Rhubarb is only available for a short while each spring and summer – and than it is gone until the next year. Since it will be gone all too soon, I always make numerous rhubarb dishes and desserts while it’s in season. Which brings up a question. When does rhubarb season end? I grew up hearing that it ended on the 4th of July – and that the rhubarb plants needed the remainder of the season to recharge so that they’d survive the winter. I continue to follow this rule of thumb – though always want to push the limits and continue eating rhubarb just a little longer.
Before rhubarb season ends, I decided to make another hundred-year-old rhubarb recipe. This time I made Rhubarb Custard Pie. The pie was topped with meringue and the rhubarb custard had just the right amount of tartness.
Here’s the original recipe:
The old recipe states that if you don’t have fresh rhubarb, canned could be used. I’ve never seen canned rhubarb, but am guessing that frozen rhubarb could be used – though didn’t provide directions for using frozen rhubarb since the amount of sugar in the recipe would need to be reduced if the rhubarb had been frozen with sugar – and the needed reduction in sugar would probably vary depending upon the sweetness of the frozen rhubarb.
Rinse diced rhubarb and drain. Combine rhubarb (with a small amount of water clinging to the rhubarb) and 3/4 of sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat while occasionally stirring, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and cool.
Preheat oven to 450° F. Put the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar, flour, salt, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth, then add milk and beat to combine. Stir in the cooked rhubarb. Put the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 ° F. and continue baking for 25 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from oven, and top with the meringue (see below). Reduce heat to 300° F., and put the pie back into the oven. Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the meingue is lightly browned.
In the meantime, make the meringue. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add sugar while continuing to beat. Then spoon on top of the pie and swirl.
Rhubarb is one of my favorite spring foods. These days many fruits are available year round, but rhubarb remains seasonal – which always makes it seems extra special when I finally get some. This year I decided to try a hundred-year-old recipe for Rhubarb en Casserole.
The recipe was simple, and only called for three ingredients – rhubarb, brown sugar, and raisins – which are mixed together and then put in a casserole dish and baked in the oven until the rhubarb is tender.
The Rhubarb en Casserole was delightful. It was nice combination of tart and sweet with lovely caramel undertones. I’ve eaten many rhubarb dishes over the years, but most call for white sugar. I think this is the first time that I’ve ever seen a rhubarb recipe that called for brown sugar, and it added a nice new flavor dimension. Rhubarb en Casserole can be served either hot or cold.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Put cut rhubarb in cold water, then drain. Add brown sugar and raisins; stir to combine. Put it in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, and cover. Bake until the rhubarb is tender – about 45 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
It’s peak rhubarb season here – so it’s time to try new rhubarb recipe. . . Well, actually, this being A Hundred Years Ago, it’s time to try a “new” old recipe. I found a great recipe for Rhubarb Fanchonettes in a 1919 magazine. Fanchonettes are basically Rhubarb Tarts with Meringue Topping.
The Fanchonettes are a perfect spring treat. The small, individual tarts are a nice size for a snack or dessert. The rhubarb filling is delightfully tart and balanced by the sweet meringue topping.
Here is the original recipe:
I found some aspects of this recipe fussy and challenging. For example, I couldn’t figure out why the rhubarb needed to be cooked twice, so I just cooked the rhubarb until tender and then stirred in the other ingredients, but didn’t reheat. And, what are brownie tins?
Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Old-fashioned Rhubarb Fanchonettes (Rhubarb Tarts with Meringue Topping)
1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (I used lemon juice.)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks, beaten
pie pastry (Enough for a 2-crust 9-inch pie – more may be needed if pre-rolled sheets are used. I re-rolled pastry scraps several times to make all of the small fanchonette shells.)
Place rhubarb pieces and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the rhubarb is tender while stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and strain to remove excess liquid. (It is okay if there is still a little liquid after draining). Measure the cooked rhubarb; there should be approximately 2 cups. (Excess rhubarb can be sweetened and eaten as stewed rhubarb.) Return to pan. Stir in lemon juice, sugar, salt, and flour. Quickly stir in the egg yolks. (If the rhubarb is still very hot, stir a small amount of the cooked rhubarb to the beaten egg yolks while stirring rapidly to avoid coagulation of the yolks; then quickly stir the egg yolk mixture into the remaining rhubarb.) Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll pastry dough and cut into pieces. Fit each piece into a small pie pan; trim and flute edges to make the fanchonette shells. (I used a fairly shallow muffin pan to make the fanchonettes.) The number needed will vary depending upon size, but approximately 12-15 should be enough to hold all the filling.
