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Entries in Rhubarb (5)


Rhubarb Scones

A few weeks ago, I posted about how we were under contract on a house... and I am thrilled to say that Rob and I are now officially homeowners!  We won't move into the house until July 3rd.  I am counting the days (fifteen).  We have a front porch with a swing, a bedroom with big windows and a door (we currently live in a converted loft where the only doors in the whole place are on the bathrooms, which is inconvenient when you have a kitten who likes to play at 3 a.m.), a lovely backyard with huge lilac and rose bushes and a peach tree, a kitchen with a sunny window in which I'll grow herbs all winter (and photograph food)... and, most importantly, we have a place to call home.  
These two iPhone photos are the only shots I have from our house... but they give you an idea!  And those peaches... is it selfish of me to hope that they aren't ripe until we move in?  I'm not sure I can wait until next summer to taste my very own peaches.
Since we won't move into the house until mid-summer, I won't have a garden this year.  Thankfully, my parents have a magnificent garden that we visited last weekend.  It is too early in the summer for most produce, but we harvested lettuce and baby radishes for a salad, marveled at all of the produce that is to come later this summer, and enjoyed the gorgeous flowers.  I can't wait for home grown beets, kale, and tomatoes. 
When I do plant a few things next year, I'll definitely include some rhubarb.  That said, I think this scone recipe would work for any fruit you want to try so don't feel limited by the fact that I made it with rhubarb.  I made them again using fresh cherries and they were delicious!  I think this will be my go-to base recipe for fruit scones going forward because these scones are moist and flavorful without being made with heavy cream (as was the case with the original recipe - delicious but aptly named "Naughty Rhubarb Scones" because they certainly weren't healthy).
What I loved most about these scones were the giant chunks of rhubarb.  You'll probably think as you mix them up that these scones will certainly fall apart with such large pieces of fruit inside, but they defy the odds and stay together nicely.  I was also concerned that there wouldn't be enough sugar in these to offset the somewhat bitter taste of rhubarb.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised as the rhubarb flavor really shines but the scones are neither overly tart nor overly sweet.  Finally, these scones have more of a moist, biscuity texture than other recipes, which I prefer.  And remember... just because rhubarb season may have passed, don't overlook this recipe - just use another fruit (about a pound).
Rhubarb Scones
Yield = 16 scones
Adapted from Naughty Rhubarb Scones via Food 52 

3 stalks rhubarb (roughly 1 lb trimmed)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2/3 to 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice rhubarb stalks 1/4 " thick.  Toss with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a separate bowl.  Set aside.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl or bowl of food processor.  Cut butter into flour mixture by hand (or pulse in food processor) until butter is the size of small peas.
3. Blend in 1/4 cup of sugar.  Blend in 2/3 cup of lowfat buttermilk just until a soft dough forms.  If your dough is still dry and not cohesive, add additional buttermilk 1-2 tbsp at a time until the dough is soft and moist.  Be careful not to add too much buttermilk!
4. Blend in sliced rhubarb.  If you are using a food processor, just pulse the mixture a few times. If it doesn't combine, use a rubber spatula or your hands to fully combine the rhubarb and the dough (I had to do this as the food processor was not mixing in the rhubarb well enough).  Do NOT over-pulse the mixture - you want the slices of rhubarb mostly left intact.
5. Transfer dough to floured surface and divide in half.  To make triangular scones, flatten into 6-inch disks and cut each circle into 8 scones.  
6. Arrange scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly brown on top. 
Note - The scones can be made through step 5 and either refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for future baking.  If you freeze the scones, separate them with sheets of parchment paper for easy baking.
That expressions means "Stop taking photos."

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Boston, Berlin, and New Haven, here we come!  Tomorrow morning we leave for ten days of ten-year (gulp) college reunions and exploring a new city in Europe.   I can't wait.  I also still have a list of chores I wanted to finish and letters I should write... and I had grand plans to have a few blog posts ready for while I am away.  Oh, and it is 1:38 a.m.  Sigh.  At least I am (over)packed!

Instead, I leave with you a very simple and addictive Rhubarb Coffee Cake.  Last month, I visited my college roommate in Chicago.  We made Ali's Rhubarb Buckle and discussed how we both love the abundance of rhubarb in spring.  Shortly after my visit, K sent me this recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake.  Fortuitously, a friend of my mom's generously gave me several pounds of ripe, red rhubarb from her garden around the same time.  Thank you, Stephanie!

Sometimes I want to make something that comes together in one or two bowls with little muss or fuss.  I want the stand mixer to do the work and I want to enjoy my time reading with a cup of coffee (or wine) rather than frantically flitting about the kitchen.  This is a lazy day recipe.  Another observation - is there a smell more enticing than than that of butter and sugar whipped together?  Nevermind the smell, how about the taste?  Trust me, you'll want to lick the beaters once this cake is in the oven.

