Rhubarb

I harvested my rhubarb yesterday.  How better to start the first day of summer than to go out into the cool morning  air, knife in hand, and cut the stalks of what is sometimes called the “pie plant”.  My rhubarb doesn’t grow in one nice large clump.  There’s three separate small patches where it grows and I gather all of it…and what I collect will be enough for one recipe. 

Freshly Picked Rhubarb

Freshly Picked Rhubarb

One recipe…  Obviously the pressure was on to choose the perfect recipe as it is the only recipe I will make for an entire year using my own rhubarb.

I have saved many rhubarb recipes over the years.  Most of them pair rhubarb with strawberries.  So I searched all my hand clipped recipes, and cookbooks and the internet looking for “the” recipe for this year.  No easy task. 

I found one recipe for a trifle which I had made several years ago when I had company coming for dinner.  It was a beautiful presentation in the trifle bowl that I hardly ever use.  And it was delicious. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Trifle

1/2 pound rhubarb (2 cups), cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 packages vanilla pudding (not instant) 4 serving size each
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 package frozen pound cake loaf (16 ounce) thawed
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 cup medium sized whole strawberries
Shredded orange peel

Mix rhubarb, sugar and orange juice in 2 qt. saucepan.  Heat to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat to low.  Cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender and mixture starts to thicken slightly.  Cool 30 minutes.  Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.  Stir in sliced strawberries.

While rhubarb mixture is cooling, mix pudding mix and milk in 2 qt. saucepan.  Cook over medium heat 6 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.  Cool 15 minutes.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled.  Fold in whipped topping.

Cut pound cake horizontally in half.  Spread marmalade over bottom half.  Top with other half.  Cut into 18 slices.  Arrange 9 slices in bottom and slightly up sides of a trifle or serving bowl.

Spoon half of the rhubarb mixture over cake; top with half of the pudding.  Repeat layers with remaining cake, rhubarb mixture and pudding.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled. 

Arrange whole strawberries on top and garnish with shredded orange peel.  Store covered in refrigerator.  Serves 12. 

I think when I made this I sprinkled a little Grand Marnier, Cointreau or other orange liqueur on top of the cake layers.  If I didn’t, I should have.

I took a look at the weekly sales flyers for the local supermarkets to see if anyone was having a sale on strawberries.  The lowest price was $2.50 a pound.  Maybe I could substitute some other fruit for the strawberries or maybe I could just make something with only rhubarb.

I had saved a recipe for rhubarb cream pie.  It had no strawberries…and it had no cream either.  It always intrigued me but I had never tried it.   When you have only so much rhubarb you are very particular in your choice of how to use it,  And I decided against it this year as well.

Rhubarb Cream Pie

3 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
piecrust for 2 crust pie

Blend sugar, flour, nutmeg and butter; add the two beaten eggs.  Pour mixture over rhubarb in a 9 inch pastry shell.  Top with other crust and bake 40 to 45 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

I saw that one store was having a sale on peaches…79 cents a pound.  Rhubarb and peaches.  That sounded like a definite possibility!  As I mulled this over, I continued to search through my recipes.

Peaches and Rhubarb

Peaches and Rhubarb

The following sounded very good but it did have strawberries.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble With Irish Whiskey Butter

For the Irish Whiskey Butter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup Irish whiskey

For the Crumble:
5 cups quartered strawberries
3 cups sliced rhubarb, about 1/3 inch thick (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

To make the Irish whiskey butter, place the butter in a mixing bowl and whip until fluffy.  Gradually add confectioners’ sugar and then slowly add the Irish whiskey until combined.  The mixture might separate at first but if you continue shipping, it will come together.   Topping may be served room temperature or chilled.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 7 by 11 inch baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Place strawberry mixture in prepared baking dish.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, oats, light brown sugar and salt, stirring to combine; add diced butter to the flour mixture.  Using your fingers, work the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Place evenly on top of the strawberry mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the top brown.

Serve warm with a spoonful of the Irish Whiskey butter.

I had come across a strawberry rhubarb crisp recipe which was accompanied by homemade Buttermilk ice cream.  Buttermilk ice cream…doesn’t that sound heavenly?  It would work well with this crumble recipe, I thought.  Too bad I don’t have an ice cream maker.  Actually, good thing I don’t have an ice cream maker!

This crumble had oatmeal in it and that reminded me of my old tried and true oatmeal crust pie recipe. (Recipe in earlier post)  I usually make it with apples and cranberries but why not peaches and rhubarb? It is good for desert, but it works very well for breakfast or lunch too! 

Sliced Peaches With Rhubarb Tossed With Lemon and Sugar

Sliced Peaches With Rhubarb Tossed With Lemon and Sugar

So that was it, decision made.  I just tossed the sliced peaches and rhubarb with sugar, lemon juice, flour and a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Peach Rhubarb Oatmeal Crust Pie

Peach Rhubarb Oatmeal Crust Pie

I’ll experiment with a new recipe next year.

 

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