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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve baked more fruit crisps in the last few years than I could count on both my hands and all of your toes. And no matter which sweet thing has managed to find its way into my gaping maw between crisps, it’s damn near guaranteed that I’d have preferred that it had been some variety of baked fruit, in its countless incarnations. There’s been an apple-fresh cranberry, apple-raisin, apple-pear, peach, peach-blueberry, peach-raspberry, mixed berry and one day, hopefully very soon, there will be a mango and also a sour cherry.
I should apologize for the lewdness of this title—or perhaps you should, for that gutter mind—but I’ve always been endlessly amused by the “put some South in your mouth” logo painted on the wall of the Carolina BBQ joint and frat-boys-living-out-their-glory-days haven, Brother Jimmy’s. Really, it’s just about the only thing I enjoyed about the place the innumerable times a certain ex-boyfriend of mine with a ACC basketball bent dragged me there under duress or pleading. The bar’s menu consists things like fried pickles, green tomatoes and corn fritters and something frightening called a “flaming pig pick,” and while I am not one to argue that these are indeed Southeastern flavors, my associations have always been in sweeter, homier places: berry pies, cobblers and pretty much anything that has known, been adjacent to or looked at a pecan in it’s life.