Amish Cook: Sharing tips for growing rhubarb and recipes for easy pastries

2013-03-27T00:00:00Z Amish Cook: Sharing tips for growing rhubarb and recipes for easy pastriesLovina Eicher Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Rhubarb finds its way into so many baked goods. It just adds a nice, tart taste to everything. Mom baked with her homegrown rhubarb often, and she never had trouble growing rhubarb.

If you want to start your own rhubarb patch, plant the rhubarb one year and then use it the second year. I have always done this and always had good luck. You don’t use the rhubarb for a year so that you can give the plants time to develop strong roots. I got my starts from a lady in church and just planted a whole row of them, and every year they get fuller and spread out more.

I plant my rhubarb in full sun, because I don’t think the plants do as well in the shade. A lot of times people will plant them right at the edge of their garden. We do this and also put horse manure around the plants in the spring, which seems to help them grow. The rhubarb is one of the first goodies ready to be harvested in the spring, and this recipe is a great way to starting using it.

RHUBARB SQUARES

Filling:

4 cups rhubarb cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Crust:

3/4 cup shortening, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch pan and set aside. To make the filling: In a medium saucepan over low heat, cook the rhubarb, water, and sugar until bubbling. Then add the cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch is mixed throughout and the mixture has thickened. Add the almond flavoring and stir. Keep on the stove over low heat.

To make the crust: In a large bowl, combine the shortening, sugar, baking soda, vanilla, flour, oats, and cinnamon until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Take half of the crumbs and pat them into the bottom of the prepared pan. Remove the filling from the heat and pour over the bottom crust, spreading it evenly. Then crumble the remaining half of the crumbs evenly over the filling. Bake until the crust is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 minutes.

When I was growing up, we would have rhubarb shortcake a lot of times right out of the oven for supper in the evenings. Mom would sprinkle sugar and cold milk on top. We never had it for breakfast unless it was left over. My dad wouldn’t put milk on it; he would just eat it warm. I have fixed rhubarb shortcake for my children many times, and some like it more than others. If we have ice cream in the freezer, they would prefer that ice cream be served with it. We never had that choice growing up. They don’t act like they care for the milk on the rhubarb like I did when I was younger. The children do really like rhubarb juice and jam.

RHUBARB SHORTCAKE

3 cups sour milk

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the soda, baking power, flour, and salt. Then gradually add the sour milk until a really soft dough forms. Spread a layer of this dough in a 9 by 13-inch cake pan, and then add a thick layer of rhubarb. Put the sugar on the rhubarb. Put rest of the dough on top and bake until the rhubarb is tender, about 45 minutes.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach Lovina at The Amish Cook, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, Ohio 45042 or visit www.amishcookonline.com for more recipes and videos.

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