DEAR JEANNE: I enjoy your column very much. This is my family's favorite rhubarb recipe. I wonder if you could revise it so that it can be used by those who have to watch their fat and cholesterol intake. - Helen Setter, Kenosha, Wis.

DEAR HELEN: This recipe makes good use of the "pie plant," as rhubarb is often called. Since fresh field-grown rhubarb should start arriving in our markets in April and May, you will soon have plenty of it available.I reduced most of the "problems" in your recipe by about half, yet the torte remains plenty sweet. I also eliminated much of the cholesterol by using egg substitute instead of egg yolks. I think your family will be pleased with my lightened torte recipe.

Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 18 cookbooks.

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Rhubarb Meringue Torte


2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks margarine


4 egg yolks, beaten together

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons flour

4 cups rhubarb, diced finely


4 egg whites

1 cup sugar 1. To make crust, combine first four ingredients. Mix as pie crust and press into a 9x13-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350 F or until golden brown. Set aside.

2. For filling, mix egg yolks, milk, sugar and flour in saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour rhubarb over baked crust, then pour egg mixture over rhubarb. Bake 20 minutes until rhubarb is three-quarters done in 350 F oven. Remove from oven and top with meringue.

3. To make meringue, beat egg whites adding 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until whites form peaks that are stiff but not dry. Top rhubarb with meringue and bake until golden brown in 350 F oven, about 10 minutes. Serves 12.

Light Rhubarb Meringue Torte


11/2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 cup chilled corn-oil margarine

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt


1 pound fresh rhubarb, washed, leaves removed, finely diced (31/2 cups)

1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

1/2 cup canned evaporated skimmed milk

1/2 cup frozen unsweetened apple-juice concentrate, thawed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unbleached flour


4 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla 1. To make crust, preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick vegetable spray. Combine crust ingredients in medium bowl and, using a fork or pastry blender, blend ingredients until dough mixture resembles small peas. Press dough into prepared pan and bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. For filling, spread diced rhubarb over baked pie shell. In saucepan, combine egg substitute, milk, apple-juice concentrate, vanilla, sugar and flour. Mix well with wire whisk while bringing mixture to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly until thickened. Pour over rhubarb and bake in 350 F oven for 20 minutes or until rhubarb is nearly done.

3. While rhubarb is baking, make meringue. In medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating just until stiff peaks form, not allowing them to become dry. Top rhubarb with meringue and bake about 10 minutes more or until golden brown. Makes 12 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 396 calories; 74 mg cholesterol; 18 gm fat; 261 mg sodium. Revised Recipe: 242 calories; negligible cholesterol; 8 gm fat; 196 mg sodium.