For years I've avoided rhubarb considering
it an 'old fashioned' ingredient that was probably once used
as either a filler or as a spring substitute for yet unripened
fruit. My only experience with rhubarb was with, you guessed
Rhubarb Pie. Although I never minded the taste of this
classic dessert, I also never thought the rhubarb was a necessary
ingredient, I mean strawberry pie is perfectly respectable
all by itself.
Perhaps rhubarb suffers its relative unpopularity
because of its resemblance to celery. Rhubarb is traditionally
paired with berries or other fruit, but it itself is not a
fruit, but a vegetable. Unlike fruit, dreaming of the long
celery like stalks of rhubarb just doesn't tend to make one's
My husband however, has always said that
he loves rhubarb although in the 30 years that I have known
him, I've never seen him eat it. His love of rhubarb must
stem from childhood memories or perhaps something he remembers
from a dream or an out-of-body experience. At any rate, he
has faithfully planted rhubarb in our yard at every place
we have lived. Each year we watch it grow, then he dutifully
harvests it and lays it on the kitchen counter, as if somehow,
like straw into gold, this will magically transform it into
strawberry rhubarb pies. For my part in our rhubarb ritual,
I eye the pile of rhubarb stalks suspiciously for a few days,
then I cut it into approximately 6" lengths and carefully
place it into plastic bags and then into the refrigerator.
I seem to do this on pure instinct with little or no thought
at all. Several weeks later, I throw it out. This is the rhubarb
growing, harvesting and tossing cycle we repeat each year.....until
this year. I don't know if I have succumbed to the guilt of
wasting a perfectly good vegetable or if my new rhubarb behavior
has more to do with pity for the poor plant, but whatever
the reason, this year I vowed to tackle the mysteries of rhubarb
The growing, harvesting and laying on the
counter cycle went pretty much as before but instead of throwing
it out, I began to cook with it.
Here's what I have learned about this amazing
vegetable. Rhubarb is truly a master of disguise. It's tartness
will add a bit of 'yang' to the sweetness of fruits, resulting
in a perfect marriage of sweet and tart, hence all the pies.
At first I proceeded cautiously experimenting with recipes
that combined rhubarb and fruit. I must say, I was very pleased
with my results, as was my rhubarb deprived husband. As I
had a rather large pile of rhubarb to work with, I became
more bold as I became more creative and as a result, I discovered
that rhubarb is wonderful as a main ingredient. I soon veered
off the rhubarb pie trail and incorporated rhubarb into a
delightful chutney, a cake, a frozen dessert, rhubarb crisp
and one of my new favorite recipes, Cinnamon
Crumble Rhubarb Muffins.
If you've long since discovered the delights
of rhubarb, kudos! If you are rhubarb challenged, as I was,
I, now a believer, encourage you to take the plunge. To get
you started, here are four fabulous recipes that will initiate
you into the wonderful world of rhubarb!
Cinnamon Crumble Rhubarb Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.
- 3/4 cup gf flour
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/4" pieces
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1-1/4" cup gf flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease jumbo
or 12 muffin pan.
In a small bowl, mix together flour, brown
sugar, cinnamon and salt together. Mix in the butter with
your fingers to form clumps.
In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking
powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl or an electric
mixer, add oil and sugar and beat until blended. Add eggs
and vanilla and beat until blended. Add flour then milk and
beat on low until just blended. Divide batter between muffin
cups. In a medium bowl, toss rhubarb with powdered sugar and
divide equally into each muffin cup. Top each muffin cup with
cinnamon mixture and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted
tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes then loosen
the edges with a knife and remove muffins to cool completely.
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons, chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1-1/2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 4-1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 2/3 cup craisins
- Dash of cayenne pepper
Place garlic, ginger, vinegar, sugar and
onion in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar
dissolves. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer
for 10 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and cook over
low heat for about 20-30 minutes or until mixture is thick
and syrupy. Cool to room temperature, discard cinnamon. Cover
and store in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before
Frozen Blueberry Rhubarb Torte with Chocolate
Minty Python Cookie Crust
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cups gf plain yogurt
- 1 cup crumbled Chocolate Minty Python
- Fresh blueberries for garnish
Pour 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and sprinkle
in gelatin and let soften.
Add blueberries, rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar
and 1/2 water to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook
until rhubarb is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add gelatin mixture
and stir until dissolved. Let cool. Add to a food processor
and puree until smooth. Add yogurt and process until blended.
Transfer to an ice cream maker.
Bake 6 Chocolate Minty Pythons, let cool,
then crumble. Spread cookie crumbs evenly in the bottom of
an 8" springform pan. Top with frozen yogurt mixture and spread
evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 2 hours.
To serve, release from pan and let sit for
about 15 minutes. Cut into wedges and top with blueberries.
Blackberry Rhubarb Crisp
- 2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons gf flour
- 1 Tablespoon melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup gf flour
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Add rhubarb, blackberries, 2/3 cup sugar,
2 Tablespoons flour, 1 Tablespoon melted butter, orange peel
and cinnamon to a large bowl and mix to blend. Divide mixture
between 6 ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake
for 10 minutes.
Add topping ingredients to a small bowl
and mix to blend. Equally divide the crumb mixture on top
of the ramekins and bake again for 20 minutes. Serve warm.