Recipes: Grandmother Esther’s Rhubarb Torte and Poison Ivy Cure

Rhubarb season is in full swing here in Minnesota. This recipe for Rhubarb Torte was a favorite of my Grandmother Esther. A rhubarb season did not go by while she was on earth that she did not make us this delicious dessert.

Besides being great in desserts, cakes and muffins, rhubarb has medicinal properties. It can help treat a poison ivy rash. Growing up on the farm, I have used this treatment method many times myself with good results. The chemistry of this treatment is, that since rhubarb is very acidic and poison ivy is a base, the rhubarb neutralizes the effects of the irritating oils of the poison ivy on your skin and dries up the rash.

If you are having a localized skin reaction to poison ivy, all you need to do is to break a stalk off of rhubarb and rub the juice on your poison ivy rash several times a day until the rash is gone.

If you need a rhubarb dessert fix, try this torte recipe you won’t be disappointed.

Grandmother Esther’s Rhubarb Torte

Bake at 350 degrees in a 9X13 cake pan

2 cups flour
1 cups softened butter or margarine
¼ cup sugar

Mix crust ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Press mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9 X13 pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let it get brown.

Rhubarb Filling:
5 cups of diced rhubarb
6 egg yolks (Separate the yolks from the whites. Put the whites into a metal or glass bowl to be whipped
later into a meringue for the top of the dessert.)
2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
6 Tablespoons flour
1 cup of half and half cream

In the 9 X 13 cake pan, spread the diced rhubarb over warm crust. In a mixing bowl, with a wire whisk or fork, lightly beat the eggs yolks then add the sugar, vanilla, flour and half and half for the filing. Beat well with whisk until blended, pour over rhubarb in pan.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven.

Meringue Topping:
6 egg whites
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
¾ cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

In a metal or glass mixing bowl. (DO NOT use plastic bowl or utensils when making meringue.) Beat eggs whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until frothy. With mixer on high, slowly add in sugar. Beat until egg whites form stiff peaks. Reduce mixer speed and add in vanilla and pinch of salt. This just takes a brief moment to add the vanilla and salt. Spread meringue over warm rhubarb mixture and return to the oven at 350 degrees until the meringue becomes a light brown. About 10 minutes or so.

Remove torte from oven and cool completely on counter, then put in refrigerator. Chill in the refrigerator for a least one hour before serving.  Enjoy!!!


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