Monday, July 21, 2008

My First Challenge: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

This week's recipe of Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler was chosen by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake. I was very excited about it as I love fresh cherries! So excited, in fact, I painted my toenails Very Cherry in celebration of the event. I have never used rhubarb for anything, so I didn't know what to expect. As a welcome-to-my-cult gift, Amanda of Beckett Bakes It gave me whole wheat flour, ginger and a pound of cherries. YUM!!

She also went to four different stores to try to buy rhubarb. As it turns out, rhubarb is a tough find in Alabama in July. After thinking of what I could possibly substitute for rhubarb ........ strawberries, apples, blackberries, blueberries, I called four more stores and finally was tipped off that the Publix in Trussville had it (thank you, Peggy!). After cruising the produce section for 20 minutes or so, I finally found's red celery.

On to my challenge. I halved and pitted the pound of cherries. Martha Stewart suggested I use a metal paper clip to loosen the pits -- total waste of time -- go back to prison and learn some useful tricks, sugar. I used a paring knife and halved the cherries and then twisted them apart and picked out each pit. My hands looked like they had just committed a heinous act. Next time I think I'll wear gloves - my fingernails are still stained. I then had to "peel" the rhubarb. I don't really know exactly what that means, but I am confident I didn't do it correctly. I tasted a piece of raw rhubarb....bleeeeeeck.....what person ate this the first time and said "ahhhhhh, a delicious new vegetable!" Moreover, why the cult following for this plant? I think I could have just cut some weeds out of my yard, "peeled" them and gotten the same effect. Better yet, I could have gone out into the yard and picked wild blackberries and not spent $4.99/pound. To the cherry / rhubarb mixture, I added sugar, ginger and cornstarch. It looked pretty delicious in the bowl all glistening in its syrupy goodness.

The topping for this cobbler is a whole wheat biscuit dough. The recipe provides instructions for preparation in a food processor. I do not yet own a food processor, so I thought I'd try to mix it in the blender. GENIUS! Wrong. After I spent the next 10 minutes trying to scrape pea-sized chunks of butter off the blender blade, I decided it was best to try to make by hand. The instructions stated it should look like most clumps and curds. I got something that looked like oatmeal ...... I think that might be correct. I then formed 20 balls out of the dough and placed in rows on top of the fruit mixture.

I was unimpressed by how little my biscuits rose. Maybe it's time for new baking powder. I think mine expired in 2006. The recipe suggested waiting 20 minutes for the cobbler to cool after cooking before eating. I had my bowl waiting for the 20 minute mark as it smelled pretty delicious. I was delighted in the cherries (not a big shock), but the rhubarb just tasted like a mush of somewhat crunchy nothing - should have gone with a berry. The whole wheat biscuit topping was pretty boring. I guess I have a preference for desserts whose sugar content is so high that you're confident you just rotted out a few teeth. I think I would have adored it if it had a streusel topping. Overall, cherries - YAY!, rhubarb - Boo!, and whole wheat biscuits don't belong on a cobbler.


The Becketts said...

WOW!!!!! You'll have to give me some photography lessons!!!!! What an amazing first blog!!!! It looks great. I am SO SO SO excited that you joined!!!

Engineer Baker said...

Glad I was tipped off to you joining in on the TWD fun - that looks fabulous! Lucky you to get a pound of cherries as a gift!

Susie Homemaker said...

great for a first timer (or a 10th timer, or 100th...) sounds like you have been doing this forever.
$4.99 a pound for rhubarb??? eeek! i didn't like paying 1.99. the free cherries must have made up for it a little!!
Welcome to our group!

Amy said...

Congrats on your first challenge. I have so much fun with this each week. Your cobbler looks beautiful!

Molly Loves Paris said...

Welcome to TWD. Your topping looks like it rose just fine. But it does take more to push up whole wheat.

kittymama said...

Your post was really funny! A few tips on pitting cherries - Oxo makes a cherry pitter that sells for around $10 - well worth the investment. Wms Sonoma has it online and I'm sure you can also find it at Bed Bath & Beyond. Alternatively, without the pitter, try smashing each cherry with the side of a big chef's knife to flatten it. Sometimes the pit just pops out when you do it or you may have to dig in a bit to get it, but much easier that way. (I do the same with olives).
Also, definitely try another rhubarb recipe sometime. It can be better than it was in this one.
Welcome to TWD! Sorry for long comment.

aaliyah said...

I am very happy that you joined up with your friend!

Your first post is wonderful and I look forward to more.

Your cobbler looks great and like you, my biscuits did not rise that much either so I figured that it was how it was supposed to be by checking out the other blogs first (daughters suggestion so I don't look stupid she said lol) and I found that most cobblers looked like mine! Yeah!

I pitted my cherries the same as you..with a paring knife and my fingers :).

Your funny and I look forward to reading about your Dorie adventure next week!

Jules Someone said...

Welcome to the group! I'm a huge rhubarb fanatic, so I must tell you to give it another chance. I never peel mine unless there are long strings. It's especially wonderful with strawberry. At least your cobbler looked lovely!

The Becketts said...

You used an ingredient that expired in 2006???!!! You're OUT of the club!! :-)

Pamela said...

Looks great. Sorry I'm late in getting over here, but I wanted to say WELCOME to TWD!