Rhubarb lavender buttermilk scones

Yield: 12-14 scones

Ingredients

10 oz. rhubarb, diced large (about a quarter-inch)

3 T granulated sugar

½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod

2 t dried lavender buds

540 g / 4 ½ c all-purpose flour

1 T baking powder

3/4 t baking soda

106 g / ½ c dark brown sugar

1 ½ t fine sea salt

1 c cold butter

1 ½ c buttermilk

½ t vanilla extract

Directions

Place the granulated sugar in a medium bowl with the lavender buds and vanilla seeds and, using your fingers, rub the ingredients together so that sugar is fully incorporated with its flavorful friends.  Toss the diced rhubarb in the flavorful sugar and set aside to macerate. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dark brown sugar, and sea salt in a large bowl. Using a whisk, break up the brown sugar so that it has no clumps and is fairly evenly distributed throughout the flour. Place the bowl in the freezer while you cut the butter because in the world of butter pastry, cold is the key to flaky layers.

Cut the butter into small cubes (I like to cut horizontally 3 times, flip and cut 3 times more horizontally, then across vertically many times to get ¼ inch or less sized cubes.  Pull the flour mixture out of the freezer and toss the butter cubes to coat each cube on all sides with the flour mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until all the bits are roughly pea-sized ( or smaller). Put the bowl back in the freezer to keep cool.

Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk and mix them together, set aside.

Strain the rhubarb over a dish to catch the syrup and set the syrup aside.  Pull the flour mixture back out and toss the rhubarb with it, again coating each piece of fruit in flour like we did with the butter. Drizzle in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture in three separate batches, turning the dough minimally with a rubber spatula so as to not cool down the mixture with your hands. After the last buttermilk drizzling, turn the dough a few times until no dry flour remains.

Flour a counter generously and turn the dough out of the bowl: do not knead. Gently fold in half a couple of times and maneuver into a 12×8 rectangle.  Using a bench scraper, cut into twelve triangles.

Place the cut scones on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper if that’s your preference). Brush with the reserved rhubarb syrup.  Pop the sheet into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until browned all around.  If using convection, lower oven heat to 375 to prevent burning.

When the scones come out of their warm, happy place, let them sit for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then move them to a rack to cool thoroughly before serving.  The scones will continue to cook internally using steam from baking until they’re cool.  The finished product will have a golden brown exterior that’s got a bit of a crunch to it, strong vanilla scent, and a cakey interior studded with pops of bright-tart pink fruit.  The lavender is not a strong forward flavor in this scone, rather a behind-the-scenes soft & mellow one.

 


Adapted from a recipe for Rhubarb Buttermilk Scones, from Optional Kitchen .

Strawberry rhubarb oat squares

Yield: 16 squares

Ingredients

1 cup / 80 grams rolled oats
3/4 cup / 95 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup / 95 grams dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 tablespoons /85 grams unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon / 15 grams granulated sugar
1 cup / 125 grams diced rhubarb
1 cup / 155 grams diced strawberries (I cut average-sized berries in half, then each half in quarters)

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

Measure the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour the melted butter over and stir until it gets clumpy. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture and press the rest evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Softly toss the rhubarb and strawberries together in a bowl to combine. Spread the fruit mixture over the crust and sprinkle it evenly with cornstarch and granulated sugar. Scatter the reserved crumble mixture over the fruit and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top crisp is golden.

Let the baked concoction cool in the pan. Once fully cooled, loosen up the edges with a cookie spatula. You can either cut into squares in the pan, or if you’re super-snazzy you can flip them out onto a cutting board.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

Strawberry rhubarb square

Rhubarb curd

Ingredients
600g/21 oz. rhubarb, washed, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch chunks
4 large eggs
200g/7oz. unsalted butter, diced
8 tsp cornstarch
175g/6 oz. powdered sugar

Directions
Put the rhubarb chunks into a food processor and work them until a fine pulp is achieved. Transfer the pulp to a food mill and work it over a medium bowl to catch the juice until you’ve collected about 350 ml.

Add the eggs, diced butter, cornstarch, powdered sugar and 250ml of the rhubarb juice (save the rest) to a pan and set over a low heat, whisking until all of the butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted, switch to a wooden spoon and stir the concoction constantly until the curd has thickened to a consistency a wee bit thicker than custard. Do not increase the heat to speed up the process or your eggs will curdle- nobody likes a chunky custard!

Stir in about 100ml more of the reserved rhubarb juice, then set the custard in the refrigerator to chill.

Once chilled, taste the custard and add a splash of rhubarb juice if it needs more tart, then divide into jars. The curd will keep, stored in the fridge, for up to a week.   This preservative is delightful spread on toast, spooned onto a scone, or dolloped onto bread pudding (as pictured below).  The one negative to this curd is that all of the beautiful color of the rhubarb disappears and the resulting product looks rather paste-like.

Rhubarb curd atop bread pudding

Rhubarb compote

I love the season of the local Farmer’s Markets.  Around New England, because it gets so darn cold in the winter, they generally run from the end of April through early November (outdoor markets, that is).  They bring the fresh goodness that are the first strawberries of the year (which are sold out in the first two hours), early lettuces, spinach by the bag, local asparagus, and bundles of rhubarb.

When Neil and I were milling about the Market last weekend, we saw beautiful bundles of rhubarb and I remarked on them, and he spoiled me and bought me two.  So don’t you know that I began grinding the gears inside of my head immediately to decide what I’d do with them.  Would I roast chunks of the stalks drizzled with simple syrup, or would I bake an up-side-down cake.  Should I make a tea bread, or a pie?  Should I grill it all?  My decision was made the next morning at breakfast when we awoke to half a loaf of artisan Italian bread, rhubarb, and farm-fresh eggs.  Rhubarb compote over thick french toast it would be!

Ingredients:

8 stalks of rhubarb (about a foot long)

2/3 Cups sugar

2 Tbsp Cointreau

Directions:

  • Cut the rhubarb into one-inch pieces
  • Add the rhubarb and the sugar to a large sauce pan and let them simmer at a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes
  • Give the pan a stir and the rhubarb should fall apart
  • Add the Cointreau

I enjoyed left-over compote for days mixed into my plain yogurt.  Over french toast, it’s so wonderfully sweet that absolutely no syrup was necessary.  This would also be great with (smeared all over) a pork tenderloin… or on top of vanilla ice cream.

J