Try out these rhubarb recipes
Three ways to enjoy the tasty crimson plant
There’s no mistaking those showy (and poisonous) leaves, crimson stalks and tart taste. All hail rhubarb season!
“In the past, all small farms had rhubarb. It was reliable,” said Dorene Pasekoff of Hill Creek Farm in Pottstown. “The traditional way to do it was pies. People called it the ‘pie plant.’”
Strawberry-rhubarb pie delights customers at Frecon Farms in Boyertown.
“I just like that it has that tartness to it, so it’s not overly sweet,” explained pastry chef Holly Haas. “It sells really well because as soon as you say it’s fresh and local, people love it.”
For a twist, she adds amaretto.
“It’s just enough to give it a back flavor of almond/amaretto, but it doesn’t overwhelm it,” Haas said.
At home, try her recipe for strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake — so good family members may vie for the last piece. Just don’t get in a “rhubarb,” baseball slang for “a heated dispute.” And here’s another fun fact: Though often mixed with fruit, rhubarb’s a perennial vegetable.
“You don’t know what to do with it. It doesn’t describe itself well,” noted Pat Brett, co-owner of Kimberton Whole Foods. “You can look at a head of broccoli or a pepper and know what to do with it.”
But therein lies the magic of rhubarb. Cooked with sugar, “it becomes transformed.”
“It’s a wonderful food because it’s so unassuming. It turns into this delicious dessert that you just want to keep eating,” she said. “I love foods that are surprising to your taste buds and your health.”
Celebrate spring with her strawberry-rhubarb upside-down cake.
“When you turn it over, it just becomes a glistening, sweet topping to a cake,” Brett described. “It’s so perfect.”
Don’t delay since rhubarb “is only available for a short time.”
Back at Hill Creek Farm, “the plants are doing beautifully,” said Pasekoff, who picks to order. “They’re absolutely gorgeous.”
Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake INGREDIENTS
For crumb: 6 tablespoons butter, melted 1 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup brown sugar ¼ teaspoon salt For cake: 1 stick butter, softened 1 cup white sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided 1 cup rhubarb, chopped 1 cup strawberries, sliced 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Extra butter and flour to coat pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan with melted butter and coat with flour. Set aside.
To make crumb topping: Whisk together melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Add flour and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
To make cake: Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add baking powder, salt and ¾ cup of flour to the butter mixture and mix until combined. With remaining ¼ cup of flour, toss with the rhubarb, strawberries and brown sugar. Spoon half of cake batter into the 8-by-8-inch pan and spread evenly. Top with the fruit mixture and spoon the remaining batter over top. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the cake. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before enjoying!
RECIPE COURTESY OF PASTRY CHEF HOLLY HAAS
Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
This is a gluten-free recipe. White flour can substitute for gluten-free flour.
Bottom layer: 4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy substitute
¾ cup organic brown sugar
1/3 cup organic chopped almonds or hazelnuts
1 pint organic strawberries, topped and halved
3 cups rhubarb, sliced about ½-inch thick Cake batter: ½ cup butter or nondairy substitute 1 cup organic sugar 2 large eggs ½ cup organic milk or apple juice
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill “One to One” gluten-free mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 9-inch wide, 2-inch deep cake pan. Slice strawberries and rhubarb. In a small sauté pan or pot, melt together the butter and brown sugar, then pour into cake pan. Swirl in pan to spread evenly. Sprinkle almonds over top. Press in strawberry halves in concentric circles or any pattern that pleases your eye. Scatter rhubarb evenly over toppings.
Melt ½ cup butter in the pan or pot. Meanwhile stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Once combined in bowl, make a well in the center of dry ingredients before adding eggs, milk or juice, butter and vanilla. Stir together just until combined.
Spread batter over topping in cake pan. Smooth the top and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Set on rack to cool for 5 minutes and then invert onto serving plate. Shake pan gently to loosen all the toppings (you can always lift any sticky bits out with a fork and place on the cake). Serve warm or allow to cool. Delicious with vanilla ice cream! This cake keeps well, covered loosely at room temperature, for several days. RECIPE COURTESY OF PAT BRETT
Rhubarb Cheesecake Dessert
Prize-winning dessert at our 2016 Rhubarb Festival.
Bottom crust: 1 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup packed brown sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup cold butter ½ cup walnuts, chopped 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened ¾ cup sugar 3 eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Topping: 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ cup water 3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Press into a greased 9-by13-inch baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add vanilla. Pour over crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is set and edges are light brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Gradually add water and stir until smooth. Add rhubarb. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until thickened. Cool. Pour over filling. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Refrigerate leftovers. RECIPE COURTESY OF KITCHEN KETTLE VILLAGE
It’s not too late to enter the Best Rhubarb Dessert Contest.
Even better together: Rhubarb pairs well with strawberries.
Strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake makes a sweet breakfast or snack.
‘MacDonald’ rhubarb grows at Hill Creek Farm in Pottstown.
Try the recipe for this award-winning rhubarb cheesecake dessert.