54. Wtf is rhubarb and can you eat it without strawberries?!

Fresh strawberries and rhubarb

I have been curious about rhubarb for a while, and since I mentioned in my last post that I would be experimenting with “interesting fruits” this summer, I thought that it would be perfect. Then I realized that rhubarb isn’t a fruit. Oh well!

My knowledge of rhubarb was extremely minimal just a few days ago (obviously) and the only way I had ever heard of it being prepared was in a dessert and with strawberries. So of course I had to come up with something else. I scoured Pinterest and just kept finding different versions of pies, crumbles, tarts, etc. But I NEEDED a savory recipe to try. Then I had this thought… what about pizza?! So I searched for rhubarb pizza, and what do you know, I found a fellow food blogger who had posted about a rhubarb pizza! The only problem was…it was in Polish. I already have a good pizza crust recipe, and wasn’t really very concerned with the sauce as I wanted it to be mostly olive oil and cheese and rhubarb. So I followed along the photos and saw that she was using what looked like goat cheese, mozzarella, basil, and rhubarb. I just wasn’t super sure how she was preparing the rhubarb. So I used google translate and that was a HUGE help (also the only way that I knew the website was in Polish to begin with).

Seeing as how I had never tried rhubarb before, I started to get the feeling that perhaps strawberry-rhubarb combinations are all I was finding for a reason. Maybe that’s the only way it’s worth eating?? Then I decided I should also try it that way just in case my pizza was a flop. That way I could make a real call on whether or not I liked it. So I decided to make strawberry rhubarb turnovers.

Fresh rhubarb stalk

Once I had an idea what I was doing, I went out into the world to acquire the rhubarb. I had recently seen it somewhere so I thought it would be easy to find. The problem is, I go to a lot of grocery stores and I couldn’t remember which one I had seen the rhubarb at. Oops. I tried Publix as I was there shopping for the week anyway. No luck. Then I attempted to try places that are convenient to my job or on the way home from work, so I hit Earth Fare (no luck) and Sprouts (no luck). Then I went to my trusty farmers market (Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market) and of course they had it. Because they always have everything.

First, I got started on my pizza crust so it could sit and rise. While that was working, I made the filling for the turnovers and set it aside to cool. During that time, I cooked the rhubarb and onions for the pizza. And during THAT time I prepared the turnovers and popped them in the oven. While they were in the oven, I assembled the pizza so I could get it in the oven as soon as the turnovers came out. It was quite the feat in multi-tasking, and messed up a good many dishes in the process. I had invited my mother-in-law over to join me for dinner, and I had a timeline to keep! But it all worked out perfectly.

It wasn’t until I had prepared the filling for the turnovers that I realized I was definitely going to like rhubarb. It smelled fantastic, especially once I added in the strawberries. I’m not afraid to say that we sampled them before the pizza was finished. Sometimes you just gotta eat dessert first! The tart flavor of the rhubarb goes so perfectly with strawberries, now I understand the classic pairing. The first tasters we ate without any sort of icing on top, but after the rest of them cooled off I added a little icing drizzle to the rest. Good either way in my opinion!

The pizza was really great, and super different with the rhubarb. I added marinara, mozzarella, goat cheese, basil, and the rhubarb onion mixture. So the rhubarb was a subtle flavor, and I thought it was just right! I wish I would have added some garlic and herbs to the pizza crust to really push it over the edge and make it bursting with flavor. But I love this pizza crust recipe because it holds up really well with toppings, but is still fluffy when you bite into it. I have been meaning to try it in a cast iron skillet for a more deep dish version….I’ll have to do that soon. This version, I give an A!

Rhubarb and cheese pizza
Rhubarb and cheese pizza

The turnovers. Oh, the turnovers. They were a little too good. I had a hard time giving them all away and not eating all eight of them. I would certainly give them an A+. And they’re honestly not very difficult to throw together. I once heard Bobby Flay praise store-bought puff pastry and say there was no reason you should have to make it yourself. Soooooo if it’s good enough for Bobby, it’s certainly good enough for me!

Strawberry rhubarb turnovers

If you like rhubarb, I challenge you to try it in a non-strawberry recipe – I’m sure you will love it! Especially if it’s this pizza!

If you aren’t sure if you like it, you NEED to make these turnovers! If you don’t like those, well then you and I likely can’t be friends, but also then I don’t think you like rhubarb.

Both recipes are mother-in-law approved!

Lessons learned here:

  1. Rhubarb is not a fruit. It is a vegetable that pairs insanely well with sweet fruits like strawberries. Also, apparently the leaves are poisonous so don’t eat those.
  2. Rhubarb is also good in a more savory dish!
  3. Season your pizza crust with herbs and garlic for a more robust flavor

Strawberry Rhubarb Turnovers

Ingredients

1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed
1 cup diced rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup diced strawberries
1 egg, beaten
sugar for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp milk
1 small splash of vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Add the rhubarb and sugar over medium heat and stir occasionally until rhubarb is softened, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Remove any liquid from the filling once it has completely cooled.
  5. Cut each sheet of puff pastry into four equal squares. Spoon the filling into the middle of the square and fold over into triangle shape. Pinch the pastry together to close, or use a fork to crimp the edges.
  6. Place the turnovers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops and edges with the egg. Sprinkle with a little sugar on top and then place in the oven for 16-18 minutes. They should be puffed up and golden brown.
  7. If you would like to add the icing drizzle, allow the turnovers to completely cool first. Then, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Drizzle over the turnovers.

Rhubarb and Cheese Pizza

Adapted from Every Cake You Bake

Ingredients

Crust
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 Tbsp kosher salt
hot water
olive oil
cornmeal

Pizza
2 stalks rhubarb, diced
1/2 small red onion
olive oil
your favorite marinara/pizza sauce
1 ball mozzarella
goat cheese to crumble on top
fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Prepare the pizza dough first (or you could buy pre-made if you desire) since it will take some time to rise. In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 cups hot water. Let rest at room temperature about 10 minutes, until it is foamy.
  2. Add in 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Mix well until dough ball forms. Slowly add in 2 additional cups of flour while mixing. Once mixed, form the dough into a ball, coat the bowl lightly with olive oil and turn the dough ball to coat, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. While the dough is rising, prepare the rhubarb topping. In a small pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and rhubarb and cook until rhubarb is soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. When the dough has risen, flour a working surface and knead the dough a a few times. Then roll the dough out until it is the size of a large pizza. Add to a pizza stone lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal. Poke holes all over the crust with a fork and then brush with olive oil. Spread the marinara sauce over the crust and begin to layer rhubarb topping and cheese. Top with fresh basil. Cook at 400°F for 15-18 minutes until crust is golden brown, broiling at the end to brown cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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