It is the last week of May and my rhubarb is finally ready to harvest. Strawberry rhubarb pie is a classic recipe. Here is a variation with a bit of a twist. The addition of strawberry jam really intensifies the fruity flavor. Star anise will leave your family or guests trying to guess what has added that subtle exotic flavor. The rich “cheese” mixture means that you won’t need to serve this dessert warm with ice cream.
2 cups of rhubarb cut into medium chunks
1/4-1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of orange zest
1 TBSP of star anise powder
1.5 cups of frozen strawberries
1/4 cup of strawberry juice
2-4 TBSP of strawberry jam
1 TBSP of agar agar or other thickener, thinned with a TBSP of warm water, with no lumps
8oz of soft tofu, ricotta cheese, or Vegan Moz (soft cheese)
1 tsp of almond extract
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 cup of sliced fresh strawberries
Pie shell of your choice
2 TBSP of ground hazelnut or almond flour
2 TBSP of turbinado or similar texture sugar
1/2 cup of coarsely ground hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 350.
Prepare your pie shell (home make it or purchase a pre-made one, set in the pan of your choice). Let chill for 15 minutes. You will need to “blind bake” it by placing a small sheet of parchment on top of the shell and then pouring in a cup of dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and weights. Prick bottom of shell with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the first eight ingredients. Set aside
In a medium bowl use clean hands to mix the “cheese”, cinnamon, and almond paste together. Spread into the bottom of your pie shell.
Mix the sugar, flour, and hazelnuts together in a small bowl. Sprinkle contents on top of “cheese” mixture.
Spoon out the rhubarb mixture into the shell. Level flat.
Use the fresh strawberries to create a nice pattern on the top of your pie.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, until soft and set.
Cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving
Rhubarb has an ancient history of being used as medicine. Rhubarb is good at clearing heat, infection, and inflammation from the body. It has more vitamins and minerals that kale. The stalks are used all over the world as a perennial vegetable. The root has laxative and purgative qualities. It is thought to help the digestive tract to metabolize fats and flush out wastes. Each species contain different chemical constituents. Some are more powerful that others. Rheum officinale (Chinese Rhubarb) is the one most commonly used for healing. Its root is has been used to treat blood clots, constipation, diarrhea, fever, hemorrhoids, lack of menstruation, very heavy periods, worms, high cholesterol, jaundice and worms. Externally it can be as a poultice to boils, burns, sores, and wounds. Adding in fennel, ginger, or peppermint prevents stomach cramping.
PART USED: Root for medicine, stalks for food
PLANT FAMILY: Polygonaceae/Buckwheat
ENERGETICS: bitter, cold, dry
SPIRITUAL USES: Grounding, establishing boundaries, connecting with others on a level that is present and real.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: The stalk of garden rhubarb is fine to use as food for those without kidney issues. Because this plant varies with species and has so many contraindications it should not be used for healing unless it is being given under the supervision of a trained professional.