Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Be-bop-a-re-bop Rhubarb Pie

024 I have never cooked with rhubarb before.

I can only remember one time I’ve even eaten it.

My strongest association is be-bop-a-re-bop rhubarb pie from A Prairie Home Companion. “Yes, nothing gets the taste of shame and humiliation out of your mouth quite like Be-Bop-A-Re-Bop Rhubarb Pie.”

So when it was scheduled to arrive in my Farm Fresh Delivery bin, I considered removing it and getting something else. Instead, I decided to keep it and figure out what to do. The difficulty in using a new ingredient is trying to make sense of recipes. For example, when I read the recipe for tofu scramble with green and yams, I knew immediately that it would be good. However, I looked at dozens of rhubarb recipes online and had no idea what to choose. I went with one from a reliable source (FoodTV) and adapted it slightly for the amount of rhubarb I had and reduced the sugar. I think it turned out pretty well.

I sliced my rhubarb and used some sliced strawberries as well, both to sweeten it and add more fruit, placed them in a baking dish and topped with orange zest. I just zested the whole orange and then ate it while this crumble was in the oven. I didn’t use the rest of the ingredients in the fruit part.

For the topping, I used 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup walnuts. I like walnuts, and I had them on hand, but I think the hazelnuts the recipe calls for would be good too. I mixed that with about 1/2 cup melted Earth Balance and plopped it in crumbles on top of my fruit.

I think it turned out pretty well. I’m not sure that I’d go out of my way to make this, but I did enjoy it, even though it was crumble-heavy and light on the fruit.

What do you think? Am I missing out on rhubarb? What’s your favorite way to eat it?


  1. I just stumbled over your blog when I googled "bepop a rebop" while listening to -- well, I don't have to tell you what I'm listening to, but John Prine's on this afternoon, and it's a great show!

    Anyway, imo, you really ARE missing out -- strawberry rhubarb pie is one of the greatest joys of summer, and rhubarb crisp is heaven on earth to me -- something sort of like what you made with your rhubarb. I'm not sure what went wrong that you "wouldn't go out of your way to make this", but I have a suspicion.

    I only venture this because your "about me" says "we don't actively limit ourselves to 'health' foods: I think that the problem might have been the melted Earth Balance. There are some recipes that just call for basic grandma ingredients, like divine, delicious, creamy, taste-bud-tantalizing f a t. That is, real butter! If you eat a lot of dessert, I can see that you'd want to use substitutes in order to minimize bad effects on your diet, but some desserts can really suffer from "healthification". :p I think that the simpler a dessert is, the more likely it is that a substitution can devastate its final effect. And rhubarb crisp is the simplest of desserts, for sure. If it's not forbidden in your house, try real butter next time. :)

  2. Good point. No, I don't use real butter, but I don't think the Earth Balance is the problem. The crumble crust was delicious: I loved the oats, sugar, and nuts. In my photo you can see how that overpowers the fruit already.

    What I'd like to try next time is a way to sweeten the rhubarb without making it taste like it's sugary. Possibly more strawberries?