The Goddess loves rhubarb. It’s tart, yet sweet. It’s a vegetable, but we treat it more like a fruit. It’s old-fashioned and delicious. And it makes a fabulous pie, crisp or this lovely little concoction. If you aren’t familiar with Sarah Leah Chase, you really should be. She had a hand in writing “The Silver Palate Cookbook”, but she’s written several in her own right—”Nantucket Open-House Cookbook”, “Cold-Weather Cooking”, as well as “New England Open House Cookbook”. They all have been on my cookbook shelf for many years and the pages are dog-eared. The recipe are just a bit different, they all work and they are delicious. This recipe came from the latter book.
It goes together in a flash…it will probably take you longer to clean and dice the rhubarb, that it will to make the “pudding”. About that. This isn’t a “pudding” in the sense that we usually think of pudding, like a chocolate pudding. The is a combination of cake and gooey, fruity, sweet base, that more or less forms a sauce. Some versions of this, pour the rhubarb mixture over the top of the cake, and then the rhubarb sinks (here). But, I prefer this version. It’s is best served warm and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is a lovely accompaniment. It can be reheated, but I found it to be less “saucy” the next day. Still very good, but then, it really does need the ice cream, or simply pour a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream over it. With this in mind, I made an additional adjustment…more liquid than I used. I left it pretty much alone, but….okay, no…I changed it quite a bit Her recipe doesn’t call for any leavening, and I was concerned that it might be glumpy, so I added a bit of leavening. And to the rhubarb, I added some strawberry flavored gelatin powder, purely for flavor, but it does add some additional sweetness, too, as well as water.
Rhubarb Pudding (Cake)
This is a perfect spring dessert and can be prepared in a flash.
- 3 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb (see NOTE)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoons strawberry flavored gelatin
- Large pinch kosher salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A couple of drops almond extract (optional)
Butter a deep 9-1/2-inch glass pie plate; set aside. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Place rhubarb in large bowl. Add the cornstarch, brown sugar, white sugar, orange zest, pinch of salt, orange juice and water. Stir until the cornstarch is completely combined with the liquid and all the ingredients are evenly distributed (see NOTE). Pour into the prepared pie plate; set aside. (I mixed everything in the buttered pie plate; it worked well.)
Place the eggs in a medium-sized bowl and using a wire whisk, beat them up well, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the melted butter, the remaining sugar, sour cream and extracts. The mixture should be evenly blended and smooth. Combine the flour and baking powder; gradually stir in, until completely incorporated, but don’t over-mix. It’s a relatively stiff batter. Spread evenly, over the rhubarb. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until cake springs back when gently pressed. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving. But, do serve it warm. It’s a wonderful brunch cake, or just a comforting, yet simple dessert.
NOTE: If you let the rhubarb mixture sit for a period of time, the mixture will become juicier. If you wish, sprinkle the top with a combination of 1 tablespoons white sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon, but omit if you want a purer flavor. You may substitute 1 cup sliced strawberries for 1 cup of the rhubarb. Frozen rhubarb works very well; do not thaw before using and increase the cornstarch by about 1/3 teaspoon.
Rhubarb Pudding (Cake) Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.
Original recipe from “New England Open House“, by Sarah Leah Chase and the Internet