Minnesota Cooking: Rhubarb - Best Darn Delicious
I had to look it up for sure, but they regard rhubarb as a vegetable. My earliest memory of rhubarb is from seventh grade when my friend Linda picked a stalk from their patch and took a bite of it. As I watched her chew, she started to choke on it and as she was vomiting this stringy vegetable, I was seriously contemplating whether it was worthwhile to eat at all.
The flavor of raw rhubarb is sour. If you bite a stalk of it, it has the texture of celery. It is stringy. Very watery.
If you cook rhubarb in a dessert like I tried today, you should cut the stalks crosswise in small chunks. The strings are easier to eat when they are smaller and you won't notice them. As I was making this dessert, I wondered to myself if people have ever thought about the fact that you add water to your dessert, almost unknowingly, when you wash the stalks.
Rhubarb needs to be picked. Well, actually, you need to cut it. Rhubarb grows as a stalk. It has a stalk and a large, green leaf at the end. The dirt end is cut off just above the ground and the leaf is cut off just below the leaf. Do not eat the leaf. The leaf is poisonous. It contains oxalic acid which is very harmful.
If you wish to create garden crafts with your rhubarb leaves, this is the time to do it. You know which crafts I am talking about? The one where you pour cement or plaster of paris into your rhubarb leaf and when it is almost hard, you remove the leaf and the pattern of the leaf remains in your concrete. Then, you place that concrete leaf in your garden as a decorative item.
The bottom of your dessert needs to be baked for 10 to 15 minutes before you start. I opened two sticks of butter and placed them in my huge glass measuring cup and placed it in the microwave. I microwaved that butter until it was almost completed liquefied. It took about a minute.
Then, I added 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cups of powdered sugar and stirred it up. I doubt that you have to get crazy with the measurements - like using a knife to level the powder - I used heavy measurements for mine and it turned out fine.
I stirred it and it is quite sticky. The directions said to press it into a greased 9 x 13 pan. After I cooking sprayed the bottom, I dumped the mixture into the pan. Recipe said to press the mixture down. I used to use my rubber spatula for that job, but today, I grabbed my round hamburger presser and that worked great. Nice and flat.
Bake Number One
The crust needs to be baked until golden brown, which took about 13 minutes in my oven at 350. Mine wasn't an exact color of golden. More of a tannish white.
Good enough. Out of the oven it came.
I cut my rhubarb into small chunks. I sliced the bigger stalks down the middle lengthwise and grouped them together to cut them. Saves time. Caution: I got a little carried away with my demo and almost took off a finger, so be careful. Safety first!
The following needs to be mixed together with a mixer: four eggs, 2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. I'm sure you could stir it by hand with a fork, but a hand mixer is what I used.
Once it is mixed well, you mix it with your rhubarb and coat well. Dump it into the crust pan and make sure the rhubarb pieces are distributed evenly.
Bake Number Two
Yep. Now that you have your rhubarb mixture poured into your pan with the crust, you need to bake it for 45 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.
Then. You cut it and eat it. Some people like to eat it with ice cream or whipped cream. Some people like to eat it plain.
That First Bite
The first bite is the charm. It's been 12 months since my last experience with rhubarb and I have been looking forward to it this month since I saw my first leaf poke through the ground.
The flavor of this dish is like a good custard. Creamy, sour, sweet. Yummy!
Eat Your Vegetables They Say
Well. Okay then. This dish is certain to please.