“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony”
What happens when you start to lose your balance? Do you stumble? Or trip while playing it off as though you meant to do that maneuver? Do you avoid the situation all together and just throw it away and start over? I tried my hand at a new recipe recently that lead me on quite the journey…
I offered to make a dessert for a recent dinner party. Easy enough right? I wanted something in season, not too complicated (there was beautiful weather to enjoy) and, hopefully, tasty.
I started with this:
Rhubarb and butter (or in this case Earth Balance spread). It was going to be turned into a rhubarb crumble. Easy right? The main difference I was noting as I read through the directions was the topping was going to be based on brown sugar and butter versus an oat topping. That should have been my first clue. I suppose somewhere in my mind I wanted to recreate these crumble bars my grandmother used to make at the restaurant years ago. I recall it was some type of fruit bar (probably canned cherry for all I know) but the topping was full of oats and brown sugar. The fruit was the highlight and the crust was thin and the topping was just right.
So I started in on the recipe. I had read through the recipe a few times to get my bearings. I always do that so I know what is coming up and what to expect. Just like in life, I am always trying to stay one step ahead! The bottom layer consisted of a thick cake batter which consisted of powdered sugar and more Earth Balance butter, flour and eggs. Now I must divulge my issue with this recipe.
Fresh rhubarb was chopped and tossed with some flour and a tiny bit of brown sugar. Honestly…I have never used so much brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar in a fruit based recipe before. That should have been my first tip off. In the directions the flour was divided so some was used in the batter and some to toss the rhubarb in. These are normal requests. What wasn’t normal was the odd way in which the amounts were written (or not written until the next step!). Needless to say my floured up rhubarb was too much, I ended up sifting out the excess flour into the trash can. Baking powder was in the mix but it was unclear as to which mix it should have gone in. The addition of the eggs (even though they were closer to room temperature than straight out of the fridge) caused the butter batter to become upset and break up. It was a sad moment.
As I was dirtying every dish in the kitchen (as it often happens when you have to re-do countless times) I finally just stopped the whole process. I deconstructed this recipe and used my baking smarts to see me through to the end. Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, crumble topping, baking time. Intuition carried me through.
The end result was ok. The guests enjoyed it (even the one who isn’t the biggest fan of rhubarb!). I know the additions I would make next time – fresh nutmeg and cinnamon, oats for the topping vs. straight sugar. This recipe reminded me of a rhubarb coffee cake. If you are looking for this recipe look at Martha Stewart’s original recipe – not ‘adaptions of’ – sometimes adapting is the wrong the way to go!
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