I admit. I love the sensation of sour flavors, especially when they are balanced with sweetness. Rhubarb Cobbler remains one of my favorite simple desserts ever, its sour flavor profile tamed with sugar and topped with a simple biscuit-like crown. I like it neat, just out of the oven when it’s just cool enough to eat, or lukewarm, served with vanilla ice cream.
Rhubarb is generally available from April to July. It freezes well, so while I consider this cobbler to be one of the benchmarks of spring, frozen rhubarb can be used year-round.
Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it is most often used as a fruit in pies and cobblers, crumbs and cakes.
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen rhubarb stems, thawed if using frozen, cut into 1-inch pieces, about 6 cups; see chef’s notes
Butter for greasing pan
1 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon, divided use
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup buttermilk (shake container before measuring)
Before serving: Vanilla ice cream
Chef’s Notes: Only the rhubarb stems are edible. The leaves are considered poisonous due to their high concentration of oxalic acid.
1. Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 425 degrees. Generously butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish or 10-inch pie plate. Place the rhubarb pieces in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Use a fork or your hands to mix and blend the fruit, sugar and flour. Spread it evenly. Bake for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup flour, baking soda, and baking soda; swirl for 10 seconds or so to combine. Add pieces of cold butter; pulse to make coarse crumbs. With the engine running, add buttermilk through the filler opening and process until a soft dough is formed, about 6 seconds.
3. Remove the fruit from the oven and drop the dough from a spoon onto the hot fruit to make 6 mounds. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.
Source: “Short and Sweet” by Melanie Barnard (Houghton Mifflin, $25)
Cooking question? Please contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected]