As a little girl growing up in Canada, one of my favorite spring ritual was sneaking into my neighbor’s garden and cutting the first stalk of rhubarb. Then I would dip the raw rhubarb in sugar and bite into what could be compared to sour candy today. How I loved puckering up to this sweet-sour creation! Although I’ve expanded my palate considerably, I still love finding the first rhubarb of the season at farmers’ markets and baking it/stewing it into many permutations. I can’t get enough of it! My morning oatmeat gets topped with rhubarb stewed with cardamom pods, barely sweetened, throughout rhubarb season. I love waiting for fresh rhubarb all year long.
Rhubarb has been documented in China as far back as 2700 BC where it was used for medicinal purposes. It was brought to Maine in the late 1700s then it spread to Massachusetts. It is a low calorie vegetable, often mistaken for a fruit as it is often used in desserts. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin K, calcium, lutein, fiber, vitamins C and folates, it is a nutritional powerhouse.
Many rhubarb recipes over sweeten it with cloying amounts of sugar or combine the vegetable with fruit such as the popular strawberry-rhurbarb combinations. I like to let the tartness of the rhubarb shine on its own and this recipe does just that. I’ve taken an old fashioned rhurbarb crumb cake recipe, substituted Greek yogurt for traditional sour cream and doubled the amount of rhurbarb. The cake is moist and just sweet enough to really taste the rhubarb.
Rhubarb Yogurt Crumb Cake
- 1 c sugar
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 c unbleached flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 c non fat Greek yogurt
- 5 c rhubarb, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
- zest of an orange
- 1/2 c light brown sugar
- 1/4 c butter, room temperature
- 1/2 c unbleached flour
- 1/2 t cinnamon (you could add nutmeg and ginger if you prefer)
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 X 13 inch baking dish and lightly flour.
Whisk the eggs, orange zest and yogurt together. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda in a large bowl. Fold in the yogurt mixture and gently mix in the rhubarb. Spread evenly into your prepared dish. It will be very thick.
In a smaller bowl, using a fork or your fingers, combine all the crumb ingredients and mix until it ressembles coarse oatmeal. Sprinkle over your cake.
Bake 45 minutes in the center of the oven.
Serve plain or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Variations are to substitute lemon zest and lemon yogurt.