into mixture; arrange in a single layer in a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) baking dish. Set aside.

In a deep bowl and using an electric mixer, whip cream, adding sugar gradually.

In a separate large bowl, stir remaining orange liqueur into mascarpone cheese. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone cheese mixture.

Spread rhubarb sauce over lady fingers. Top with half of the mascarpone cheese mixture. Dip remaining lady fingers into orange juice mixture; arrange on mascarpone mixture. Spread with remaining mascarpone cream mixture, making decorative swirls. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours. Use sharp knife and pie lifter to cut and serve in neat squares.

Makes 12 servings.

Source: Foodland Ontario


Chilled Rhubarb Soup

This sweet, fruity soup will both refresh and impress your guests.

500 ml (2 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced

780 ml (3 cups) fresh or frozen rhubarb cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) pieces

300 ml (1 1/4 cups) orange juice

125 to 250 ml (1/2 to 1 cup) sugar

Sliced orange, kiwi and/or additional strawberries (optional)

In a 3-l (3-qt) saucepan, bring strawberries, rhubarb and orange juice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar to taste.

In a blender or food processor, blend half the fruit mixture at a time until smooth. Chill.

To serve, spoon into soup bowls and, if desired, garnish with oranges, kiwi and/or strawberries

Makes 4 servings.

Source: "Favourite Rhubarb Recipes," published by Rosy Rhubarb Festival, Shedden, Ont. (second edition, 1998).


Rhubarb Cheesecake Pie

Rhubarb can be combined in pies and other baked goods with many other fruits, including strawberries, raspberries, cherries, pineapple, peaches or blueberries. But in this recipe it stands alone in a pie reminiscent of cheesecake.

750 ml (3 cups) rhubarb, cut in 1-cm (1/2-inch) pieces or smaller

250 ml (1 cup) sugar, divided

15 ml (1 tbsp) flour

1 unbaked pie crust (23 cm/9 inches in diameter)

375 g (12 oz) cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

250 ml (1 cup) sour cream

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla

30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar

Heat oven to 220 C (425 F).

Toss rhubarb lightly with 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the sugar and flour. Place in pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until creamy. Pour mixture over hot rhubarb and return to oven. Reduce heat to 180 C (350 F) and bake for 30 minutes longer.

Mix sour cream with vanilla and 30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar. Spread over baked pie while it's still hot. Let cool completely before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: "Favourite Rhubarb Recipes," published by Rosy Rhubarb Festival, Shedden, Ont. (second edition, 1998).


Rhubarb Punch

This refreshing drink can be made with kids in mind or can be fortified for adult guests.

750 ml (3 cups) finely chopped rhubarb

250 ml (1 cup) sugar

750 ml (3 cups) water

250 ml (1 cup) pineapple juice

45 ml (3 tbsp) lemon juice

500 ml (2 cups) ginger ale

In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar and water. Cook until rhubarb is very soft. Let cool and process or liquefy in a blender.

Combine rhubarb mixture with juices and ginger ale for children and teetotallers. (For adults, substitute white wine or sparkling wine for the juices and ginger ale.)

Makes about 1.5 l (6 cups).

Source: "Favourite Rhubarb Recipes," published by Rosy Rhubarb Festival, Shedden, Ont. (second edition, 1998).