you betta’ WORK

it should shock none of you that i’m a fan of instant gratification in the kitchen. i like my food quick, easy, and delicious.  But sometimes, a challenge comes along and you just know it’s going to be worth it.

And given the response I got to my first adventure in rhubarb, I bet more than a few of you will also be up for it. This is not a weeknight adventure (i speak from experience) unless you’re a bonafide night owl.  A weekend challenge, maybe for a Sunday when you don’t particularly want to go to the gym because you will get an arm workout like you won’t BELIEVE.

So what’s the pay off? If all the happy feelings of your first summer day at the pool could be put into a flavor, this would be it. Yea. Think about that.

Rhubarb Curd Shortbread
inspired by Not Derby Pie
curd adapted from Cook and Eat, who adapted it from Ginger Tablet
printable version (trust me this will be long enough)

Wash rhubarb and trim as little off the ends as possible. Cut rhubarb into 1-inch chunks. In a small saucepan, heat rhubarb, 1/4 sugar, and water on medium.

Cook until rhubarb falls apart and there are no whole pieces left, adding water by the tablespoon if rhubarb sticks to the bottom of the pan.

At this point, either use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, or (if you’re like me and your blender is otherwise occupied) push the mixture through a strainer. The first method is definitely easier.

no immersion blender: arm work out number 1. those little rhubarb guys are full of fibers that don't want to let liquid through.

Preheat oven to 350. Now, make the shortbread: blend all ingredients in a stand mixer or food processor until combined. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate about 1 hour. Then, either roll into 8×8 square and place square in 8-inch square baking pan, or dump dough into pan and use fingertips to press evenly into pan. Bake 30 minutes, until golden. Let cool on a rack or on the counter.

my crust never turned into anything but crumbs, despite ample chilling. begin: raised blood pressure.

...dump all the crumbs in and hope for the best.

ta-DA! victory!

Add a couple inches of water to the pot of a double boiler and set over medium heat. Put egg yolks, butter, remaining sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in the boil of the double boiler and whisk to combine.

egg separation success rate: 66%. lost 2 buggers in the process.

begin: arm workout #2

When sugar has dissolved completely, add the rhubarb puree by the spoonful, to temper the eggs.

so when you add something hot to raw eggs, you have to do it in small doses to bring the eggs up to temperature and not cook them and ruin the whole lot. The cruel joke is when those little knobs of butter start to melt down, what do they look like? scrambled eggs. begin: raised blood pressure #2.

When all rhubarb has been added, set bowl over pot; the water should be simmering. Continue stirring the rhubarb mixture; after about 5 minutes, the mixture will be warm and slightly thickened.

ta-DA! victory USA!

At this point, remove from heat. Press through a strainer — this will give your curd that smooth, pudding-like texture.

once your blood pressure has returned to normal, begin arm workout #3.

Use an offset spatula to spread curd evenly over shortbread. If you haven’t eaten half the bowl right then and there, you should have enough curd to make a layer about the thickness of the shortbread; I didn’t.

yea my off-set spatula is stored right next to my immersion blender. a butter knife will do you perfectly fine.

Bake another 10 minutes, then remove from oven and cool on rack. Refrigerate about 20 minutes, and you’ll find that they’ve firmed up enough to slice cleanly. Cut into 16 equal bars. Dust with powdered sugar before serving; do your best not to polish them all off in one sitting.

victory is mine! victory is mine! bring me all the finest muffins and bagels in the land!!

10 points if you get that reference. 20 if you don’t live inside the beltway.

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One response

  1. The reference is to the West Wing.. and while I do live within the Beltway, I am going to take all 20 points, because it was not quoted correctly. 🙂

    “Victory is mine, victory is mine, great day in the morning, victory is mine. I drink from the keg of glory, Donna! Bring me all the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.”

    Love you and this curdy deliciousness.

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