Strawberries and rhubarb a tasty traditional treat

We can never have too many ways to enjoy strawberries. And pairing them with rhubarb is a traditional match. Did you know that there are an average of 200 seeds on every strawberry. The seeds can grow into a new plant but mostly they propagate by runners. Strawberries are considered members of the rose family.

Don’t rinse cut strawberries under water until you are ready to eat them. It speeds up spoilage.

Strawberries can be pickled especially when still green or unripe.

Strawberries can reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. They are abundant in vitamins C, B6, K and fibre, folic acid, potassium and amino acids. And they are low in calories.

Strawberries are grown in every single Canadian province and U.S. state. There is a museum in Belgium dedicated to strawberries. In the gift shop at Le Musee de Fraise you can buy everything from strawberry jam to strawberry beer.

Strawberry Shortcake

Shortcake:

  • 2 hard-boiled egg yolks, cooled
  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour325 mL
  • 3 tbsp. semolina flour or fine-grind cornmeal45 mL
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder15 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt1 mL
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar45 mL
  • 6 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces90 mL

Topping:

  • 2/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream, divided 150 ml/30 mL
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 lb. strawberries,hulled, halved,quartered if large 750 g
  • 1/4 c. sugar 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. finely gratedlemon zest 5 mL
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, divided 10 mL
  • 1 c. heavy cream 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar 30 mL
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

To make shortcakes pulse egg yolks, both flours, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until only pea-size pieces remain. Drizzle in 2/3 cup (150 mL) cream, then pulse 2–3 times to barely incorporate. Transfer dough to a work surface and gently knead several times just to bring it together and work in any dry spots.
Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup (60 mL) measure, make 6 balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do not flatten. Cover and chill until cold, 20–25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Brush tops of shortcakes with remaining 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until golden and sides are firm to the touch, 28–30 minutes. Let cool.
Shortcakes can be baked 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Reheat before serving.

Toss strawberries, sugar, lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl to combine. Transfer half of strawberries to a large saucepan and add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water. Let remaining strawberries macerate while you bring strawberries in saucepan to a gentle simmer over medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed to keep at a low simmer, until strawberries are starting to break down and become jammy and liquid is syrupy, 12–18 minutes. Let cool, then stir in 1 teaspoon (5 mL) lemon juice. Stir remaining 1 teaspoon (5 mL) lemon juice into macerated strawberries.
Combine heavy cream, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Reserve pod for another use. Beat cream until soft peaks form.
Split shortcakes using a serrated knife and divide strawberry compote, macerated strawberries and whipped cream among bottoms. Close with shortcake tops. Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • 4 c. sliced rhubarb 1 L
  • 3 1/2 c. hulled and quartered strawberries 875 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar 310 mL
  • 1/4 c. tapioca starch 60 mL
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, or 1 tbsp. light milk
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling
  • pastry for double crust pie

Combine rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl. When you’re ready to roll out pastry and assemble pie, stir sugar, tapioca starch and zest into fruit. Let stand, stirring occasionally, for 15 min, so that berries and rhubarb release juices.
Place rack in lowest position in oven. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Roll pastry for the bottom crust, place in dish and trim to fit.
Spread filling evenly into piecrust. Moisten edge of bottom crust with water. Fit top crust over the filling and trim edges, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) overhang. Fold top edge of pastry under bottom edge. Crimp edges using your index finger and thumb. Or press around edges using the tines of a fork.
Lightly brush top crust with egg. Cut small slits or a round hole in top crust for steam to escape. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet.
Bake on bottom rack for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F (180 C). Continue baking until crust is golden and fruit is bubbling, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool completely on a rack, at least 2 hours, before slicing.

Rhubarb Muffins

  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 560 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder 12 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt ~2 mL
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk 175 mL
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. hot water 60 mL
  • 2 tsp. vanilla 10 mL
  • 2 1/2 c. chopped rhubarb, cut into 1/2-in. pieces, divided 625 mL
  • 1 tbsp. coarse sugar 15 mL

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, butter, hot water and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir into flour mixture until just combined. Stir in 2 cups (500 mL) of the rhubarb.
Divide batter among the muffin cups. Toss remaining rhubarb with coarse sugar. Top each muffin with the rhubarb mixture.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into centre of a muffin comes out clean, 18 min to 20 min. Transfer muffins to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rhubarb Custard Bars

Plan to eat these bars up within two days. You can cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) square pan.

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour 310 mL
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. cool butter 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL

Topping:

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar 375 mL
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tbsp. all-purpose flour 75 mL
  • 2 tsp. vanilla 10 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream 60 mL
  • 4 to 5 c. thinly sliced fresh rhubarb 1-1.25 L

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9” x 13” (22 x 33 cm) metal or glass pan.
Using a large bowl and a pastry blender cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Butter should be completely incorporated. You can use a food processor for this step.
Press crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press a tiny bit up the sides of the pan as well. Place pan on lower rack of oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and reduce oven heat to 350 F (180 C).
While the crust is baking, make the topping. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla, salt and whipping cream, whisking well to eliminate lumps. Stir in the rhubarb. When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the topping over it. Do not cool the crust. Return to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until custard no longer jiggles and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.

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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