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Entries in rhubarb (3)

Saturday
Jun072014

Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars with Speculoos Cookie Crust

My Mum's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie was a spring staple in our house. Golden crust that would crumble into flaky shards as your fork cut through. Thick, sticky, sweet and sour filling that would ooze onto your plate, waiting to be scraped up with the edge of your fork after you took the last bite

I thought about making Mum's pie (which would have made Sean a very happy man) but something I've been wanting to make for a long time is cheesecake (plus, I kind of suck at pastry).

You see, I've never made a cheesecake before.

Weird, I know.

For me, Spring = RhubarbI love seeing the first stalks at the markets and grocery stores - deep pink ends and bright green tips, fastened together in long bunches, belying any hint of the mouth puckering tartness that's to come. I thought I'd try making a cheesecake with some fresh rhubarb that I bought at the Elmridge Farms stall at the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market.

After a little online research, I chose THIS RECIPE from allrecipes.com.

I love to look for 5 star recipes on allrecipes.com - they almost always turn out to be fantastic! One thing I really like to do before I make any dish, is read the comments left by other people that have made the recipe, and then decide how I'm going to tweak it accordingly.

For this recipe:

- I baked the cheesecake in an 8x8 Pyrex dish which I lined with parchment paper. I let the paper overhang on each side of the dish, acting as 'handles', so I could lift the cheesecake out when it was cool.

- I chose not to make the crust listed in the recipe. Instead, I made my own crust with a sleeve of Speculoos cookies (about 30 cookies). I zipped them up in my food processor until they were crumbly and then mixed in 1/2C melted butter. Next time I would use 1/4C of butter instead of 1/2C - my crust was more of a paste than a crumbly press in. I pre-baked my crust for 7 minutes. I got my Speculoos cookies at the Bayer's Lake European Farmer's Market.

- I took the advice of a couple of commenters and used 4C of rhubarb instead of 3C. I didn't change the amount of sugar at all.

- Next time I make cheesecake I will let my cream cheese come to room temp or soften it a bit in the microwave. I didn't realize that somewhat cold cream cheese will leave you with lumps. Duly noted.

- I baked my cheesecake in a water bath (placed 8x8 pan in a larger baking dish and using boiled water from the kettle, filled up the bigger dish until the water came about halfway up the sides of the 8x8 dish) for 45 minutes, turned off the oven, and let it sit inside for another 15 minutes without opening the oven door. It was perfectly baked with no cracks! Yay!

- I didn't make the sour cream topping even though I bought sour cream specifically for it - I don't know. I just didn't feel like it. The thing is - the only vanilla in the recipe is in the sour cream topping. Next time, I'd add some vanilla to my cream cheese batter because I kind of felt like the rhubarb cheesecake bars were missing something, but, I shared the bars with a group of friends and every single person loved them.

I would definitely make this recipe again but luckily, rhubarb season isn't over yet, so maybe I'll try my hand at Mum's strawberry rhubarb pie next.

Wednesday
May292013

Rhubarb Curd Pudding Cups

 I owe my love of lemon curd to Aimée White - Food Je t'Aimée. It was during a tea party at her house that I had my first encounter with this gorgeous tart and creamy spread.

It's been an ongoing love affair and since that afternoon, I've played with recipes for lemon, lime and Clementine curds. Walking through the farmer's market the other day, I noticed that Noggins had lush bunches of fresh pink and green spring rhubarb. After the obligatory rhubarb crisp for Sean, my thoughts turned toward curd and I thought, why not?

Totally winging it, as I normally do, I used my favourite lemon curd recipe and just substituted a pound of washed, chopped rhubarb for the lemon juice and zest. I thought about straining out the chunks of rhubarb but in the end said screw it and decided to leave them in for flavour and texture.

Oh my.

You want to make this. Trust me.

I made this Vanilla Pudding Recipe from CHOW.com and layered it in cups with the rhubarb curd and a sweet little Amaretti cookie on top.

Rhubarb Curd

1 pound (454g) fresh rhubarb, washed, chopped (use as many bright pink pieces as possible including the parts around the bottom of the stalks)

1 Tbsp water

1 C sugar

4 egg yolks

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1/2 C butter

- combine rhubarb, water and 1/2 C sugar in a pot - cook on medium-low heat until rhubarb is very soft, about 14 minutes - smoosh all pieces with the back of a rubber spatula or mash with a potato masher

- whisk egg yolks, kosher salt and remaining 1/2 C sugar - scoop out about 1/2 to 1 Cup hot rhubarb and whisk it into the egg yolk mixture a little bit at a time to temper the yolks and then add everything back to the pot with the remaining hot rhubarb - whisk together

- add butter and cook over med-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy

- dish into clean Mason jars or other airtight storage containers

*I usually halve this recipe and it makes two 250mL Mason jars full of curd

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Tuesday
Jun122012

Rhubarb Tart

One of the best things about spring and early summer in Nova Scotia.

Fresh local Rhubarb.

Washed and chopped just waiting for the pastry to be made.

I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Cheryl and Griffith Day, authors of 'The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook'. This is the second time I've made their Short Crust and I have to tell you - it is EASY - and it is PHENOMENAL.

The best thing I've found to do when forming the crust is to start with building the sides by pressing dough into the ridges with your fingers and then, using your hands, spread the remaining dough over the main flat surface of the tart tin. The first time I made The Back in the Day Bakery's crust, I started in the middle of the tin and worked my way out to and up the 'walls' of the tin - the crust along the 'wall' was much thinner that time. By building the wall of crust first, you can then smooth extra dough down and into the middle.

 

Rhubarb Filling

5 Cups of washed, chopped Rhubarb

1+1/3 C Sugar

6 Tbsp Flour

1/2 C Apple Juice

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes with crust covered. Reduce heat to 350, uncover crust and bake 45 minutes more.