Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rhubarb Desserts

Rhubarb season is quickly drawing to a close. Tonight I used up the last bit of mine by making two of our favorite rhubarb dishes. One we enjoyed for dessert and I sent the other along with Josh to his Bible study tonight. I sure hope there's a bit left for me to enjoy once he gets home!

Both recipes came from dear friends at our church. I love to think of them whenever I bake these delicious desserts.

Barb's Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp

2-3 C blueberries (frozen or fresh)
2-3 C rhubarb
(I rarely measure these. I just dump until the bottom of a 9x13 pan looks full)
1/2 C flour

**If you choose to just use rhubarb and no blueberries use 4 cups of rhubarb, 1/4 cup of flour, and 1 cup of sugar. With the blueberries you really don't need any sugar.**

Mix flour and fruit in a greased 9x13 pan.

For the topping:
1 C brown sugar
1 C oats
1 1/2 C flour
1 C butter

Mix the ingredients together with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the fruit.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Grandma Mary's Rhubarb Cake

1 yellow cake mix prepared according to box directions.
Spread cake mix in a greased 9x13 pan.

Over top of the unbaked cake mix spread the following mixture:

2 1/2 C rhubarb
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C heavy cream

Mix these ingredients together before spreading over cake batter. If desired you can include a little cinnamon or nutmeg.

Bake at 350 until the cake tests done. This will typically take a little longer than the box indicates.

The rhubarb will be on the bottom of the cake. And the cream will have created an incredibly moist cake.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Strawberry Freezer Jam

So many people have asked how I make strawberry jam. If you have some extra freezer space this recipe is my favorite. It stays a beautiful pink/red color and is a taste of fresh strawberries throughout the year.

I simply use the recipe for freezer jam found in the PINK box of Surejell. I always buy the pink box because the resulting jam isn't overly sweet. Strawberries fresh from the garden are sweet enough on their own.

Clean and remove the tops from about 4 cups of strawberries.

About one cup at a time, mash the strawberries with a hand masher. Jam should have chunks, so don't worry about getting your strawberries completely mashed.

Continue to add berries and mash until you have EXACTLY 4 cups. Measurements are very important in making jam if you want it to set properly, so measure carefully.

In a bowl combine 3 cups of sugar and one package of the surejell (pink box). Mix well. Then pour it into a saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Place on medium high heat until the mixture begins to boil. Be sure to stir CONSTANTLY throughout the cooking process. Once the sugar water begins to boil, time it for 1 minute, stirring all the while.

After the minute is up, remove the pan from the heat. Add the berries and stir for one minute.

Ladle the mixture into jars and cover with lids.

These jars will need to sit at room temperature for about 24 hours before going into the freezer or fridge. This will ensure that the jam sets up well.

The jam can be frozen for a year or kept in the fridge for 3 weeks.

If for some reason your jam doesn't set up, you can always use it on ice cream or in other desserts. Don't throw it out! But if you follow these directions, you really shouldn't have any issues.

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A fresh bit of summer all year long!

I LOVE strawberry rhubarb pie. In fact, I think it's my absolute favorite kind of pie. I always get a little jealous of my family members with June birthdays because they can choose it for their birthday dessert. But my birthday is in December and every year I long for the taste of summer on my special day.

Until this year I hadn't found a good way of preserving strawberries and rhubarb. I've tried freezing the fruit separately, but both end up watery once defrosted. I've been leery of canning the pie filling because the recipes I find are so different from my tried and true pie filling. Plus, in the pictures I've seen of canned pie filling the fruit is always a little off color.

This year I stumbled across this blog on pinterest. The author claimed that creating the pie filling and then freezing it fully prepared in a ziploc bag would work. I was a bit skeptical, but decided to try it.

Oh my, delicious!

I froze two pie fillings. I then waited a week before defrosting and baking. The pies were amazing. The first one turned out a little watery so with the second I simply drained off a little of the excess liquid. It set up so well and was incredibly good. Today I made five more batches to save for winter. I can't wait to pull them out of the freezer and enjoy the taste of fresh summer fruit in the dead of winter.

Here's how:

Step 1: Harvest your rhubarb and your strawberries.
(You really don't want to wait too long to get to your rhubarb. If it has holes in the insides of the stalks, you've waited too long. It can end up with a "woody" taste if you wait too long.)

Step 2: Chop your berries and rhubarb into small pieces. About 3 cups of each.

Step 3: Add in the sugar and flour. Allow the ingredients to maserate (mix) for about 20 minutes. You will no longer notice the sugar and flour as you stir, but instead will see a bit of syrup forming around the fruit.

Step 4: Place the mixture in a freezer bag. I highly recommend getting a vacuum sealer like this one. Ziplocs work but will allow freezer burn after an extended time in the freezer.

Step 5: Once ready to make a pie, simply defrost your bag, remove a little bit of the excess liquid, make a pie crust and bake.
(For best results, allow your pie to set overnight. The filling will thicken and you'll have a perfect pie in the morning.)

(photo credit)



3C strawberries, cut
3C rhubarb, cut
2/3 C flour
2 C sugar

Mix the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into prepared crust.

Top and Bottom Pie Crust:

2 C flour
1 stick + 2 T butter (not margarine!)
1 t salt
6 T very cold water

Mix all with a pastry cutter or by hand. Divide in half and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll out a bottom and top crust. Place bottom crust in the pie pan, fill with pie filling, cover with top crust. Turn excess crust under around all the edges to seal the pie. Flute with a fork or spoon. Poke a few holes in the top of the pie.

(It's always a good idea to bake a pie on top of a cookie sheet in case any filling oozes out.)

Bake at 425 degrees for 55 minutes.