A special treat on my recent US vacation was baking with my Mom. We knew we wanted to make something together, and for some reason I had rhubarb on the brain. I realized I had never worked with rhubarb myself, as much as I have always loved my Mom’s tart and sweet rhubarb crisps. I didn’t even know how to shop for it. Time for some lessons with Mom, which turned into TWO amazing rhubarb recipes: Rhubarb Crisp & Rhubarb Mojitos.
We were a little late in the standard season, which is usually May. Apparently the Pacific Northwest has a second summer season, and we were lucky enough to find some healthy looking stalks in Northern California. Make sure the stalks don’t seem rubbery or dried out – they should be heavy and taut. I love that something that looks like magenta celery turns into such delicious sweets.
We chose a method that requires simmering the rhubarb in sugar and water to soften and sweeten it up before adding the crisp topping and baking. The topping we ended up with tasted like a big oatmeal cookie on top of the tart rhubarb filling, and the combination was perfectly satisfying.
The fantastic bonus of this stewing method is that you’re essentially making rhubarb simple syrup. We wound up with about 1 1/2 cups of gorgeous, hot pink sweetness once we strained out the rhubarb filling. We couldn’t let it go to waste, so we decided to turn it into Rhubarb Mojitos!
Baking, making cocktails, and toasting to sweet kitchen success with Mom made for a wonderful summer afternoon. Today I’m thinking of her on her birthday and looking forward to our next kitchen collaboration!
4 cups chopped rhubarb (about 5 large stalks or 2lbs)
1 1/2 – 2 cups granulated sugar (1 1/2 for tarter, 2 for sweeter)
Water (just enough to cover the rhubarb in the pot)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large pot, simmer the rhubarb, water, and sugar over low-med heat until soft (about 7 mins). Strain the rhubarb and add filling to glass or ceramic baking dish. Retain the liquid for later use.
Combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, butter, and spices in a bowl. Spread the mixture over the top of the rhubarb filling.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes (until the top is golden). Top with vanilla ice cream or enjoy straight up.
Rhubarb simple syrup (leftover from rhubarb filling above)
Simmer the liquid from stewing the rhubarb for an additional 15 minutes if needed (do a taste test to see if the rhubarb flavor is strong enough for you, or if it needs to cook down/concentrate a little more). Let cool and refrigerate.
Muddle a few mint leaves and lime wedges in the bottom of a glass. Add ice and pour over 1-2 oz of rum. Add rhubarb syrup, to taste. Top with club soda and squeeze in more lime if desired. Garnish with more mint, lime, or raspberries.
Toast to your genius & enjoy!