Rhubarb Bars

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°You guys. Listen. Seriously. These rhubarb bars from Lara Ferroni are my new favourite thing. Honest. I like ’em even better than my famous lemon bars. I was going to bring these into work one day but then the Pie and I decided to eat them all ourselves. So we totally did. We even ate them for breakfast. And I don’t even feel bad about it.

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Start by chopping up about 400g fresh rhubarb into 1/2″ chunks. My stalks were super skinny and tender so I didn’t bother to peel it but if you’re working with the thicker, tougher stalks, then you might want to consider it. Plop the bits into a bowl with 1/3 cup sugar, give that a stir, and let that macerate for about 10 minutes.

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When the rhubarb bits are starting to get a little juicy, plop them into a medium-sized pot with about 1/4 cup water and cook over low heat until everything is mushy.

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Remove your rhubarb mush from the heat and allow to cool. You can purée the rhubarb at this point but it’s not necessary. Just mush it up a little more so there are no solid pieces. Depending on the colour of your rhubarb, your stewed ‘barb will be any colour from an orange-ish yellow to a deep red. Don’t worry if it’s any variation in between.

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Now we need to make a gorgeous flaky shortbread crust for these. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 9″ x 5″ baking dish with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 4oz room temperature butter, 1 cup flour, and 1/4 cup sugar. Start slow when it’s all powdery like this:

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But then it will very quickly come together into a soft dough.

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Press this into the baking dish and let it rest for 15 minutes.

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Then bake it until it’s nice and golden, about 20 minutes.

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While that’s on the go you can finish up your rhubarb goo by turning it into rhubarb curd. In a bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water or the top of a double boiler, whisk together 6 egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar and let those get nice and warm.

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Add in the stewed rhubarb a little at a time until it’s got the taste and consistency that you like. I ended up adding in all of mine.

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When you’re happy, remove it from the heat and tip in 50g butter, cut into chunks.

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Stir that until smooth – you now have rhubarb curd!

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Pour about half to two-thirds of the curd on top of the baked shortbread crust.

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Save the other curd and chuck it in your fridge to use on toast.

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Shove that back into your oven for about 10 minutes, until the curd has set.

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Let that cool completely before slicing into lots of pieces. I found it was best to keep these in the fridge as the curd likes to travel when it gets warm.

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Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins

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My mother foisted off some of her bumper crop of rhubarb on me so today’s and Monday’s recipes are both going to be rhubarb-related, and I think you’re going to like both of them if you are a fan of the sour stalks of not-fruit-not-vegetable. This recipe comes from Fine Cooking and the original recipe involves a streusel topping but I decided to skip it this time around. You can do what you like. But before you do, position a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat it to 400°F. Grease a muffin tin or line it with cupcake cups.

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Chop up 1 1/2 cups’ worth of fresh rhubarb into 1/4″ pieces. Set that aside for a few minutes.

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In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

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In a small heatsafe bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter and then let that cool slightly.

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In another bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs, 1 cup sour cream (I replaced this with 1 cup buttermilk), and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add in the slightly cooled butter and mix that well.

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Make a well in the centre of your flour mixture and pour in the liquids.

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Stir that with a fork until just combined. Let it be lumpy.

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Tip in your rhubarb and stir that in, again, until just combined.

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Scoop the muffin batter into the prepared tin until each cup is full, then bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the centre muffin comes out clean.

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Let the muffins cool in the pan on a rack for about 5-10 minutes before scooping them out and eating them still warm with a little bit of butter.

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Oh my!

Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble

I feel like this would have turned out better if I hadn’t followed the instructions, but it was pretty good as it was.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and chop up 3 cups young rhubarb.  I like to make it into cubes.

Rhubarb Crumble

Toss the rhubarb with 1 tablespoon flour1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Rhubarb Crumble

I also added in some frozen strawberries, chopped, so I didn’t add in the 1 tablespoon water the recipe called for.  I figured the ice from the strawberries was enough.

Rhubarb Crumble

Chuck those in the bottom of a baking dish.

