Rhubarb is spring's biggest challenge and its best reward. On the heels of winter, its stalks emerge bitter and brittle, but no mind—with a bit of coaxing, it turns sweet and inviting, like spring.
Soon enough, we realize that its tough exterior is just a ruse. Feisty rhubarb loves a stiff cocktail just as much as a tart dessert and a savory main course. It's up for anything—because really, it's just as happy as you are that it's spring. To prove it, here are 12 rhubarb recipes to let loose with.
This isn’t an architectural cake—it’s tender and moist and almost, but not quite, like a cobbler, so you may even want to eat it in a bowl. But the most signature element of this dessert is the cinnamon-toasty flavor that comes from bread crumbs.
The rhubarb is delightfully roasted, holding is shape and is complimented with a simple syrup that is created with juicy strawberries, balsamic vinegar, sweet vermouth, pure maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Simplicity at it its finest.
An intensely refreshing, classic 19th century cocktail, updated with rhubarb and rosewater.
The secrets to releasing pork belly's magic don't require any special machinery or a food handler's certificate—they're techniques you already know, or can learn on the fly. One of them is this sweet and salty rhubarb compote.
This is an any-time-of-day cake. It's perfect for breakfast, brunch, snack, dessert, and anything in between. It's great with tart rhubarb, but the batter is versatile enough to work with most any fruit. If you make it with a sweeter fruit, consider reducing the amount of sugar in the batter.
This dessert is simple to put together, but tastes surprisingly complex. It's cool and tart, floral and herbal, creamy and sweet, all in one. If you're not a fan of rose, feel free to use plain whipped cream or leave the cream off altogher—the sorbet is delicious as is.
Fiery candied ginger is minced up in this crumb topping, and ground ginger is in the cake, too. It's just enough to give it a warm, flirty je ne sais quoi that doesn't try to shout over the rhubarb.
A silky and tangy blanket of rhubarb curd atop a pad of thick and crumbly spiced shortbread. The curd takes some elbow grease, but make the shortbread in a food processor if you have one handy. Once you have the two basic elements, all you do is fuse them with an icing spreader and finish with a few minutes in the oven.
This springy dessert is a twist on classic strawberry shortcakes, featuring a dose of zingy citrus, sweet vanilla, and tart rhubarb. The rye flour in these shortcakes gives them a bit of milky sweetness.
Rhubarb's tang is the perfect foil for this super rich scone (made with heavy cream instead of milk, hence the naughty). You almost don't need jam, but strawberry would be nice, as would some clotted cream on the side.
Homemade lemonade is always a treat, and this lovely pink version with the surprising flavor of rhubarb and brightness of fresh mint is sure to impress. A shot of rum or gin couldn't hurt!
Rhubarb and Earl Grey are a natural pairing, and one best left relatively unadorned. Toss tart chunks of rhubarb with pieces of apple, a little sugar, a pinch of cardamom, some Meyer lemon juice and some orange zest before adding the tea and gently softening everything in a 350°F oven. The fruit mellows and grows tender without falling apart, and it emerges from the oven swimming in a subtle, tea-infused broth, which thickens into a light syrup as it cools.