19 June 2011

Rhubarb Bread

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.

One thing springs to mind:

The theatre.

Yes, I know. You were probably expecting me to wax lyrical about how rhubarb is a harbinger of spring--it's vibrant scarlet stalks shooting from the earth, it tarty tang crying to be be paired with sweet strawberries or perhaps coated in sugar and roasted until tender in syrupy pink juices.

Nope. I think of the theatre...and more specifically, performing in grade school plays.

For two years my grade school had a teacher who loved putting on school productions. I auditioned both years and both years I was cast. Whenever a group of actors milled about onstage as extras or a crowd, the direction was say "rhubarb" to one another. Apparently, from the audience it sounds like muffled conversation, but without any real sounds to distract from the scripted dialogue.

But now that those aforementioned scarlet stalks are bundled and available for a few weeks at the market, I two things come to mind:

I wish I had rhubarb growing in my backyard.

I must eat rhubarb.

I fully admit to not being overly ambitious about how I eat it: roasted with sugar and vanilla is my favourite, followed by combining it with strawberries as a jam or in pie.

In researching what others do with rhubarb, I found many, many pies (including crumbles and crisps), preserves and fools, but fewer cakes and breads. Wanting something for my afternoon tea (well, more like my afternoon snack while tapping away at the office keyboard), I looked at a few recipes including this one, some of these and this one and came up with mine.

I'm quite happy with this moist quickbread. Sliced, it reveals hidden gems of pinks and greens. Even though there's a lot of sugar (by my standards) the fruit's sharpness still comes through nicely.

Rhubarb Bread
Yield One 8.5" or 9.25" loaf

175g (310ml, 1.25c) all purpose flour
0.5tsp (2.5ml) bicarbonate of soda
0.5tsp (2.5ml) baking powder
0.25tsp (1ml) salt)
0.25ml (1ml) powdered ginger
0.25ml (1ml) cinnamon
75ml (0.25c + 1Tbsp) flavourless oil
150g (180ml, 0.75c) brown sugar
1 egg
125ml (0.5c) soured milk
150g (375ml, 1.5c) diced rhubarb
Optional: a few handfuls of granola (approx. 0.5c)

Butter and sugar an 22cm or 23cm (8.5' or 9.25")loaf tin. Preheat oven to 180C/350F

Sift together flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt and spices; set aside.

Beat together the oil, sugar, egg and milk.

Stir in the flour until about half of the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Tumble in the rhubarb and mix until just combined.

Pour into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle granola over top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out cleanly.

Let cool fully before slicing. Serve as is or slather with clotted cream.

- I used milk that was just about to turn, but you can use buttermilk, a mixture of milk with yogurt or sour cream or add about a teaspoon or two of lemon juice or vinegar to a half cup of milk.

- If you want a crunchy topping, but don't have granola, use a struesel topping, or chopped or flaked nuts coated in brown sugar and melted butter.

I'm a quill for hire!

1 comment:

Mikaela Cowles said...

What an adorable story! What parts did you play? I've never heard of Rhubarb Bread, but one of my friends keeps trying to pass tons of it off to me, so I think I'm going to take her up on it!