Rhubarb Crumble

In a small bowl, cream together 6 tablespoons butter6 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar.  Now, if I’d had my druthers, there would have been no creaming.  I would have simply cut them all together until crumbly, like I do with the apple crumble.  You know, so it’s crumbly.  But whatevs.

Rhubarb Crumble

Then stir in 1/2 cup oats.  So now you have this nice buttery dough.  If you’d just cut it in you’d be able to sprinkle it over the whole thing.  But what’s done is done.

Rhubarb Crumble

Smooth that dough over the top of the rhubarb.

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Chuck the whole thing in the oven for 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is crispy.

Rhubarb Crumble
Bubbling fruit …
Rhubarb Crumble
… crispy top.

Allow to cool slightly before serving with ice cream.  SOOOOO GOOD.

Rhubarb Crumble

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

Welcome Freshly Pressed visitors!

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

We’re rather lucky here in Newfoundland.  We don’t get all of the same holidays as some of the other provinces, but in the summer, we get extra — especially if you live in St. John’s, where the first Wednesday in August is a municipal holiday.  Anyway, this year in particular we have lucked in.  Last Monday was our Discovery Day holiday, celebrating the arrival of Europeans on our rocky coast.  Today is the bank holiday for Canada Day, which was yesterday (or Memorial Day, as it is also known here).  And then next Monday is Orangemen’s Day.  So we get three long weekends and three four-day weeks in a row.  You really can’t beat that.

So why not celebrate this summer bounty with a refreshing beverage?

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

When my mother was here (and we were in Portland) she bought me some fresh rhubarb and was going to process it and make something out of it but she ran out of time.  It was starting to look a little woebegone after she left so I figured I should bite the bullet and git ‘er done. And yes, rhubarb can be woebegone. I swear.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

This is a simple syrup made from rhubarb that you can add to any fizzy drink for a sweet and tart kick.  And by simple I mean it’s really freaking easy.

Start with some fresh rhubarb.  Wash it and dice it up.  You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb for this one.

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Grab a small saucepan and toss in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water.  I added in a teaspoon of vanilla as well.

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Bring that to a boil, stirring constantly.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

Chuck in the rhubarb and stir to coat before removing from the heat.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

Cover the rhubarb and leave it to steep (like a tea!) for an hour.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

Strain the steeped rhubarb over a cup or bowl.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

I kept the steamed rhubarb for snacking.  Neither the Pie nor Gren were impressed with it, but that just means more for me.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice to the syrup and stir.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

You can keep the syrup in the fridge for about a week, if you cover it.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

Use about an ounce of the syrup in a small glass with ice, and add soda water or gingerale for a fruity fizz.  This makes about six drinks if you use small glasses, about three if you use big ones.

Pop Goes the Rhubarb

Frozen Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb.  ROOOO-barb.  What a weird word.  It is, apparently, a vegetable.  The more you know.

My childhood equivalent of an ice cream treat was my mother’s tart yet sweet rhubarb fool.  You can even find this recipe in my mother’s cookbook.  We used to grow so much rhubarb in Nova Scotia that it was actually possible to hide among its leaves.  Needless to say, rhubarb in its many forms graced our table often. 

This easy dessert has only three ingredients: 1 cup whipping cream, 2 cups stewed and sweetened rhubarb (plop your raw, chopped rhubarb in a pot with some sugar and bring it to a boil.  Tada, you’re done), and a little bit of granulated sugar.

In a bowl, whip up your whipping cream until it’s as stiff as you can get it.

Try to avoid getting it all over yourself.  I always fail.

Anyway, you have your whipped cream.  Add a bit of sugar so it’s a little bit sweet.  If your stewed rhubarb isn’t that sweet, you might want to add more sugar to the cream.

Add the stewed rhubarb.

Fold it in so it’s all swirly with rhubarby goodness.

Spread evenly in a 9-inch pie pan and chuck it in the freezer.  Give it at least three hours to freeze all the way through.

Take it out of the freezer about 20 minutes before you want to serve it.

Cut it like a pie, garnish it with what you want, and serve it up.  Sweet and tart!