Fill each fanchonette shell with cooked rhubarb mixture. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F. Continue baking until the rhubarb comes to a slow rolling boil. Remove from oven, and top each fanchonette with a heaping tablespoonful of Meringue (see recipe below). Spread Meringue to edge of fanchonette. Bake at 325° F. for 10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons sugar
Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar while continuing to beat.
Each spring I eagerly await the arrival of rhubarb at the local market. I bought some rhubarb last week-end, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Rhubarb Dumplings in a hundred-year-old cookbook.
The Rhubarb Dumplings were tender with a refreshingly tart rhubarb filling embedded in a sweet custard-like sauce.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Put sugar, flour, and egg in a small bowl; stir to combine. On a pastry cloth or other prepared surface, roll shortcake dough to 1/4 inch thickness; cut into squares, 4-inches by 4-inches. Put heaping 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) in the center of each square, then cover with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and egg mixture. Fold dough so that the points overlap on top of the rhubarb mixture. Put the dumplings in a large flat baking dish, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. If desired, serve with whipped cream.
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the shortening; then add the milk. Stir gently with a fork to create a dough.
The old recipe only called for 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. When I made this recipe, I had difficulty measuring 2 tablespoons of rhubarb for each dumpling. (Rhubarb is just too thick to fit well on a spoon.) So I used a 1/8 cup scoop, and put a heaping scoop of rhubarb in each dumpling, I ended up running out of rhubarb before I’d used all the shortcake dough, so I cut up an additional stalk of rhubarb. I think in the end that I used 2 – 2 1/2 cups of rhubarb. The dumplings were excellent, though if I made them again, I might put even more rhubarb in each dumpling.
When I saw a recipe for Raisin and Rhubarb Pie in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Raisins and rhubarb, rhubarb and raisins. . . I knew that the alliteration was what drew me to the recipe . . .but, I kept thinking, what does this recipe taste like? Would I like it?
So before I knew it, I was making a Raisin and Rhubarb Pie. I was rewarded with a lovely taste sensation. The sweetness of the raisins perfectly balanced the zesty rhubarb to create a scrupulous old-fashioned pie.
Heat oven to 425° F. In a bowl put egg, sugar, salt, and flour; stir until mixed together. Add raisins and rhubarb, stir gently to combine. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust and flute edges. Brush crust with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in oven for 15 minutes; then reduce heat to 350° F. Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juice just begins to bubble.
It never seems quite like spring until I make a few rhubarb recipes, so when I saw a recipe for Rhubarb Conserve in a hundred-year-old issue of Good Housekeeping, I just had to give it a try. In addition to the rhubarb the recipe called for a pineapple (as well as for the juice and grated peel of an orange).
The recipe turned out wonderfully, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. The conserve tastes more like a pineapple conserve than a rhubarb one with lovely sunny notes of pineapple that are slightly muted by the tartness of the rhubarb.
And, it wasn’t a bright red color like I anticipated. Instead the conserve is a blend of delightful shades of yellow, green, and brown. The rhubarb I used had a little red in the stalks–but much of the length was green. This may have affected the color. I also did a little research and discovered that rhubarb jam recipes often call for strawberry gelatin or other added coloring agents so I now think that the conserve color is exactly right given the ingredients I used.
Conserves are typically served with meat, and this conserve is lovely with pork or poultry, but I also enjoy using it as a marmalade on toast and English muffins.
When I worked on this post, I pondered whether I should use the old name or whether that was misleading. In the end, I decided to add “pineapple” to the recipe title, but to keep the keep the word conserve.
The bottom line: Whatever this recipe is called, it is delightful and something that I would make again.
Core pineapple and remove flesh from skin, then shred into small pieces. Place in a large sauce pan. Add rhubarb, orange juice, grated orange peel, and sugar. Let sit for 1/2 hour to allow the juice to start flowing; then using medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and boil gently for 30-40 minutes or until the mixture is the consistency of jam. Stir frequently — especially towards the end of the cooking time.
A good way to tell if the mixture is the right consistency is to lay the spoon that is used for stirring on a plate. Allow the liquid clinging to the spoon to cool for a few seconds, and see if it has a jam-like consistency.
Pour mixture into hot one-half pint jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe jar rim and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.