But this post is about rhubarb, so we'll put those other two on the back burner, mainly because it's hard to improve upon the natural tastes of strawberries and asparagus (not together, of course, gross). If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan(atic), you will be familiar with how, as a new bride, she made pies with rhubarb (also known at one time as "pie plant") and forgot to add sugar. Her husband, Almonzo, and the hired hands were less than enthusiastic about eating it. My point is this: rhubarb is great, but you have to do something to it, like bake it in a pie, because it's a little nasty just plain raw.
I, personally, am not much of a pie maker. But what got me on the rhubarb kick this go around was that a friend of mine posted a recipe for rhubarb cake that sounded really good. Her husband, like mine, is not partial to rhubarb, but she said he liked this cake, so thought I would try it. This post will be a two-fer, since, not only did I made a rhubarb coffee cake, but I had some leftover rhubarb and streusel, so I thought I would also make a crisp.
I was fiddling around with different cake/streusel combinations, and the cake recipe I used was just too delicate for the heavy streusel, and the streusel sank a lot. The taste was okay, but it just didn't look like a streusel coffee cake, so I'm going back to the original recipe from Martha Stewart, then tell you how I did the the rhubarb-peach crisp.
In my last post about experimentation, I had hinted that I had hit upon a great flavor combination. At first I thought is was the innovative pairing of peaches and rhubarb, but a quick search shot that down. Apparently, I was not the first (even the 100th) person do make that connection. However, some folks haven't discovered the joy of cardamom paired with rhubarb and peaches, since the recipes I found did not include that spice. When you make this, people will ask what's in it, because it's just a hint, and not too many people are very familiar with the flavor. I love cardamom, and it's used frequently in Scandinavian dishes, which is how I am most familiar with it. It lends a spicy, slightly floral flavor to both sweet and savory dishes, such as cardamom cookies, Julekage, and Swedish meatballs. If you've never used it in baking, I highly recommend trying it out. Maybe start with a small jar of it and work up. I generally get a large-ish, 2.4 oz jar of it from Penzey's, which is a favorite place of mine to get spices and such.
Rhubarb-Peach Crisp Rhubarb Coffee Cake
|I coarsely chopped the rhubarb.|
|Martha Stewart's recipe makes a lot of crumble!|
|Here's the coffee cake I make using the more delicate cake. See what I mean about the crumble sinking?|
Here's the recipe for coffee cake from Martha Stewart: