Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rhubarb for Bakers

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Dear querying fans,

I realize that not all of you can, or are interested in canning, but many of you enjoy baking.  The following recipes call for rhubarb and are enormously delightful.  Both receive rave reviews every time I make them, and the plates are wiped clean!

This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law - the original Mrs. H!  She found it and tweaked it last summer, and it's a family classic now.

Joan's Rhubarb Custard Pie
Best served slightly cooled
2 cups diced rhubarb (when it's out of season, I use two pints, drained, of canned rhubarb)
2 teaspoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cream (2% milk works as well)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks, beaten until thick (save the great whites - see below)

1 8" pie shell, baked and cooled

2 egg whites for meringue (I don't know how you make your meringue but I follow the Cook's Illustrated instructions.  I've included those directions below but feel free to do it however you like.)
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, butter, and sugar, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until rhubarb is soft (keep an eye on it.  You don't want it to stick, but at the same time if you overstir the rhubarb will get tough.)  Beat together cream, cornstarch, and beaten egg yolks.  Slowly pour into hot rhubarb mixture in a thin stream, mixing quickly and thoroughly.  Pour into pie shell while still hot.

Meringue:  Mix cornstarch with water in small saucepan; bring to simmer, whisking occasionally at beginning and more frequently as mixture thickens.  THIS HAPPENS FAST!  When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, remove from heat.  Let cool while beating egg whites (instructions below).
Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix cream of tartar and sugar together.  Beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy.  Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add cornstarch mixture (globs),  1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks.

Spread meringue over pie filling with a spatula, making sure to "glue" it to the crust of the pie so that it does not shrink away during baking.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until meringue is browned.

 Buttermilk-Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce
from Taste of Home 2002 cookbook
buttermilk-rhubarb cake 5.10 (2).JPGBatter:
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (powdered works fine)
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb thawed,
or 2 pints canned rhubarb or rhubarb-strawberry pie filling, drained

Streusel Topping:
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Vanilla Sauce:
½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; beat in egg.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating just until moistened.  Fold in rhubarb.  Pour into greased 9x9” square pan (I made 9x9” cake and 9 muffins). 
I promise you ... it's delicious.
In another bowl, blend topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter.  Bake muffins for approximately 20 minutes, and cake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  (Be gentle when removing cupcakes; the rhubarb makes the cake tend to fall apart deliciously!)
For sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add sugar and evaporated milk.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook and stir for 2 – 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla.  Drizzle hot over cake when you serve.  

Happy baking! 


Mrs H
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  1. You are making me want to go out a buy a rhubarb plant!

  2. They sure give a lot of fruit, and it seems the more you pick the more they grow!

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