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Rhubarb Mousse

Rhubarb mousse
Kevin Weeks for NPR /

Several years ago, I was trying to come up with something to do with rhubarb besides the usual cobblers and pies. I love the vegetable's lucious tartness, and I saw no reason to dilute its natural flavor with its usual partner, strawberries. So I came up with this recipe, which has been a major hit ever since.

Makes 18 servings

5 to 6 limes

3 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1-inch lengths

3/4 cup water

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin

6 egg yolks

6 cups heavy cream, chilled

Peel limes, being careful not to include pith. Cut the rind into strips, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Squeeze juice from limes. You need about 3 tablespoons of lime juice.

Place rhubarb in a large sauce pan with water and 3/4 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until rhubarb breaks down. You will have a thick, fibrous sauce — and no recognizable chunks of rhubarb. Transfer to a food processor, add gelatin and lime juice, and process until smooth. Allow to cool.

In a double boiler, beat the egg yolks with remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until a pale yellow. Cook over just-bubbling water, stirring constantly, until yolks have thickened. Cool to room temperature.

Combine rhubarb mixture with egg mixture. In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff and fold into rhubarb mixture. Spoon into individual dessert cups or wine goblets and chill for at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, garnish with strips of lime peel.

In advance: This dessert is perfect for making entirely a day in advance and then chilling until ready to serve.

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