Everything’s coming up rhubarb

Fresh picked rhubarb dipped in sugar was a real treat in my childhood. Even with its tartness, it was enjoyed on a warm spring day after a long winter of eating mostly frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. The early shoots are tender but wilt quickly and need to be stored in the fridge and eaten within days. Keep the leaves on until you’re ready to eat to keep it fresh.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Loaf

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. brown sugar 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 2 c. rhubarb, chopped 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. pecans, chopped 125 mL
  • 1 c. icing sugar 250 mL
  • 4 to 5 tsp. lemon juice 20-25 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Lightly spray the bottom of an eight by four inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan.
Stir flour with baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Whisk egg with brown sugar, buttermilk, oil and vanilla in large bowl, then stir in flour mixture. Add rhubarb and pecans and stir until combined. Scrape batter into prepared baking pan. Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan.
Stir icing sugar with lemon juice in a small bowl, adding juice one teaspoon (5 mL) at a time until it is thick and smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm loaf, letting it run down the sides.

Rhubarb Hand Pies

Buttery Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 375 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces(1.2 cm) 125 mL

Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter. Pulse until it is the texture of coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup (60 mL) ice water. Pulse, adding more water if dry, until dough comes together in clumps.
Form into a flattened square, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm, about two hours. Makes a single pie crust or eight hand pies.
When ready to use, roll out to 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness. Cut into five inch (12.5 cm) circles.
Crust can be made three days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before rolling out. Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c. rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (1.5 cm) 375 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 22 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse sugar 7 mL
  • 1 egg

Toss rhubarb, sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Scoop two heaping tablespoons (30 mL) of rhubarb mixture onto centre of each round. Whisk egg and one teaspoon (5 mL) water in a bowl and brush edges of rounds. Fold dough over the filling to form a half-circle, pressing to seal. Crimp edges with a fork and prick the tops with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Bake at 375 F (190 C) for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

French Rhubarb Tart

  • 2 c. thin rhubarb, chopped 500 mL
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed and reserved
  • 2 tbsp. sugar 30 mL
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

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Pastry:

  • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour 310 mL
  • 9 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter 135 mL
  • 1/2 c. icing sugar 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. ground almonds 60 mL
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL

Creme patisserie:

  • 1 c. whole milk 250 mL
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. sugar 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour 15 mL
  • 1/2 c. whipping cream 125 mL

Cut rhubarb into one inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Put the vanilla pod, sugar, lemon juice and enough water to cover the rhubarb in a wide pan or shallow casserole set over a medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the rhubarb and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool in the syrup, preferably overnight or for at least one hour so rhubarb will be cooked and hold its shape.
To make the pastry, put the flour, almonds, sugar and butter in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. While the motor is running, add the egg yolk. Dribble in about two tablespoons (15-30 mL) cold water, if necessary, to bring it together. Dump onto a work surface and knead briefly to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
While pastry chills, make creme patisserie. Heat milk and reserved vanilla seeds in a pan over a medium heat until nearly boiling. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and flours together until pale. Continue whisking while you pour the hot milk over the egg mixture. Strain the liquid back into the pan through a sieve.
Set over a medium-low heat and stir continuously until mixture has a thick custard consistency. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and chill for at least one hour or up to two days.
Remove pastry from fridge. If it is a little hard, leave it at room temperature to soften for 10 minutes. Press into six or eight individual tart tins, preferably the kind that has a removable bottom. Chill 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Remove the pastry from the fridge. Bake for 20 minutes, or until light golden. Cool in the tin.
Strain rhubarb from the syrup and set aside. Return the syrup to the stovetop and boil until thick and sticky. Leave to cool slightly. To finish the creme patisserie, whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold this into the chilled mixture. This is easier if you start by beating in a little cream and then folding in the remainder.
Remove the pastry from the tin and put on a plate. Fill with the creme patisserie and smooth over the surface. Carefully top with the rhubarb. Drizzle with the rhubarb syrup. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
This tart will keep for three days in the fridge, but it is best eaten on the day it is made.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.


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