The Pie Plant

is a VEGETABLE? The captain’s German grandparents grew it.  New to the Heartland, I was clueless what to do with the stalks they shared.  From Farm Journal’s Cooking for Company,  1968, came a recipe for Rhubarb Pudding Cake and the beginning of a love affair with the veggie known as Rhubarb.  We transplanted a few plants from Grampa’s city garden to our new suburban garden and then from that garden to the Sidewalk House. Forty some years later the plants still flourish. And Rhubarb Pudding Cake is still tops on our family favorites list. Along with:

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, a classic
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Jam,  on French toast
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake, swoon
  • Rhubarb Crisp, oohs and ahhhs
  • Rhubarb Baby Cakes, thank you Julia Child
  • Rhubarb Pie with a Meringue Lattice, Yes!
  • Rhubarb and Strawberry sorbet with Strawberry Sauce ~ Yum
  • Rhubarb Nut Bread ~ for tea
  • and simply stewed rhubarb for breakfast or over ice cream for dessert!

Next on the list to try? Rhubarb Beer Jam from Paul Virant’s Book, The Preservation Kitchen. It’s time to stretch, ja?

2009 Memorial Day 014

Emma’s Rhubarb Pudding Cake ~ Memorial Day 2009


  • 4 cups diced fresh rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  •  ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. Cook rhubarb, 1cup sugar, and water until rhubarb is tender; keep hot.
  2. Cream shortening and sugar, beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together; add alternately with milk to creamed mixture.
  4. Pour batter in to greased 9-inch square baking pan.
  5. Spoon hot rhubarb sauce over batter. Bake 40 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with cream.

Oh you must try it y’all.  You just must!

PS If you have a recipe for a rhubarb custard pie, please share. Mama spoke often of one she ate many years ago ~ baked by one of Daddy’s Midwestern aunts. I tried recipe after recipe but I never found one that met with her approval.

PSS We planted a new variety this year. I have been looking for one that is red all the way through the stalk. We are trying Canada Red. Next year will tell if it is truly red.

PSSS Did you know that the leaves of the pie plant are poisonous?


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