[Photograph: Lauren Weisenthal]

By this time of year, I'm desperate to bake with fresh fruit. I long for easy, rustic pies, crumbles, and tarts. But for a long time I let, well, fear prevent me from starting with the earliest ingredient available: rhubarb. There was something about those long pink and green stalks that intimidated me. Last year I finally dove in with a strawberry-rhubarb pie, and I haven't looked back. These 6 spring-time sweets will refresh your palate, so get ye to the market!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie: It's easy to see why strawberry rhubarb pie is one of the most coveted flavors for pie-lovers and bakers. Beside the fact that sweet, sun-kissed strawberries pair perfectly with tart, crisp rhubarb sweetened with just enough sugar, there is something magnificent about a pie for which nature makes us wait so patiently each year.

Rhubarb Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce: The slightly sour rhubarb does wonders when matched with eggy, cinnamony raisin bread and a whiskey spiked sauce.

Rhubarb Vanilla Jam: This recipe combines rhubarb with chopped orange peels, fresh orange juice, and the seeds of a vanilla bean. The results taste a bit like rhubarb pie shot through with orange marmalade.

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie with Fresh Strawberries: This recipe from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Julie Richardson and Cory Schreiber takes the classic combination of strawberry and rhubarb a step further by adding a delicious cream cheese custard to the mix.

Rhubarb Clafoutis: This dessert is nice when cooled to room temperature and served with a dollop of barely sweetened cream. It has a lovely consistency—somewhere in between a cake and custard with little bites of sweet-sour rhubarb running through it.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler: Ed likes to serve this buttery fruit cobbler for brunch, and who are we to disagree?


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