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Rhubarb

Dubbed the “pie plant,” rhubarb can be found from late winter to early spring with a peak season from April to June. Rhubarb’s stalks become soft when baked and make for a delicious pie filling. A tart vegetable, rhubarb is divine both in desserts, such as upside-down cakes and crumb bars, and in savory dishes.

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recipe

Topping cheesecake with shimmering fruit is nothing new, but we spun this one in two fresh directions: We swapped out the expected cherries for ruby-red rhubarb-raspberry gelee, and we baked the whole thing in a 9-by-13-inch pan -- perfect for serving a crowd. It begins with a traditional press-in graham-cracker crust; the layer of creamy filling bakes through quickly and evenly without the usual requisite water bath.

recipe

It’s hard to believe that a dessert this elevated is made from such basic ingredients: sugar, egg whites, and vanilla. It is also a lovely study in contrasts: the delicate, crisp exterior; the ephemeral interior; and here, soft, sweet-tart rhubarb and crunchy pistachios. Happy spring.