A Little More Rhubarb for You

Thank you, readers! Your votes put me in the number two spot and propelled me to the taste testing stage of the Huffington Post’s Kitchen Daily Rhubarb Recipe Showdown. Once there, my Rhubarb-Ginger Jam competed with strawberry-rhubarb pie and strawberry-rhubarb jam at the judges’ table. And what happened after HuffPo’s judges whipped up all three recipes and sat down to taste?


The Best Rhubarb Recipe: We Found A Winner!

Kitchen Daily  |  Posted: 05/29/2012 3:17 pm Updated: 05/30/2012 5:35 pm

Rhubarb Recipe Contest

We’ve come across some amazing recipes in search of a rhubarb dish to best honor this favorite spring plant. We narrowed it down to three final contenders — Stacy Kaegi’s Rhubarb Berry Pie, Jane Ward’s Rhubarb Ginger Jam, and Ruth Ward’s Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam — we had a taste test to uncover the ultimate, the BEST, rhubarb recipe. (Click here to see a slideshow of all the recipes). And while all three were delicious in their own way, we still had to choose a winner.

And so, the winner of the tastiest rhubarb recipe (and Wusthof Classic Chai Dao knife) is … Jane Ward’s Rhubarb and Ginger Jam. Here’s what some of our tasters thought of the winning recipe: “What a great example of the season! The ginger is at just the right level and has a nice and fruity taste thanks to the rhubarb. “Wow. I actually don’t usually fawn over ginger but I think this is really a stand-out.” “I’ve never had rhubarb and ginger together, but they’re the perfect unexpected match. I’m going to be putting ginger in all my rhubarb desserts from now on.”

…I won. Winning was a wonderful surprise, but I can’t disagree with the judges about the rhubarb-ginger combination: it’s really delicious. I hope  it intrigues some of you enough that you’ll give this simple jam recipe a try at home before rhubarb season ends. Tart, sweet, but nicely balanced by ginger’s spicy warmth, the jam is perfect on toast, mixed into a little plain yoghurt, or slightly warm as a sauce for vanilla ice cream.

Still, though I know how delicious this jam is, it never would have had a chance to be taste tested by the panel without the votes of family, friends, friends of friends, and my blog readers. So I’m saying thank you in the best way I know how, with one last rhubarb recipe. Here’s a simple, humble, not-too-sweet cake made with rhubarb and one of rhubarb’s best partners – the almost as tart raspberry – that is just perfect for dessert after a spring meal or served up with a mid-day cup of coffee to revive flagging spirits. Enjoy, with my heartfelt thanks.

Rhubarb-Raspberry Semolina Cake

The idea for this cake came from two sources: the traditional mediterranean-style semolina cakes that are flavored with citrus syrups, and Nigella Lawson’s rhubarb cornmeal cake. Semolina – the coarsely milled hard durum wheat more commonly used to make pasta –  is just as granular as fine ground cornmeal but it adds body to a batter instead of grittiness, resulting in a cake that feels in the mouth like a cross between butter cake and bread pudding. It’s the perfect unassuming vehicle for all the fresh fruit that gets folded in. This cake lets the rhubarb and berries be the stars of the show. To serve, dust the cake’s golden brown top with a little powdered sugar, or serve plain slices with a spoon of whipped cream or crème fraîche.

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • rounded ½ cup semolina
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • ½ pint red raspberries
  • ¾ pounds of trimmed rhubarb cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 Tbsp. whole milk
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment. Set aside.

Stir together the flour, semolina, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a small bowl, and set aside.

Place the raspberries and rhubarb together in a bowl and sprinkle these with the 1/3 cup of  sugar. Let this sit while you make the cake batter.

For the batter, first blend the two eggs together with the vanilla in a small bowl until lightly beaten. Place the soft butter in a large bowl together with 2/3 cup sugar. Using a hand mixer, cream these together. Once blended, add the egg-vanilla mixture and mix on medium speed to blend. Add one-half of the semolina mixture to the butter-egg mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add ½ cup of the yogurt and blend until incorporated. Repeat in the same manner with the last half of the semolina mixture and then the yoghurt. When adding the last half-cup of yoghurt, also add the milk. Blend until incorated, scrape the bowl down once or twice, then blend another 5 or 10 seconds to combine. Do not overmix the batter.

Fold the sugared fruit into the batter and give it a few folds to distribute it evenly. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan. Smooth the top a bit.

Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment and place in the preheated oven. Bake for one hour, or until a deep golden brown. When done, the crown of the cake will spring back to the touch.

Remove the springform pan to a cooling rack and let cool. Remove the outer rim of the pan after 20 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before cutting and serving it in wedges.

©2012  Jane A. Ward