rosy rhubarb

One of my favorite things about reading a shit-ton whole bunch of food blogs and having my own is that it makes me experiment with ingredients and try recipes that I would have never thought to make on my own.  Last year when rhubarb popped up in the market and amongst the blogs I had no idea what this fruit/vegetable thing was all about. But this year I am more experimental in my ways and I knew that I wanted to give rhubarb a try.

Man am I ever glad that I did. I made this crumble last weekend during the lull between my last two law school finals EVER (did I mention that I am done and graduate on Sunday :-D ? ) and it was wonderful. I decided to meld a couple recipes together by adding some vanilla extract to the fruit and vanilla sugar in the topping. I think this was the perfect foil to the tang of the rhubarb and orange and the sweetness of the strawberry.

After I made the crumble, I had a few stalks of rhubarb leftover that I transformed into a rhubarb flavored simple syrup.

It was a very simple process which rewarded me with vibrant pink sweet liquid. I haven’t had a chance to play with this yet but I have a few ideas in mind for a fun Spring cocktail or a celebratory beverage of sorts. Do you have any ideas for the simple syrup that you would like to share?

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
Inspired by Deb at Smitten Kitchen and Kristin at the Kitchen Sink

2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
3-4 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch slices
1 quart strawberries (about 3 cups) trimmed and quartered
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Brandy
1 teaspoon OJ
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
Vanilla Sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of kosher salt. Cut in the 6 tablespoons chilled, diced butter using a pastry blender. Place the mixture in the refrigerator.

Generously butter a 9×9-inch pan. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, Brandy, OJ, zest, extract, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of kosher salt. Spoon the mixture into the buttered dish. Cover the strawberry-rhubarb mixture with the chilled crumble topping. Sprinkle vanilla sugar on top of the crumble. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I personally like Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla since I can’t get Blue Bell up in Chicago.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup
Inspired by Amy’s Tweets (Eggs on Sunday) and Culinate

1 1/2 cups of rhubarb, roughly chopped
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of water

Place the ingredients into a sauce pan. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 to 20 mins. Let cool, then strain into a jar. Store in the fridge. Experiment.

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19 responses to “rosy rhubarb

  1. I’ve been wanting to try rhubarb out myself. Is it sweet on its own? Can I add it to my morning oats?

  2. Looks delicious, Whitney! And, more importantly: congrats! Enjoy graduation and the calm before Barbri. : )

  3. Yasmin-Its pretty tart on its own but it might be good to make into a chutney or jam with some sugar. I stuck to a recipe w/ strawberries because I knew that they wouldn’t be sweet on their own.

    Kristin-Thanks! It is very strange to be done. Sadly we start Barbri at 9AM the day after graduation :( I will probably be asking you for some bar studying tips in the next weeks.

  4. I love the rhubarb simple syrup – this looks great!

  5. pinkstripes

    Looks delicious. i’ve never baked with rhubarb. I should pick some up this weekend!

  6. Hi Whitney,

    You can make a rhubarb bellini cocktail.
    You need 3 ounces of rhubarb syrup and one bottle of sparkling dry wine.
    Put the syrup in a fluted glass; top up with the wine. And, you can take a very thin rhubarb stalk and dip it gently in egg white and then in sugar for a frosty looking swizzle stick effect!

  7. It looks amazing, Whitney! I adore rhubarb-it’s so good when just barely sweetened. Love the photos, too-the picture of your simple syrup is stunning!

  8. Katie-Thanks for stopping by and the compliments. I was really happy with that picture too :)

  9. Mmm…I love rhubarb. I was so disappointed this year when ours didn’t pop back up in the garden. It would have been the first year we could have harvested it… :(

    I can’t wait to see what you do with that simple syrup…i’m thinking of maybe a rhubarb-tinted mojito?

    Congrats on being done and graduating tomorrow!!!

  10. I’ve never had rhubarb simple syrup but it sounds like a great idea!

  11. Hot dang! I love a good crumble! This looks gorgeous! I love the idea of simply syrup too! Just lovely!

  12. Andrea-that sucks that they didn’t come back. Thankfully there are farmer’s markets! I bought herbs and containers this weekend. I can’t wait to start my balcony garden.

    Joy-Thanks for the compliments and for stopping by. I also LOVE your blog.

  13. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! I just impulse-bought some rhubarb and I had NO clue what to do with it. I tried a coffee cake from SK and it was a total disaster.

    HAPPY GRADUATION!!! So proud of you!

  14. The crumble looks absolutely marvellous! How I iwsh we got phubarb here so I could try this.

  15. I’m so grateful to Ann at Ample Sanity for pointing me to this recipe, and to you for getting me refocused on using up that baggie of crumblemix I’ve had in the freezer for (mumble) months. I made the following adjustments, which I offer not because they’re better (I didn’t make your version to compare) but because it wound up very toothsome anyway: I substituted sweet vermouth for brandy because I had no brandy; and likewise I used orange-blossom water and a little key lime juice instead of orange juice. Also, I like to mix half the crumble mix into the fruit and sprinkle the remainder on top, so the interior is laced through with oats and chewy bits and all that. Also, I served it with Bird’s Custard ladled over the top, which is a never-fail option for those who like their lives especially sweet and creamy. (Without the custard the crumble is also a great breakfast treat!)

    Though I have no “real” alcohol in the house, my cocktail plan for the red simple syrup (genius! thanks!) is hard lemonade with bourbon or brandy, rhubarb simple syrup, ginger extract, and maybe a little fresh black pepper ground on top for giggles. I do like the TJ’s bottled fizzy lemonade, but actually prefer to squeeze a few lemons and mix it with the simple syrup and seltzer myself (Nellie and Joe’s is an excellent prepared brand if convenience is your bag).

    and – as one who went through it himself – congrats on the end of law school and the excitement of bar bri training. I passed the CA bar on the first go, thanks significantly to their prep work. I enjoyed this post and hope to return to peruse further. Excelsior!

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