Archives for posts with tag: rhubarb

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It was Easter. It was (is) Pesach. It was a super moon.

As tradition dictates, I spent the Sunday that is Easter with my grandmother on Long Island. I’ve written a post I think each year about this and the various shenanigans we get into. For instance there was this retro easter cake debacle I wrote about four (!) years ago.

Earlier this week I was flipping through the latest Bon App and came across a recipe for a very springy Rhubarb Cake (p. 66 of the April 2015 version if you have the hard copy). That’s it! Perfect, I thought. I’d make that for my grandmother, a woman who loves tart rhubarb baked into pies and cakes.

But of course neither the Union Square Greenmarket nor the Park Slope Food Coop is carrying rhubarb yet. Duh. It’s the first week of April. I think it may be another two weeks away. I picked up the organic blueberries on sale at the coop for $2.99 a pint in a pinch, hoping it would be an adequate substitution.

The blueberry was a hit. I’d still like to try this in a few weeks with the season’s rhubarb but I will definitely make this version again.

P.S. – I reduced the sugar quotient from the original recipe because blueberries don’t need to be offset the way rhubarb does. I also substituted 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour with spelt flour, because, well, regular flour is a little boring, and spelt flour has a subtle depth or nutty flavor I like.

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Blueberry Almond Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 8

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter*
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 pints blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (would be fine to use all-purpose flour only, 1 1/4 cup)
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you can’t find vanilla beans)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a tart pan (or small rectangular baking dish) and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, pulse the flours, almonds, baking powder, and salt until the almonds are finely ground.

Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Scrape the little black seeds from the vanilla bean and reserve the pod for another use like making vanilla-scented sugar. Using your electric mixer on high speed, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Don’t cheat. Add the eggs one at a time to fully incorporated and then some, about another 3 or 4 minutes.

Reducing the speed to low, add the dry ingredients, and then the yogurt. Fold in half of the blueberries (one pint) and pour into the pan. Arrange the remaining blueberries on top.

If using a tart pan place this on a baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape) and bake for approximately one hour, or until the cake is cooked through (comes clean with a toothpick) and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

*A note on butter: the quality of butter matters here. I use Kerrygold because it’s made with milk from grassfed cows and is the same price and sometimes cheaper than Kate’s butter from Maine.

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Rhubarb rhubarb everywhere. It is a sure sign of spring turning into summer. It means, here in the northeast U.S., peak asparagus has passed, strawberries are not far behind, and early summer lettuces are at their best. And I have a newly potted basil plant on my fire escape next to sweat peas that are appearing as thin tall shoots.

This week, rhubarb could be found at every farmer’s market around New York City, just asking to be brought home and stewed, baked, or turned into jam.

Two Junes ago I made a strawberry rhubarb pie and last year it was a rhubarb crumb cake. This year I was thinking more along the lines of caramelizing the stalks and pairing with ginger. I managed the former but forgot all about the latter. (I blame that on the fact I was baking while trying to watch the men’s French Open final.) I ended up with an upside-down cake—you melt butter and sugar in a cast-iron skillet then add the rhubarb, caramelizing the pieces and adding a flour mixture on top.

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In other food-related news this week, I was lucky to dine at Brooklyn’s Mile End with my friend Daniela, where chef Eli Sussman (2014 James Beard nominee) treated us royally. Two highlights for me were the roasted sunchoke salad with curry yogurt and the cauliflower tabbouleh. On Friday I was at a meeting on Elizabeth Street and found myself face to face with the new Black Seed Bagels. Hand rolled, wood fired, best bagel I’ve had in years. Last night, after a long fun day at Rockaway Beach, I had the pleasure of eating at Greenpoint’s Selamat Pagi, serving food inspired by Bali. It’s from the team behind the delicious Van Leeuwen ice cream and Chef Jason Greenberg; as my friends said, how nice to eat something other than “new American.” Oh, and, when in Greenpoint…you must stop at Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop. We got the ice cream sandwich between chocolate donut halves. What a day.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
adapted from Kenzi Wilbur, Food52

3/4 c sugar plus scant 1/2 c
4 tbsp unsalted butter plus 1 stick and 5 tbsp cut into small cubes and chilled
Zest of one lemon
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c whole milk
2 eggs

Heat the oven to 375F. Melt 3/4 c sugar, 4 tbsp butter, the lemon zest and juice, vanilla, and 1/4 tsp salt in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter and sugar have melted add the rhubarb, stirring occasionally. It will take between 5 and 10 minutes for the rhubarb to cook through, depending on their size.*

In the meantime, combine the remaining sugar and salt, plus flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add remaining butter, and using your fingers, rub into flour mixture to form coarse pea-size pieces. Add the milk and eggs and stir until a sticky dough forms. (You may need an extra splash of milk for the dough to stick together.)

Spread the dough over the warm rhubarb mixture, trying to cover the entire surface. Bake on a baking sheet until the cake is golden and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and let the cake rest for about 10 minutes. Now very carefully, place a large flat plate underneath the skillet and invert deftly. If any of the rhubarb has stuck to the skillet just scrape off and you can place back on the cake. This cake would be yummy served with unsweetened whipped cream, vanilla or ginger ice cream, or just plain of course.

*It is at this point that I intended to add about 1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh ginger! I totally forgot. You could also add about 1/4 tsp dried ginger to the flour mixture.

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Rhubarb is one of my favorite fleeting vegetables of spring—in season in New York from roughly the end of May to mid- (or sometimes late-) June, it briefly crosses over with strawberry season, inspiring countless james, pies, and cobblers (my post last year for a strawberry-rhubarb pie). Well, it’s not quite strawberry season yet but the rhubarb was out yesterday in all its pink-red-and-green glory. What’s a girl to make?

It seemed each person I passed as I approached the farmer’s market was toting a bagful of just-picked rhubarb. (I should’ve asked what they were planning to make!) I was cruising Smitten Kitchen blog for ideas and came across a recipe for a rhubarb “snacking” cake: a layer of cake batter under a layer of rhubarb under a layer of crumb. Moist and not too sweet. And no strawberries required.

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Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I tweaked Deb’s recipe by reducing the sugar; substituting greek yogurt for sour cream; and reducing the flour in the crumb. And I had leftovers of the rhubarb mixture so I sautéed for five to ten minutes and plan to use it on top of plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Note: I found the cake needed the full sixty minutes for the crumb on top to brown.

Cake
1 1/4 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 c sugar, divided in 2
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 c plain greek yogurt

Crumb
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan with butter. (Optional: you can line the pan with parchment paper.) Stir together the rhubarb, lemon juice, and 1/2 c sugar and set aside. Beat the butter, remaining sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger together. Add half of this mixture to the batter, just until combined. Continue, adding half the yogurt, the second half of the flour mixture, and the remaining yogurt, mixing between each addition until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the batter in a single layer.

To make the crumb: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon together, then stir in the melted butter until crumb-size pieces form. Spread evenly over the rhubarb layer. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes and the crumb is golden on top. Cool completely.

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