I was surprised both times by how brown this cake was without being burned.  I'd advise covering it with aluminum foil halfway through baking it to prevent the top from over-browning.  The end result will be a moist, sweet, rhubarby treat that is equally good for an afternoon snack or breakfast (or dessert... or an airplane snack as I'll have it tomorrow).  

Oh, and a confession.  I only just learned this year that coffee cake doesn't have coffee in it.  Who knew?  

Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Yield = 20 squares (one 9x9 pan cut as you please)
Recipe passed along to me by K, who got it from her wonderful grandmother, Bambi (who was responsible for sending us the most delicious treats all through college... all of us looked forward to Bambi's care packages) 

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt 
2 heaping cups of rhubarb chunks (sliced approximately 1/2 inch thick on the bias)
For the topping - 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the sugar and butter either using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.  Add the egg and then the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients.  Alternate adding the buttermilk and the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter, sugar, etc.  Gently fold in the rhubarb.

Place the batter in a greased 9x9 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with topping.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the center is set.  I'd advise covering the cake after 20 minutes of baking if it is getting dark.


Rhubarb Tart with Orange Glaze

Rhubarb? Again? What can I say? I LOVE rhubarb and despite the fact that it it is summer in Colorado, we have a late growing season and there are still slim pickings when it comes to local fruit and vegetables. This will be the last rhubarb post for a while, I promise. That said... this tart is easy to make, tastes great, is a perfect dessert to serve at a party and could be adapted to serve with most any type of fruit.

We had our first (of many, I hope) summer rooftop gatherings last night. It was a gorgeous, warm evening and we invited some friends for dessert and drinks. I needed to keep things simple because I didn't have time to prepare in advance, so I rushed home at 5 PM and got to work. The Type A side of me really hates taking shortcuts (e.g., using pre-made puff pastry) but there is something to be said for how it simplifies things.

As I said above, this could be made with any other fruit - berries, apples, peaches, apricots, etc. I might change the type of juice depending on the fruit, but otherwise this could be made the same way. For example, I'd probably use apple juice with apples, berry/pomegranate juice with berries and probably still orange juice with peaches or apricots.  You could serve this with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, but I wanted people to be able to eat it while chatting and standing, so I kept it simple and just served it as-is.

Rhubarb Tart with Orange Glaze
Gourmet Magazine, April 2009
Yield = 16 individual servings

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 pound rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced diagonally (1/8 inch)
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17 1/4-ounces package), thawed - I used Dufour, which comes in a 14 ounce package and I used all of it (it folds out into one sheet
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir together orange juice, lime juice, and sugar in a bowl. Add rhubarb and let stand, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut pastry in half lengthwise, then roll out each piece into an 11-by 7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Arrange pastry rectangles side by side on the baking sheet.  Alternatively, fold Dufour puff pastry out into flat sheet and place on the baking sheet.

Make a 1/4-inch border around the pastry rectangle by slightly rolling the edges of the dough. Score a line parallel to each edge (do not cut all the way through). Prick pastry inside border all over with a fork.

Strain rhubarb mixture through a sieve set over a bowl, reserving liquid. Top pastry rectangle (within border) with rhubarb, overlapping slices slightly.

Bake until pastry is puffed and golden (underside of pastry should also be golden), about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil reserved rhubarb liquid in a small saucepan, skimming foam if necessary, until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 15 to 18 minutes.

Transfer tarts to a rack. Brush rhubarb and pastry with glaze and sprinkle with zest. I had quite a bit of glaze leftover and actually wish that I had used a bit less.

Rob & Jackson


Rhubarb Soda

When we were in Alaska, we had lunch at the Flying Squirrel Bakery & Cafe in Talkeetna, Alaska. The food was delicious but the highlight of the lunch was the "Rhubarb Ade" they served. It was fizzy and lightly sweet and a lovely shade of light pink (apparently I am on pink kick).

Given the frequency with which rhubarb appears on this blog (Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata, Strawberry-Rhubarb Birthday Pie and Classic Strawberry Shortcake with Rhubarb Compote), you won't be surprised when I admit that I love this tart fruit (yes, it is considered fruit in the United States). It has been a few weeks since we were in Alaska, but I am still thinking of that rhubarb soda and this weekend I replicated it.

Who knew Rob is a flying squirrel?!

Two years ago, I received a SodaStream Penguin sparkling water maker for Christmas (thank you, Mom and Dad). I LOVE it and use it constantly. You can exchange the refillable CO2 cylinders at your local Williams-Sonoma store and by making your own sparkling water and storing it in the glass carafes that come with the Penguin, you avoid buying sparkling water in cans or plastic bottles.

