If your garden is overflowing with rhubarb, as mine is, or if you're seeing rhubarb at the farmer's markets and wondering what to do with it, please, please make Rhubarb Shortcakes with Caramel Sauce. Another recipe I had tucked away for many years without ever trying, I pulled it out last weekend when we hosted a dinner at our house for two other couples.
The sweet caramel sauce compliments the glistening baked rhubarb beautifully. We should not have been hungry for dessert after appetizers, a salad that could have been a meal itself, and southern "barbecued" shrimp ( all of these recipes will be posted in the upcoming days ), but everyone cleaned up their bowls. This is a dessert I will be making again before the end of rhubarb season.
RHUBARB SHORTCAKE with CARAMEL
adapted from chef Harlan Peterson
• 3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (preferably organic)
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup light brown sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 1 egg
• 4 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• 3 tablespoons whipping cream
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup whipping cream, firmly whipped
1. Prepare rhubarb: In a baking dish combine rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Cover and bake in a preheated 350˚F oven about 20 minutes, or until rhubarb is just tender. Keep rhubarb chunks intact; do not break up by stirring. Remove from oven.
2. Make shortcakes: In a bowl, cut butter into flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine egg and cream and stir into flour mixture until dough just comes together. (I did all of this in my food processor).
3. Drop dough in six portions onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 400˚F oven about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
4. Make caramel sauce: In a small saucepan combine sugar and water, cover, and bring to a boil. When sugar has melted, remove lid. Cook gently until liquid is deep golden brown. remove pan from heat and slowly whisk in cream and butter. If caramel is not smooth, return to heat. Set aside.
5. Prepare shortcakes: Split biscuits in half and place bottom halves in bowls. Spoon warm rhubarb sauce over biscuits.
6. Spoon dollop of whipped cream on top of rhubarb and replace top of biscuit. Pour about 2 tablespoons caramel saucer over the top biscuit.