For years, maybe even since we were first dating, my husband and I have joked about “strawberry-rhubarb pie”. Not like we told jokes about it, but when we would see rhubarb or hear about it, my husband would say, “Mmm…strawberry-rhubarb pie,” and I would make a face and say something like, “Blah.” I’d never actually had rhubarb, it just looked weird and sounded bad.
Then I came across Cheryl Sternman’s recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler. She confessed to also thinking of rhubarb as a sub-vegetable (or is it a fruit?), and that she didn’t eat it. Then, after tasting a rhubarb cobbler during a lunch out with a friend, she came up with this recipe. (According to Cheryl’s blog, there was also some goading from another friend involved in her decision.) The picture looked divine, and if she thought it was tasty (the word she used was “killer”), I thought I should give it a try. Afterall, like I’m always telling my 6 year-old, who often sheds tears when she has to try something new, how did I know I didn’t like rhubarb if I’d never tried it.
So, my husband’s birthday was yesterday, and instead of his usual apple pie, I asked him what he thought of trying the cobbler. I didn’t actually expect him to say no, or anything; if it’s a dessert he’s more than willing to make the sacrifice, especially if it comes with ice cream. Even though it was my idea, I was a little nervous, as was my 12 year-old. My 6 year-old’s reaction was a comical mixture of horror, shock, and fear. Lucky for her, I had chocolate cake layers and chocolate frosting in the freezer left-over from a wedding cake I did a couple of months ago.
I became more confident about liking it when I was making the topping: flour, whole wheat flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg. While mixing in the egg the mixture started to really come together and look like…Hey! Wait a minute! This is like a cookie! Ooh..ho..ho..num. The smell from my oven as it cooked was incredible.
The cobbler was gorgeous, and it was a perfect balance of sweet (strawberries) and tart (rhubarb and lemon juice). I did have to substitute flour (1/4 cup) for the cornstarch (2 1/2 TBL) in the fruit part, but that just made the juiciness a little opaque instead of clear. My husband loved it (I know because he didn’t say anything as he emptied his bowl), as did everyone else who tried it. Yes, I am now a rhubarb convert, at least as long as it’s in this cobbler.
As a note, I think one of the reasons why the flavors of the strawberries and the rhubarb went so well together is that Cheryl says to slice the rhubarb into 1/4-inch slices, instead of the 1/2-inch slices usually called for in recipes. The thinner slices got really soft and almost melted into the rest of the filling.
We ate it room temperature with vanilla ice cream, but I found out this morning that it’s also delicious cold, straight out of the fridge, eaten with a spoon, directly out of the baking dish.
Thanks for the fab recipe, Cheryl!