In March, I turned down Farmer John’s generous offer of some of his rhubarb crowns to start some rhubarb in my own garden. “No thank you,” I said, thinking that rhubarb was so unpleasantly tart there was no way my family would ever benefit from having the stuff on our place. Silly me. What *was* I thinking?
In defense, my only real memories of rhubarb include my maternal grandpa’s enthusiastic offering of a juicy red stalk freshly picked from his prized patch. My mouth still puckers up in shock just thinking about it!
According to Farmer John, I was suffering from RDD–Rhubarb Deficiency Disease. A very common problem with a simple enough remedy–a serving of Farmer John’s wife’s delicious rhubarb crisp! What a mind changer. Next spring, I’ll be the one doing the asking, er, begging–more like it! All five of us are now very big into rhubarb! Our palates just needed a little educating!
This is the farmer’s wife’s recipe, and it is incredible! I’ve never ever had a fruit crisp with a better topping. This topping is a perfect blend of crunchy and melt-in-your-mouth, and making it with REAL butter is a must. Also, I’ve learned that this recipe only makes enough to whet your appetite. Doubling it into a 9×13″ pan is the only. way. to. go. Last night I fixed us a double batch, using six cups of rhubarb and 2 cups dark sweet cherries I had in the freezer. WOW. I can’t think of a dessert that compares. We’re already wondering how we’re going to survive once rhubarb goes out of season…wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! (Yes, I know they sell it in the frozen fruit section, but it just won’t be the same) :O(
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 4 cups cut-up fresh rhubarb in an 8″-square ungreased baking dish.
Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
For topping, measure into a bowl and mix:
- 1 1/3 to 2 cups sugar (depending on tartness of rhubarb)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
Add 1/3 cup butter and mix thoroughly until mixture is crumbly.
Spread evenly over rhubarb.
Bake 40-50 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
This next recipe comes from the April/May issue of MaryJane’s Farm magazine. They have a great article on rhubarb. One of my new favorite magazines!
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- 2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 TB butter
Preheat oven to 375*F. In a large bowl, stir together first four ingredients. Add sugar, egg, and sour cream and beat well. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into a well-buttered 8″-square baking dish, or 8″ cast-iron skillet. With a fork, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Sprinkle mixture over top of cake. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
The good news about planting rhubarb is that it is a perennial plant, so it will come back year after year…Farmer John has had his rhubarb patch for 25 years. He’s got a nifty raised bed method going on at his place–several rows of recycled, inverted tires filled with garden soil and large leafy rhubarbs! Nice, neat and handy!
So, what are your thoughts about rhubarb? Does your palate need a little educating, too?
*My* palate is reminding me that there’s a bit of rhuby red crisp left in the kitchen…