Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rhubarb: I grew it, and then I cooked it.

Until this spring I hadn't had much experience with Rhubarb, and I didn't feel the least bit deprived. But oh, how things have changed. My sister in law gave me a Rhubarb plant, which I liked seeing in the garden for it's prehistoric look, and it is one of the harbingers of spring.

But I never really intended to eat any. I just thought Rhubarb was a poor substitute for fruit in a pie, cobbler or crisp.Rhubarb is classified as a vegetable, the same way a tomatoes and avocados are really fruits, go figure.

A kind neighbor gave me recipe that she said was terrific and I accepted it, but secretly didn't think I'd ever make it. Well, inside of a couple months I have made this recipe at least 3 times. It's official, I'm a big fan of Rhubarb, and here's why.

Rhubarb Custard Cake
(thanks Linda, I'll never doubt you again)

Jewels of Rhubarb, encrusted in Demrara sugar, nestled in the batter. Next you swamp the mixture with a pint of cream, no mixing. Now it's ready to bake. I was filled with trepidation and uncertainty. 1/2 way through the cooking process it still looked like this, and I thought it was a failure.

When I checked again 15 or 20 minutes later this is what I saw.
And it is deeeeeelicious. The perfect interplay between the tart Rhubarb and the sweet cake is no surprise. But the cream and the sugar turn into a caramel toffee sauce, woven throughout the cake. Like Dulce de Leche. So good.

Very good warm, but I actually prefer it chilled the next day. Cool, creamy, tart, sweet, cakey. Very nice for warmer weather. It was very well received by the audience for whom I cook too.

I have new found respect for Rhubarb and I suspect that it would make a fine chutney as well.

Okay, I confess I couldn't bring myself to use a cake mix, after reading all of the "ingredients", eck. So I used the recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Bread from the Sunset Bread Book, and just left out the lemon zest and poppy seeds, and added a little vanilla.

1 comment:

jen said...

Looks so good, and I love what you did in lieu of the cake mix.