Rhubarb. Probably one of the least talked about vegetables. And yes, it actually is a vegetable. Originating from China, where it was used for medicinal purposes, rhubarb looks like pink/red celery and tastes…..not like celery at all! It’s many times thought of as a fruit because it is typically found mixed IN fruit in pies, cakes, or jams. It has a mild, sweet, tart flavor and needs sugar to make it sing. Strawberries are the most common pairing for rhubarb because together they have the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Rhubarb is in fact wonderful paired with most berries and can be made into a savory condiment like barbecue sauce or ketchup.
With the Rhubarb season only lasting a few short weeks, it is usually found fresh only in April and May. Look for sturdy stalks that are about 1 to 2 inches in diameter and are blemish free. The leaves are usually removed before they hit the market shelves due to the fact that they contain a highly toxic substance known as oxalic acid. So, should you find some beautiful stalks topped with a beautiful crown of leaves…give them babies a hair cut!
This recipe was in the latest addition of Bon Appetit Magazine, The Travel Issue 2018 and featured in the section “THE SEASON.” It can also be found online @ https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/rhubarb-custard-cake. The recipe below is written verbatim from the website and credited to Bon Appetit Magazine.
4 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter, plus more room-temperature for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1½ cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. dark rum
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
13 oz. rhubarb stalks
A 9″-diameter springform pan
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour pan. Whisk baking powder, salt, and 1 cup all-purpose flour in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, egg yolk, and 1½ cups sugar in a large bowl until very pale and thick, about 1 minute. Whisk in melted butter, sour cream, rum, and lemon zest. Add dry ingredients and fold in until batter is smooth; scrape into prepared pan.
Arrange rhubarb over batter however you like, trimming as needed. Sprinkle with more sugar and bake until cake is golden on top and browned around the sides, 45–55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. Slide a knife around sides of cake to loosen and unmold. Slide directly onto rack and let cool completely.
I followed the directions to a “T” making sure to whisk the eggs, yolk, and sugar until pale as described above. This ensures that air is being incorporated into the batter. Folding in the flour rather than stirring also keeps the batter from losing all that air magic you whisked in earlier. Unlike the pics in the magazine I cut my rhubarb on the bias and made a pretty pattern on the top of the cake. I went to the website and read the reviews as well today and saw that many people had an issue with the rhubard kind of sinking into the cake as did I. I cooked mine for 5 minutes longer (all ovens vary) and did the toothpick test on him as well before pulling from the oven. The true test of when he is done is really the golden color it takes on when it is finished baking.
I would describe the texture as: if a sugar cookie and a pound cake had a baby. It was super moist and slightly tart. The magazine described the inside of the cake as gooey in a good way like a chewy macaroon. I found it to just be a little more dense in the center and deliciously moist.I even had a slice for breakfast the next day with my cup of joe! Would I make this cake again? Yes, yes, and yaaaaaaaaas!
I found this cool little video on youtube from a fellow blogger that gives you 5 different rhubarb ideas and she sums it up in like 3 minutes! Very efficient! Her links to the recipes are provided in the description and there’s even one for rhubarb bbq sauce!
What’s been your experience with rhubarb? Friend or foe? Or maybe you’ve never tried it?