That first picking of the season is a tart but tasty moment.
It is seldom that the rhubarb plant does not survive whatever form of winter that nature provides. It seems relentless in facing a new spring and if tended properly through summer and fall, will delight rhubarb lovers with several rounds of new fruit — even though it is actually a vegetable that becomes a fruit when tucked between layers of pastry or hidden under a crumbled sugar and flour topping.
This week’s rhubarb recipes come from A World of Baking Cookbook, slightly modified to personal taste.
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pastry for 2-crust, 9 inch pie
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. grated orange rind
4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsps. butter
Combine sugar, flour and orange rind. Stir through the rhubarb. Turn into the pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Arrange top crust over filling and flute and seal edges. Cut vents in the top. Sprinkle lightly with more sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until juice is bubbly and crust is golden.
Variations: Make a rhubarb-strawberry filling by using 2 cups rhubarb and 2 cups fresh strawberries. Make a rhubarb-pineapple pie by using 3 cups rhubarb and 1 cup drained, crushed or chunk pineapple. Make a rhubarb-orange filling by using 3 cups rhubarb and an 11 oz. can mandarin orange slices, drained. To make a rhubarb custard pie, use only 2 tbsps. flour and add 3 large beaten eggs to the filling.
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2 cups sifted flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups diced rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tbsps. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
Combine rhubarb and sugar then set aside.
Make biscuits by sifting flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork. Add the eggs and enough milk to make a dough that holds together and can be kneaded. Place dough on a floured board and knead gently about 10 times. Pat out the dough to desired thickness. Brush with melted butter and spread with rhubarb mixture.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and orange rind. Beginning with the wide edge, roll up carefully like a jelly roll. Pinch edges to seal. Cut into 1/2 inch slices.
Pour the 1/4 cup melted butter into a square pan and sprinkle in the brown sugar. Place rolls, cut side down, in the butter.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Joyce Walter can be reached at email@example.com