Perhaps we love rhubarb because it comes to us in Spring. After a long, hard winter, the insistent stalks of this hardy plant just burst from the ground like unfurling flags, heralding the coming summer.
I’ll take it.
The “Pie Plant”
The “pie plant” is the gift that keeps on giving, producing more fat stalks every year. It may look like celery and taste like the tartest lemon you’ve ever had, but boy oh boy, when you add some sugar, it suddenly sings a beautiful song.
For this bread, I was inspired by a photo. You probably saw it somewhere in your internet travels. Melissa Clark made a striking pound cake that was featured in the New York Times, with stalks of poached rhubarb arranged across the top. I thought, hey, I don’t need a rich cake, but I’ve got some ripe bananas and fresh blueberries.
And lots of rhubarb from the garden.
So I poached some rhubarb stalks to fit across the top of my loaf pan. Then I made a moist, lemon-spiked banana bread batter, and sprinkled in some blueberries. I topped it with the rhubarb stalks, and baked it. Once it came out of the oven, I thought it called out for a sprinkle of sparkly Turbinado sugar.
Since the rhubarb was just on top of the bread, I wanted more rhubarb. So, while it baked, I cooked up a quick compote of rhubarb with a splash of vanilla.
So easy, so delicious.
We gobbled it up for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
Eat what’s in season, and you’ll be in harmony with the planet. It’s a pretty tasty way to live.
Want a few more rhubarb recipes?
Rhubarb Blueberry Banana Bread
- 8 ounces rhubarb stalks
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 medium ripe bananas mashed
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- 1 pound rhubarb chopped
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- First, combine the sugar and water and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Trim the rhubarb stalks into 5 inch lengths (to match the size of your loaf pan) and add them to the simmering syrup, cook for 1 minute, then take off the heat and let cool completely. Use a slotted spoon to remove the stalks carefully from the syrup, placing them on a plate. Reserve the syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 5 inch wide loaf pan with parchment paper, cut so that the paper hangs over the side to help you remove the loaf when done. Lightly oil the pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
- In a cup, stir the milk, lemon juice, flax and vanilla. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Mash the banana in a small bowl. Stir the banana and the oil into the milk mixture, then stir that into the flour mixture. When just mixed, fold in the berries and scrape into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, then arrange the poached rhubarb stalks across the top. Press down lightly but leave the sticking up a bit so they can sink.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out with no wet batter attached. Cool on a rack for 15, then use the paper to lift the loaf out and let it finish cooling. Sprinkle with Turbinado to cover. Slice in between the rhubarb stalks at serving.
- For compote, place rhubarb and sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir as the mixture gets juicy, and once it's soupy, bring to a boil and stir until the rhubarb is tender. Take off the heat and let cool.Serve over the bread.