I am a rhubarb fanatic. I’ll eat it straight from the bush, in a pie, in a cocktail, however I can. Spring rhubarb is such a striking vegetable– those ruby red stalks erupting from the ground topped with their poisonous green foliage (don’t eat those!). Finding these stalks at the farmers market is one of my favorite signs of spring.
During this time of year, I am buying as much spring rhubarb as my freezer can handle. I love being able to take some out during the year to mix into a rich berry crisp to add a subtle tang. In addition, rhubarb, despite its occasionally fibrous stalk texture, easily melts into a delicious sauce in 10 minutes flat. Put this on some ice cream or pound cake for a delightful, piquant dessert. It’s also really great a top oatmeal or yogurt in the morning.
Plus, you may recall my previous blog about shrubs! This week, I experimented in making a rhubarb shrub. In contrast to my previous shrubs, I used a heated method that produced a rich, red rhubarb mixer. I particularly enjoy this shrub over ice with sparkling water, though it’s also really delicious mixed with tonic, tequila (or gin), and lime juice.
For a quick dinner party dessert, I have been making this rhubarb cake on repeat (3 times in one week). It’s easy to prep and always ends up with a beautiful result.
Rhubarb Custard Cake
Recipe Courtesy of Bon Appetit
4 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter, cooled, 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
2 tsp lemon juice
13 oz. rhubarb stalks, halved lengthwise if thick
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour 9inch springform 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 melted butter, sour cream, rum, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Whisk butter mixture into egg mixture just to combine. Add dry ingredients and fold in until batter is smooth; scrape into prepared pan. Chill 10 minutes to let batter set.
Arrange rhubarb over batter however you like, trimming as needed. Don’t press fruit into batter—just place over top and let it rest on the surface. 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.
Ruby Rhubarb Shrub
Recipe Courtesy of Serious Eats
2 pounds rhubarb, chopped 1/4 inch thick
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
Combine the rhubarb, white wine vinegar, and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring as the rhubarb begins to break down.
When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until the rhubarb is completely broken down into strands, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb (from about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Transfer rhubarb mixture to bowl. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)