Rhubarb is one of my favorite fruits. To be accurate, I should say that rhubarb is one of my favorite vegetables. It is a member of the sorrel family, which accounts for its sharp bitter flavor. We have rhubarb growing in the garden, but it won't be ready for harvest until next spring. If you want to read more about growing rhubarb in Houston, click here. Luckily, rhubarb is just showing up at the grocery stores. If you can't find fresh rhubarb, or it's priced out of reach, frozen rhubarb (either your own or store-bought) works well too. Fresh strawberries are beautiful right now, but frozen strawberries also work in this recipe.
The definition of a weeknight baking project is one that works with what's available, is quick to assemble, and doesn't make a mess. This recipe qualifies because it is so adaptable, it's quick to make (maybe 10 minutes to prep before it goes into the oven), and it doesn't create lots of dirty stuff that needs to be washed.
The combination of rhubarb and strawberry creates a fruity version of sweet tart candies. You should adjust the sugar in my recipe based on your tolerance for tartness. I make ours fairly sweet to try to encourage the kids to eat their fruit (although good luck right now competing with all their Halloween candy), but you could easily eliminate 1/8 cup of sugar or more if you prefer tart over sweet. The topping on this cobbler is a sublime buttery biscuit that soaks up the fruit juices inside. If I were being honest, I would tell you that the topping is the best part of the cobbler, but then I would lose my street cred as a devoted vegetable gardener. So the official line is that the fruit makes this dessert.
Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler
1 1/4 - 1/12 lbs rhubarb (depending on how tart you like it).
cut into slices about 1/2" thick
1 pint fresh strawberries (or 2 cups frozen)
hulled and quartered
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs AP flour (we use unbleached)
zest of 1/4 of small orange
(a little goes a long way here or your cobbler
will taste like orange juice)
1 1/2 cup AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs baking powder
2 Tbs sugar (plus more to sprinkle on top)
4 Tbs unsalted butter, cubed and kept cold
1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 for convection oven, or 375 for regular oven.
- Not to insult anyone's intelligence, but if you're using frozen fruit, defrost and drain it first. I've tried to rush things and use semi-frozen fruit thinking it would defrost in the oven, but it doesn't cook quickly enough so your top ends up finished before your fruit is completely cooked. Also, if you forgot to pick up an orange (it happens), this recipe is fine without the orange zest.
- Combine all the filling ingredients, mix well, and put into 8" pyrex baking dish. Or, use individual ramekins to make individual cobblers (these are perfect for dinner parties if you're so inclined).
- Make topping. First, combine all dry ingredients. Then cut in the butter to resemble coarse meal. I use my fingers for this by rubbing the butter/flour mixture between my thumb and forefinger until the butter pieces are the size of a pea (some can be bigger than that, and some a bit smaller). You don't want the texture to be too smooth or the topping will lose its buttery richness. You can also use a pastry cutter, food processor or forks to do this, but why create one more dirty thing to wash?
- Add cream and mix until uniformly moist. Spoon out on top of filling. It should be plopped on in clumps. You don't want a perfectly smooth topping. Sprinkle with granulated sugar for some sparkle.
- Bake in oven until top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. If you used a glass pyrex, you will also see the fruit bubbling.
- Serve warm topped with clotted cream, whipped cream or ice cream.
- Leftovers refrigerate and re-heat well.
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