Saturday, June 7, 2008

rhubarb rapture

when i was a kid, i always wanted the muffins with strawberries and red celery. rhubarb is really fascinating and beautiful, and has a name that is fun to say. plus, other people think it's weird, so you never have to share.

rhubarb came to the US around 1800, but records of rhubarb use date back to 2700 BC in China where it was cultivated for medicinal purposes. the name of the genus, rheum, is said to be derived from rha, the ancient name of the volga, on whose banks the plants grow. others derive the name from the greek rheo ('to flow'), in allusion to the purgative properties of the root. the greek discorides spoke of a root known as "rha" or "rheon". whatever the origin, it is an excellent addition to pies, muffins, breads, streusel, etc, etc.

saw some delicious looking rhubarb and was inspired to bake. following are some photos and a yummy recipe.

heat oven to 350. combine 1 cup flour and 1/3 cup powdered sugar. using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup butter until crumbly. press in bottom of ungreased 9-inch square pan and bake for 15 minutes. while that's baking, combine 1 1/4 sups sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs slightly beaten, and 3 cups sliced rhubarb. pour the filling over crust. to make topping, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. cut in 1/3 cup butter until crumbly. sprinkle over the filling. bake an additional 45-55 minutes or until topping is golden brown and rhubarb is tender.

i won't tell you how much fat there is per serving. i ate mine with haagen dazs honey vanilla.

for more rhubarb lore, check out the rhubarb compendium or the rhubarbs article on (one of my favorite websites).

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