May 28, 2008

Rhubarb cobbler (wheat free)

I was thinking about what I should cook for the blog and every time I came up with an idea for something I wanted to try, a nagging thought kept annoying me. My garden is full of this year's rhubarb and my freezer is full of last year's rhubarb. I should make at least one thing with this plant that I used to love, but am now indifferent to, so I went outside and gathered a bunch of red stalks. And besides, my son recently asked for a rhubarb recipe, so here comes a simple and homey cobbler. You might want to serve it with vegan ice cream to dress it up.

I was planning to roll a square of pastry and cut nine rectangles with my pastry cutter (for nifty zig-zag edges) and place them window-pane style across the top of the rhubarb. Or maybe cut out leaf shapes and arrange them artistically. Sigh. Of course I reached for my same old biscuit topping and slapped it on. Of course. So predictable.

Ironically, the recipe I always turn to for biscuit topping is from my junior high school foods and nutrition cookbook. I just can't believe I still have the cookbook, let alone use it. It was so long ago. I don't remember much about junior high home economics beyond the time in sewing class that I sewed through my finger at the sewing machine about five minutes after the teacher jokingly warned us not to do that. Or the inedible cake whose center sunk to the pan bottom. Oh wait, there was a pink place mat and two napkins that I embroidered with slices of blueberry pie (little knots for the blueberries!) and cups of steaming coffee. Other than that—a wasteland.

Anyway, I decided to use the basic recipe proportions while changing the actual ingredients. I've been relying on wheat so much lately that I though it would be more interesting to change the flour. I used to use make cookies, cakes and breads with barley, spelt and rice flours, and it occurred to me that I've become too narrow and should probably eat a greater variety of foods. However, if you prefer using wheat flour, the quantity is 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached white flour instead of the barley and spelt. (Using spelt requires more flour than wheat.)

Rhubarb cobbler
• 4 heaping cups rhubarb, cut into 1" pieces
• 1/2 to 1 cup sucanot*
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 Tablespoon arrowroot

biscuit topping
• 1/2 cup barley flour
• 3/4 cup spelt flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon sucanot
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup soymilk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the rhubarb in a large bowl and toss with the arrowroot until coated. Add the sucanot and cinnamon and mix. (*Different varieties of rhubarb vary in their sweetness, with some incredibly sour and some more mild. And different folks have different sweetness requirements. I like things a bit on the tart side so 1/2 cup of sucanot works for me. Maybe you need more to make your tongue smile.) As the rhubarb sits, the sugar will start to melt, so give it a mix every so often as you make the topping.

Sift into a bowl (or whisk or just mix well) the barley flour, spelt flour, baking soda, salt and sucanot. Add the oil and mix with a fork until it looks like crumbs. Add the vanilla to the milk then add the milk all at once to the dry ingredients. Mix lightly together until combined.

Oil a 9" x 9" square baking dish and fill with the rhubarb mixture, making sure to scrape out and add all of the sugar. Spread the biscuit mixture on the top. You can drop it from a spoon as individual biscuits or spread as one piece. Bake in a preheated 375˚ oven for 35 minutes. Cool.


  1. This sounds really good. I haven't had rhubarb since I was a kid and it grew in the backyard.

  2. Hi! The recipe looks good, I'm in the middle of making it -- but am I blind, or does it not say how much milk to use?? Hmm...

  3. Whoa. You're absolutely right. I left out the milk. So sorry about that. It's 1/2 cup. Duh.


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