My rhubarb is not yet even an inch tall but I am acutely aware it is in or rapidly growing into season elsewhere. Here in Bristol Bay it is still frosting at night and my garden still has a few inches of lingering snow melting away on top. Thankfully I’m a food planner (I could be so bold and say “prepper”) and have rhubarb frozen from last summer to make it all year especially now when social media boasts farmer’s market produce I have yet to have access too and the craving/envy strikes.
Rhubarb pie, ice cream, shrubs, cookies, tarts, crisps, parfaits, danishes, cheescakes, upside down cakes, rhubarb crisp parfaits even, and this cobbler are all on the table when rhubarb season arrives. I love this vegetable, its tart and bold but baked is sweet and sassy – the possibilities abound and it perseveres amazingly well in the freezer when vacuum-sealed fresh cut and raw.
And gosh darn, it’s so pretty too. The droplets on the rhubarb pictured are actually caramelized sugar in the raw and the rhubarbs juice making it sticky tart and sweet. Just right for dolloping ice cream or fresh whipped cream on top.
I felt I had to bake today. It is raining and drizzling, and boat work has begun on the F/V Sea Breeze. We have been stressing a bit about our transmission, last summer it was so slow when going into gear. After a very spendy rebuild just two years ago I was dreading another or worse a replacement, but after a chat with an engineer friend, we found that actually our hynautic’s are to blame – read a much more reasonable fix, cost and labor wise. So, first hurdle of the season down, only a million more to go, such is the life of a commercial fishing family. But dammit I’ll take my victories as they come and there will be dessert to celebrate!
This cobbler, because it is cooked in cast iron, results in a crispy caramelized crust on the bottom. There is a crunch in it’s sweet but not too sweet cake from coarse cornmeal in the batter, and the tangy rhubarb on top glistens jewel like and impressive. But here is the best part – start to finish – this dessert is done in about about an hour. Serve it hot from the oven and make it a celebration any night of the week.
Better yet, make it for Mother’s Day this weekend and serve it up with plain yogurt and hot coffee as breakfast in bed for the woman who basically should be wearing a cape everyday of her life – your Mom!
Rhubarb Cast-Iron Cobbler (serves 8, Total time about 1 hour, hands on time 15 minutes)
- a few stalks of fresh rhubarb
- 1 stick salted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the whole stick of butter into a 10 inch cast iron skillet and place in oven to melt, this takes about 3-5 minutes.
Slice your rhubarb* in half length wise so they are no thicker than 1/2 inch, then cut them down so no piece is longer than about 4 inches, set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Pour in milk and vanilla then whisk until smooth. Remove cast iron skillet from oven and after swirling pan to coat sides, pour melted butter into the batter. Whisk just until all butter is incorporated.
Pour batter into hot buttered skillet and lay the cut rhubarb stalks acoss the top in a pattern of your choosing. You’ll want a little space between the stalks throughout the top of the cobbler so it puffs a bit around the rhubarb as pictured. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the rhubarb stalks.
Bake in preheated oven on middle rack for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. Try it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream!
*Just as a side note – rhubarb can be hard to cut when cooked due to it’s stringing nature making easy forks full a bit tricky, so when serving give guests a serrated knife along with their dessert plate and fork for ease. Or cut the rhubarb into small chunks that way the cobbler is easy for everyone to eat. I just love how the stalks look when kept long, though I have dreams of making a cobbler or tart after slicing thin discs of rhubarb and layering them like scales – if you do this please please please send me a photo or tag me on IG @setthenet!