Forces beyond my control have compelled me to give rhubarb a second chance.
I'd had it as a kid, and, like lima beans, the texture put me off and I just filed it away in the why bother category. Like, why bother buying something that looks like red celery when I can buy real fruit -- say, peachesmelonsplumsnectarinesbananasberries --instead.
But then last Monday I went to Chez Panisse, and the first thing Lara said when she looked at the entire lyrical menu with its pixie tangerines and its garden lettuces and its shaved zucchini with pecorino and mint was this:
"I'm getting the rhubarb-strawberry cobbler for dessert."
Wuh? Why would you do that to yourself, and on your birthday?
But I tried it, and it was good. You know, fine good. Not better than the bittersweet chocolate pave, but sometimes these things take a little while to sink in, and when Diana challenged me in the comments to come up with a rhubarb recipe I knew I could do it without puking.
I'm sorry I said puke on a food blog. Rule #1: Never discuss regurgitation on a food blog. Rule #2: Don't break Rule #1.
Guess what? I made a killer cobbler.
Now, I'm not running for president of the Rhubarb Society of North America or riding a rhubarb float in the next parade, but I would make this dessert again. And again. My sons signaled their approval by sticking their heads in the ramekins and licking their dishes clean. Rhubarb facial, anyone?
This cobbler tastes like jam with a crust, and I defy you to give me one good reason why that's not a Very Good Thing.
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Recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler
Since I wanted to wade into the rhubarb waters slowly, I stuck with the classic marriage of rhubarb and strawberries and didn't introduce any funky third parties into the mix. No spices, no nuts, nothing fancypants. So long as you slice the stalks nice and thin, the rhubarb gets all jammy and melty and lends a lovely tartness and body to the berries, creating a nicely balanced dessert.
1-1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices
1 cup sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 425 and move the rack to the lower third of the oven.
In a large bowl, stir together the berries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Turn out into a 2-quart baking dish.
In a medium bowl (or wipe the same bowl you used to the filling clean and dry), whisk the two flours, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until all the dry bits are moistened and the dough looks like crumbly pebbles. Slowly drip in the egg and stir with a fork until evenly moistened and clumpy. Sprinkle the dough over the fruit. Place the filled baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips as the cobbler bubbles.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is browned and the filling is bubbly. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving. Serve alone, with a drizzle of heavy cream (!) or with vanilla ice cream (!!).