Posted: May 19, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

I fell in love with rhubarb when I was 21.  I had just graduated from college and had agreed to travel to Denmark and Germany for almost a month with the family that I had been a nanny for during my last year.  We started in Copenhagen, spent some time in Hamburg, and even had a couple of days at the original Lego-Land, which was mildly entertaining, but not when you are toting around two children that are not yours while their parents criticize every move you make.  The best part, however; had to be the ten days we spent on an organic farm in the country outside of Copenhagen.  This was where I learned all sorts of new thing about fruits and vegetables.  Cucumbers, when left to their own devices, will grow curvy.  Fresh mango is the most amazing flavor in the world, and rhubarb is super delicious and WAY more versatile than I thought.  There was a rhubarb patch behind the farm house, so I would take the kids out in the afternoon and pick the biggest leaves so we could use the edible portion for dinner.

As a scientist I also this its pretty cool since the leaves are highly toxic to humans, but the stalk, also known as the petiole, that connects the leaf to the stem is completely edible.  One of my colleagues, who is a botanist, tries to accompany each of his plant anatomy lessons with ‘edible visual aids’ so he had carrots and ranch dressing for the kids when they were learning about roots, hot chocolate and coffee when they were learning about seeds, etc…  So the other day they were studying leaves, and he brought in rhubarb pie.  He offered me some of the left over and as I was shoveling it into my face, while trying to appear calm and casual I started thinking about different rhubarb recipes that I could try now that it is back in season.  In Denmark we made a lot of cobbler/crumble type desserts with rhubarb, and one morning we put it on our pancakes which was super delicious, but I wanted to do something a little bit different just because thats what I do.  So after thinking about it and looking around I came up with these:

Rhubarb White Chocolate Brownies:

The Brownies:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1cup sugar

2 Eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler until its smooth.  Take it off the heat and mix in the sugar, vanilla and eggs. Finally, add the flour and salt.


Cut rhubarb in appx 1/3″ slices until you have a full cup.  Put it in a small sauce pan with 1/3 cup water and 2 1/2 tbsp sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil for about a minute, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the rhubarb falls apart a bit when you stir it.  Remove it from the heat and pour it into a blender or food processor.  Let it cool for a few minutes and then blend it until it forms a smooth compote.

White Chocolate:

Melt white chocolate pieces with some heavy cream until it forms a smooth mixture that is thick, but pour-able.

I folded the rhubarb mixture in to the brownie batter, poured it into an 8×8 brownie pan and drizzled the chocolate over the top.  Bake for 45 minutes at 325, or until a fork in the center comes out clean.

The flavors all came together just like I wanted them to, and these bad boys are delicious with the sweet and tangy balancing each other out.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

1) The rhubarb flavor wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to be, so next time I think I will reduce the compote to concentrate the flavor.  I also might drizzle it over the top rather than mix it in with the batter, but that will probably be decided as I’m making it next time.

2) The white chocolate was a little dense and sort of sank into the batter as you can see from the picture.  I want to find a way to lighten up the mixture so that it hangs out more on the top.  Perhaps beating in some cream cheese?  Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

As we head in to summer, I am excited about all the produce opportunities that are coming my way, so hopefully I will end up with some great new summer recipes.

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.