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Bernie, Emma Lou and the rhubarb torte at the 2011 Hunhoff picnic.
Bernie, Emma Lou and the rhubarb torte at the 2011 Hunhoff picnic.

Bernie's Favorite Dessert

Jul 22, 2011

The Hunhoffs have been gathering for a Fourth of July picnic for over 20 years. Culinary-wise, it's the highlight of the summer. Two long picnic tables are full of delicious summer salads and desserts. The main course is hotdogs from Steiner's Locker in Yankton (which is also located just a couple of doors down from our magazine office and my house -- so I like to say I live in the meatpacking district). 

Some new foods crop up each summer at the picnic. This year, for example, my cousin Matt's girlfriend, Kelsey, brought homemade candy corn in red, white and blue instead of orange, yellow and white. Kelsey actually has her own blog, Kelso's Candy Dish, where she posts about her candy-making experiments. 

And each year at the picnic I've also come to expect some old favorites, including Emma Lou's rhubarb dessert. There would be a lot of disappointed people at the picnic if she missed bringing it one year. Here's the official picnic invite we got this year from my dad: 

Subject: Fourth of July Picnic

Hi Everybody,

Remember, we're meeting at noon at the usual picnic shelter in Gavins Point for our annual Fourth of July Hunhoff picnic. Mark says we should just do what we always do, which means I will eat five hot dogs and try to hide Lou's rhubarb dessert from you. See you on Monday at the lake.

He did try to hide it, but we were watching. Everybody had a chance to enjoy the dessert, and now you can do the same because Lou gave us the recipe.


Rhubarb Torte

2 cups flour
1 cup butter (Lou uses Blue Bonnet ole)
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Crumble together and pat into 9x13 cake pan. Bake in 325 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until it starts to brown.

6 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup sour cream (Lou has always made with carnation milk)
4 tablespoons flour
4.5 cups rhubarb

Beat egg yolks with hand beater. Add sugar. Then add milk and flour. Pour over rhubarb and cook oat medium-high heat on your stovetop until it becomes thick. Lou said this happens pretty fast, and to stir constantly. Be careful because it will burn. Pour hot into the hot crust.

Top with meringue made with the 6 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, pinch of salt, and one cup of sugar. Beat these ingredients until stiff peaks form. Put meringue on filling and brown until quite dry in a 350 degree oven.

The torte can be refrigerated overnight, which Lour does if she’s taking it somewhere the next day. You an also use powdered sugar instead of regular sugar in the meringue and Lou says it won’t  “weep” as much.

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