So, I dusted off the penguin, perused the internet for rhubarb syrup recipes and got to work! I wanted the rhubarb syrup to be super-rhubarby, so I settled on a rhubarb syrup recipe from Food & Wine, which I adjusted by decreasing the sugar. I'm afraid I can't be super precise about the yield from this recipe because it really depends on how much syrup you'd like in your drink... but I've had 4 glasses already and still have enough syrup for at least 4 more!

Rhubarb Soda
6 cups (approximately 2 lbs) of rhubarb stalks, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
sparkling water or club soda

1. In a medium or large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the syrup and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Use the remaining rhubarb pulp as a compote for on top of yogurt, in a pie or as a garnish/sauce for meat.

2. Combine the chilled rhubarb syrup with the sparkling water or club soda over ice. The ratio of syrup to sparkling water is up to you - mine is approximately 1/4 syrup to 3/4 sparking water but this recipe, for example, calls for equal parts syrup and water. 

I don't know about you, but I prefer a fizzy drink to be sipped through a straw.  These are my favorite!


Strawberry-Rhubarb Birthday Pie

A dear friend turns the big 3-0 this week and we are having a surprise "girls only" celebration this evening before the real party later this week.  I have known B since we were in elementary school and we've been friends through very bad haircuts (both of us having "boyish" cuts at some point - thanks, Mom), countless sports teams and boyfriends, and the ups and downs of life.  The celebration tonight is a surprise and I knew that only B's favorite dessert would suffice.  Thus, I emailed her Dad and was told that B loves strawberry-rhubarb pie.

This was music to my ears.  I LOVE rhubarb and love cooking with it.  My love affair with rhubarb began when we were living in London and I discovered that the Brits have rhubarb yogurt.  Amazing!   When I was unable to find this in the States, I started making my own rhubarb compote to add to plain yogurt.  I typically just slice the rhubarb, add a little bit of sugar and water and let it stew on the stove until the rhubarb is soft.  The recipe I've linked to calls for 1 1/4 cups of sugar -- I prefer my rhubarb tart rather than sweet so I add less sugar initially.  You can always add more sugar later.

Ready for the ovenI digress... thankfully both fresh rhubarb and strawberries were available at the grocery store (otherwise frozen would suffice) and the pie is now baked and waiting to be eaten tonight.   The recipe I used is a combination of a Bon Appétit recipe for Lattice-Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie and the only pie crust recipe that I use from Cook's Illustrated for Foolproof Pie Dough (access to the Cook's Illustrated website requires a subscription, but the recipe has been posted online here).  A side note about this pie crust - I always make it using a food processor and it really is foolproof.  Even better, I often make several batches of dough at a time and freeze them for future use.  It is so easy to whip together a pie when the dough for the crust is already made.

Before you start baking, here are a few tips, most of which relate to improving the presentation of the pie:

  • Pie crusts (particularly the edges) are likely to burn in an oven for this long.  For this particular pie, after the first 20 minutes of baking at 400°F, I removed the pie, covered the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent burning and returned the pie to the oven.  If the middle of the pie crust starts to brown too quickly, loosely cover it with foil as well.
  • I use a fluted pastry wheel to make the edges of my pie uniform and pretty (in theory).
  • Martha Stewart has some amazing tips and ideas for making a pie crust stand out.  I stuck with the lattice-top and fluted edges for this one, but one of my favorite ways to make a pie special is to use a cookie cutter to cut out pieces of the dough which are then layered on top of the pie to create a crust.
  • If you make a fruit pie and don't use an open crust (e.g., lattice-top), you may want to use a pie bird (also called a pie vent, pie whistle, pie funnel or pie chimney) to allow air to escape from the pie.  A pie bird is a hollow ceramic device that allows steam to escape from the pie to prevent the pie from boiling over.  Additionally, there are some adorable pie birds available... my husband bought me this one for Christmas and I also have this one from Anthropologie.  I see a collection in the making!
  • Another way to add some flair to your pie is with a decorate pie dish.  A sweet friend gave me this one from Anthropologie for Christmas and I received the classic Emile Henry Auberge Pie Dish as a wedding present.  Emile Henry sells beautiful pie dishes in a wide range of colors hereSheila's Art shop on Etsy has some lovely ceramic options.

Lattice-Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie (adapted from Bon Appétit and Cook's Illustrated)

Yield - 1 pie that serves 8

For crust

  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup cold vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water

For filling

  • 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
  • 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Make crust:
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.  Let dough soften at room temperature prior to rolling.

Make filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all filling ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.  I reduced the amount of sugar from 1/2 to 1/4 cup.  You should add or reduce the sugar depending on how tart you like your pie.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter flass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.

Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

Transfer pie to rimmed baking sheet (my pie bubbled over and I was thankful for the baking sheet so that I didn't have to clean my oven today).  Bake pie for 20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.  Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.