This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
When preparing rhubarb, particularly for pies, see what a metamorphosis takes place by the judicious addition of a little candied lemon-peel, a little fresh lemon-peel, a squeeze of lemon-juice, and a few sultanas. You will be surprised.
Rhubarb will take the flavor of other fruits very readily, thereby enabling the cook to vary the tarts, etc., sent to the table; for instance, a little lemon-peel for addition one day, a few blanched and chopped almonds another, a spoonful of strawberry jam for a third day, plain rhubarb the next, and so on.
Fill a deep pie-dish with alternate layers of rhubarb, sweetened and seasoned with nutmeg, and slices of stale sponge cake. Bake twenty minutes. Whisk the whites of three eggs thoroughly, add three table-spoonfuls of sifted white sugar; spread this evenly over the top. Return to the oven for fifteen minutes to brown.
Peel young rhubarb and cut the stalks into lengths of about two inches, dip each piece into batter and fry in boiling lard until a nice golden brown. Serve fritter very hot, well powdered over with sugar.
Fill a buttered pie dish with rhubarb cut as for a tart. Make a rich batter with two or three eggs, allowing a tablespoonful of flour to each egg, and sufficient milk to form the mixture into a thick cream. Four it over the rhubarb, bake and serve with fine white sugar and melted butter.
Dish lined with slices of bread dipped in butter and sugar, tilled with cut rhubarb well sugared, covered with bread, baked.
Red rhubarb cut 3 inches long-, set on side of range in cold water; when scalded, but not boiled, taken up; the water boiled down to a pint, 1 pound sugar added, boiled to make syrup, poured over the rhubarb. To be served as other compotes.
Rhubarb is very wholesome, and also one of the most useful articles of food, coming in, as it does, when apples go out of season. Made into jam with the aid of a few oranges, it makes a tasty, useful, and very cheap dish.
" When making punch for a party, instead of champagne, use a quart bottle of rhubarb mine. According to the legend of a friend of mine, himself a writer and expert on wine subjects, 'Lord Haddington, who was the greatest wine connoisseur of his day, could not tell champagne from rhubarb wine;' and the fact of its being 'rhubarb' would ensure its not playing 'old gooseberry' with your guests".
To begin with, choose a good juicy kind of rhubarb, the more delicate and rose-tinted the growth the finer will be the color of the wine. A sherry or brandy cask is the best, but a lager beer cask sweetened is not to be despised. Bruise the stocks with a wooden mallet on a wooden board, or with a fruit crusher. One old dame at a village near Chesterfield who is celebrated for her rhubarb wine, and "makes for the quality," runs the rhubarb through a wringing machine at tight tension, and her wine soon makes you " tight," by the way, Let it stand a day or so, then strain off the juice. The next operation is to sulphur the cask. Take 1/2 oz. of rock sulphur, put it into a small iron tube or vessel, and lower it by a wire into trie barrel; ignite it, and bung up the cask for 12 hours, but leave the spile peg out, so that a little air may get in to assist the process of combustion. Next fill the barrel with the juice, reserving a gallon or so to fill up the barrel and replace what is lost in the overworkings of the fermentation. When the fermentation has subsided, add two pounds of refined lump sugar to each gallon of juice, leave the bung out for two or thrae days, and if no further fermentation appears, bung it up.
The wine should be kept in a cool cellar, and in three months it will be ready for use or bottling. A man in New Jersey has for years made a specialty of rhubarb wine and makes a delightful and wholesome beverage, for which he gets on an average a dollar a gallon by the barrel, allowing the city purchasers to do the bottling and fancy labeling.
Rhubarb water ice.
Rhubarb open pie.