Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stewed rhubarb with cornmeal biscuits

It feels like forever since I've seen something new at the farmers' market. I stopped being as diligent about my weekly visits because I can barely get through my sweet potatoes anymore and I'm up to my ears in onions.

For the past couple of weeks, though, I've been hurrying over to the market at opening time and I have been rewarded for my punctuality. First, it was asparagus. This week, rhubarb! I bought two bunches, knowing that it will disappear far too quickly.

So many recipes require pairing rhubarb with another fruit in a pie, cobbler or crisp but I like it enough on its own. I decided to do a sort of rhubarb shortcake by putting together a couple of recipes and buying vanilla ice cream.

The fruit component is simple stewed rhubarb. I didn't have buttermilk so I needed to find a cream-based biscuit. I stumbled upon a pear cobbler on that has a cornmeal biscuit topping that is made with cream and butter. I have some great blue cornmeal that I brought back from the Santa Fe farmers' market so I was eager to try the recipe.

Simple Stewed Rhubarb (courtesy of


  • 6 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water


In large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally for about 15 min or until slightly thickened and rhubarb is in threads. Let cool.

Cornmeal Biscuits (adapted from

I am modifying my instructions for the biscuits here because I had some trouble adapting them from the original recipe to be cooked separately on the pan. The cooking times might need further adjustment.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal (medium grind)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in large bowl. Add chilled butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream; stir just until moistened.

Gather dough together; form into 8-inch-long log. Cut log crosswise into eight 1-inch-thick rounds. Sprinkle rounds with coarse sugar and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place a sheet of foil over the biscuits and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the biscuits and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until they appear golden and cracked.

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