rhubarb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABright and crisp, the very fruit of spring! Rhubarb makes the long wait of winter worth it. There’s boat loads you can do with rhubarb. Some people gnaw on it directly, through most will add something sweet to help soften it’s mega tart punch. Brace yourself, recipes for rhubarb often have lots of sugar.

At the farm, we like to bake with rhubarb – scones, coffee cakes, carrot cake (you know, instead of pineapple, add rhubarb. so dang good). By adding rhubarb to an already sorta sweet treat, you don’t need to add additional sugar.  We haven’t tried this out yet, but it seems like an awful good idea: Rhubarb Cupcakes.

Saveur has a gallery of Best Rhubarb Recipes with links to a range of recipes that you absolutely shouldn’t miss. Pies and chutneys and cocktails, and compote, granita, oh my. Check out this link to a recipe for water bath canned Orange Rhubarb Marmalade.

Pistachio Rhubarb Yogurt Cake

Our friend, Mary Beth, is possibly (definitely) the World’s Best Cake Baker. Spring-form wizard, Master of the Tres Leches. Here’s a recipe she’s shared for rhubarb pistachio cake (originally from Martha Stewart).

  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons orange-blossom water or pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-round, 2-inch-deep cake pan and line bottom with parchment; butter parchment. Place 1 cup yogurt in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl; let drain in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, toss together rhubarb, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/4 teaspoon salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, just until tender, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, finely grind pistachios. Add flour, baking powder, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; pulse to combine. Beat together remaining 1 stick butter and 1 cup granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then orange-blossom water. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with remaining 1 cup yogurt.

Transfer batter to pan and smooth top. Arrange about half of rhubarb over top; refrigerate remaining rhubarb in syrup until ready to serve. Sprinkle cake with granulated sugar and bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. (If browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around edges. Invert onto a cutting board, then immediately flip onto rack; let cool completely.

Stir confectioners’ sugar into drained yogurt. Chop remaining rhubarb and swirl into yogurt, along with some syrup. Serve cake with yogurt, drizzled with more syrup.

Lemon Rhubarb bars

This recipe is one adapted to add more lemon flavor and rhubarb, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

Crust
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Filling
3/4-1 cup rhubarb, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, from about 2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
1/8 teaspoon salt

Powdered Sugar for garnish.

Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack in the middle. You’ll use a 9 inch square pan, but you can leave it ungreased.

For the crust: In a food processor, pulse together all of the ingredients except the butter to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like course meal. Pour the dough into your pan and press it onto the bottom. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is just barely golden brown.

In the meantime, make the filling: In a small sauce pan, put chopped rhubarb and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook this down to slop-consistency, remove from heat and let cool. Whisk together all of the ingredients, including rhubarb-slop for the filling until combined. Be sure there are no lumps of flour left in the mixture.

When the crust has been partly baked, remove it from the oven and pour the filling into the still-warm crust. Return to the oven until the filling is set, about 16 minutes. Transfer the whole pan to a rack to cool. Cover and refrigerate until cold. This will take at least 4 hours, so you may as well give yourself overnight.

To serve, cut the bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Storage tip: Wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator. Rhubarb freezes well for use later in the year. There’s nothing like rhubarb in December. I’d suggest chopping the stems to 3/4″-1″ chunks, laying the pieces out on a cookie sheet in a single layer to freeze, then transferring and storing it all in a freezer bag.

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