Rhapsody In Rhubarb

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We’ve only been back a week, but already I’m baking all the time.  In France I practically never baked, for an alphabet of reasons:  a) there was a bakery right next door, b) there were 14 other bakeries in town just in case we needed them, c) French ingredients behave a bit differently and don’t always work well in American recipes, and d)  and I had a limited supply of baking pans available. 

Shel went to the bakery once or twice a day, for his morning pastry and often a bit later for the day’s bread.  Here on the island the bread situation is downright tragic.  There’s bread that’s quite decent, but it’s delivered from Seattle, and only 5 days a week.  There’s bread at the weekly farmer’s market, for $6 a loaf.  Fresh, cheap, local, delicious bread available anytime, including weekends?  Forget it.  Before we went to France I used to bake a high percentage of our bread, and now I remember why.  I also used to bake piles of breakfast treats for Shel and freeze them, and I guess I’ll have to take that up again as well.  But in the meantime there’s the rhubarb to keep me busy.

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Having a vigorous plant, and being the only rhubarb lover in the household, are pretty much  guarantees that all of my hostess gifts plus most of my own breakfasts these days will involve the sprightly, tangy fruit.  Here’s a recipe  for the best rhubarb compote I’ve ever tasted, probably the only one I’ll make from now on.

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It makes a gorgeously pink, addictively sweet-tart compote, laced with Grand Marnier and orange zest.  I’ve been eating it with Greek yogurt, but if we had any vanilla ice cream I’d likely put them together in a bowl and bliss out.  I’ve even loved it on a rye crisp covered with almond butter, but then, I’m weird like that.

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Then there’s this recipe for rhubarb cobbler.  Let me just say that this very afternoon a ravening horde of otherwise genteel lady writers demolished it in a trice.  And that it was very good.  And that I agree, a higher rhubarb to cake ratio would make it even better.  And that even though we have guests coming from California tomorrow and I need to bake something for them to have for breakfast, I think I’m rhubarbed out for the moment.  Coffeecake, anyone?

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10 Comments on “Rhapsody In Rhubarb”

  1. zuleme Says:

    Olof adores rhubarb and has a plant growing. He keeps eyeing it hopefully but it is young. If I can get some I’ll try the cobbler. We do have strawberries, raspberries and blueberries growing but they won’t be available until later.

  2. Debra Says:

    yum! Hey have you thought of substituting the pineapple in the previous post for Rhubarb? I think you’d need to also have nuts in there for appearance as it won’t be as pretty as the rings of pineapple, but I bet that would be amazing!

  3. Tamara Says:

    What a coincidence. I made and ate that very same compote recipe last night. I left mine a bit chunkier. Mmmmmm.

  4. Jeanne Says:

    Personally, I am a huge fan of Rhubarb Shortcake 🙂

  5. Abra Bennett Says:

    Jeanne – you might want to try this biscuit dough for shortcake, it’s really delicious. It must be the hard boiled egg yolk, but I don’t know why.

  6. Abra Bennett Says:

    Deb, no! I’ll never tinker with this recipe now that I’ve found it again! If you try them both let me know, but for me, it’s pineapple ’til the end.


  7. That compote looks so delicious. My favorite way to eat rhubarb is to eat small stalks like celery. I need to have my own rhubarb patch.


  8. The colour of that rhubarb compote is amazing!!!

  9. Abra Bennett Says:

    When I planted the rhubarb I asked at the nursery for the reddest variety they had. I really don’t like it all greeny-brown.

  10. Lauren Says:

    I’m almost done with the jar you gave me and it is truly fabulous. I love the rye crisp (my fave anyway) and almond butter idea. I will have that for my last bite!


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