Rhubarb endears itself to me a little more each year. A few weeks ago, I found myself suddenly in my childhood home just as Spring took over the landscape, transforming stagnant trees into leafy towers. I walked the perimeter of the property to take it all in and spotted my mother’s rhubarb patch. The rhubarb leaves, poisonous to the bite, looked like a lush green island amidst the yet to be planted garden surrounding it.
My great-grandmother referred to it as ‘pie-plant‘, a vegetable which made for wonderfully tart desserts and a perfect pairing with sweeter fruits. Myself, I am a purist when it comes to rhubarb though. Don’t hide its flavor or tartness by mixing it with anything. Let the rhubarb be pucker-your-mouth, wrinkle-your-nose, squint-your-eyes – delicious. Of course, I always add a little cinnamon – that’s ok. Cinnamon is a must with rhubarb.
I flipped through my mothers recipes looking for rhubarb bread. For some reason, it just stuck in my head as the perfect use for the rhubarb even though my mother rarely made it. I couldn’t find her recipe but magically the local newspaper published one and I clipped it out. The clipping made its way back to Vancouver where I tweaked and fussed with it yesterday. It’s delicious. A moist, cinnamon infused sweet bread with tart explosions in every bite.
Buttermilk Rhubarb Bread
inspired by a Gratiot County Herald recipe
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup diced rhubarb
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Mix all bread ingredients in a large mixing bowl
- Generously grease a bread pan. You can also line the pan with parchment paper for even easier removal once baked.
- Pour the batter into the pan
- In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and blend with your fingers until combined. Sprinkle over the batter.
- Bake at 325F (160C) for 55-65 minutes or until it tests done.
- Allow to cool before tipping out of pan. Be careful when removing from the pan. I didn’t allow it to cool (impatience) and part of it broke apart when I tipped it out.
This is my first time making this recipe. I might increase the flour by 1/4 cup next time to make the batter a bit thicker.
The bread smells amazing while it bakes and fills the house with a spicy scent. Joe remarked, “it smells like a really good candle in here.” Ahh, bless him … that’s his way of complimenting my hard work. He’s right though, it did smell like a really good candle. With the growing popularity of rhubarb, it’s only a matter of time until rhubarb candles reach a store near you!
More rhubarb recipe ideas:
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie – Simply Recipes
Rhubarb Fool – Real Epicurean
Rhubarb Margarita – Andrea’s Recipes
Rhubarb Cobbler – Smitten Kitchen
Rhubarb Tart – La Tartine Gourmande
Red Wine-Poached Rhubarb – David Lebovitz