Rhubarb Archive

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

rustic rhubarb tarts

rhubarb tarts

I hadn’t intended to audition any new rhubarb recipes this year. Between last year’s cobbler and previous seasons’ filled crumb coffee cake, strawberry rhubarb crumble, strawberry rhubarb pie, loaf cake and even compote, I was pretty sure I had the rhubarb terrain well-covered. But then I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket two weeks ago with Adam and we were both lured in by the bundled stalks. Because they’re shiny and pretty and pearly and pink and I cannot speak for Adam but I am incapable of resisting shiny pretty pearly pink things, nor do I wish to.

shiny pearly rhubarb stalks

I also hadn’t intended to bake another recipe from my new cookbook obsession, Good to the Grain, just yet. For the sake of my hips. For the sake of repetition, given that I already cannot stop talking about it (“The photos!” “The fresh ideas!” “Those danish, aaah!”). I needed to put it on a top shelf and come back to it with some willpower. Problem was, in the process of putting it away, those free-form rhubarb tarts on the cover taunted me once again, “Don’t you have rhubarb to use up? You know you wanna!”

rhubarb cross sectionrhubarb, sliced on the diagonalyolks, cream and dry ingredientspressing down the doughfilling the tartrhubarb tarts, ready to bake

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Friday, May 8, 2009

rhubarb cobbler

rhubarb cobbler

I am ashamed to admit that I have been quietly bigoted against cobblers for as long as I can remember, the dessert that is, not those dudes that save my shoes from NYC sidewalks. And like so many other baseless biases, my issues were not hinged on actually trying one, but an assumption that there could be nothing good about them. I mean, biscuits and fruit? Biscuits? Why on earth would anyone want to bake a fruit dessert with biscuits on top when they could have thick crumbles, granola-like crisps and don’t even get me started on buckles, clafoutis, grunts, slumps, pandowdys and brown bettys, drool. Biscuits are for salty butter and barbecue and fried chicken, thank you very much.

egg yolk biscuit doughbiscuit doughbiscuitsbrushed with cream, sprinkled with sugar

Well, I am glad I have gotten over my issues, and no surprise here really, it came in the form of an old recipe I found from my current dessert guru fixation, Claudia Fleming. This is the cobbler that could challenge any cobbler-biased ways, and should you already be smitten with them, do know that this might be the best darn baked fruit dessert I’ve ever baked. The biscuit-like topping is amazing — cakey but still light and crisp, flavorful and rich. The rhubarb is tart but softened by the scrape from a fresh vanilla bean and the scent when you let all of this simmer together in your new oven is perfection — and was the most delicious way to break in our new oven.

rhubarbrhubarbvanilla beansrhubarb vanilla bean filling

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

strawberry rhubarb pie

strawberry rhubarb pie

I usually try to shield you from examples of my various forms of Crazy, but in this case, it’s just too relevant not to own up to. You see, I’ve got all sorts of superstitions about pies, with each and every harebrained theory derived from some near or actual pie disaster in my past.

making pie doughpie dough pacmancannot resist the flutedunbaked lattice-top

There’s the theory that pies can smell fear; if you’re certain your pie will be a mess, it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then there’s the theory about making anything but the simplest lidded pie in the summertime, as the heat and humidity defies any level of air conditioning and makes your pie dough melt apart, no matter how many times you chill the dough. I also believe that pie recipes can be curses, because not every apple has the same level of sweetness, tartness and liquid and it’s nearly impossible to come up with a core recipe that works each time.

strawberry rhubarb pie, unbaked

In short, my pie superstitions could be summed up as, “Shh. The pie can hear you.”

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Monday, April 21, 2008

almond cake with strawberry-rhubarb compote

gateau aux amandes

Remember those 17 flourless/Passover-friendly desserts? Did you wonder why one would make a list that numbered, say, 17 and not some easily identifiable round number such as 20? I mean, once you’ve gotten to 17, are those last three so difficult, so clearly going to push a blogger over the edge that it simply cannot be done? No, you don’t think about this? Well, lucky you.

But the list was indeed 20 to begin with, but I nixed* three because although they had very little flour in them and the odds were that it could be replaced with matzo meal with little melodrama, I didn’t want to wing it and accidentally ruin every one of your seders with my misplaced confidence. (So much for saving us all some melodrama.) Yet I’ve been staring down the Gâteau aux Amandes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook for months now–a fairly simple cake with what I hoped would be a very intense almond flavor.

strawberry-rhubarb compote

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Friday, February 29, 2008

big crumb coffee cake

rhubarb big crumb coffee cake

It took me almost eight months to make this recipe. It took less than two seconds to regret waiting that long. Let this serve as a warning–it doesn’t have to happen to you.

rhubarbrhubarb

This is the Big Crumb Coffee Cake of my dreams, and oh, I have dreamed about this for a very long time–like, 15 years, I’m afraid to say. It dates back to the bakery where I worked in high school that used to fill a sheet tray with gorgeous, cinnamon and brown-sugar clustered buttery crumbs, spread a thin layer of cake doughnut batter over it and, once baked, flip it out onto a tray where it was showered with an avalanche of powdered sugar. The proportions were perfect every time: one-third cake to two-thirds of the kind of rubble that were impossible to walk by without pulling off a piece of crater-leaving telltale sign. Not that I would do a thing like that. Of course not. But I sure did think about it. Honestly, I still do.

rhubarbbarely any cake
protozoa! i mean, rhubarbbig crumb coffee cake

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