My daughter frequently reminds me of my years ago, first attempt, at making a pie: Strawberry Rhubarb. She pretty much tells me that all of my first attempts never turn out, but as the years go on, I think I have passed that first-failure stage, but not always.
This time, the first time was a charm. My garden rhubarb is just barely showing its leaves, so it will be a while before I can harvest any, but I came across some mammoth stalks in Paonia, along with some REAL strawberries, tiny heritage garden ones, the likes I don’t think I have ever had before. Fragrant and amazing. So, strawberry rhubarb is in the near future. I did not want to waste all that goodness on a big pie, which I am sure I can handle by now, but with little girl gone, and Dutchman mostly always gone, and no party in the foreseeable future, I wanted to preserve that goodness for a later pie, tarts, or sauce.
Four big rhubarb stalks make 6 cups.
Slice stalks down the middle and then slice into small pieces.
Add 3/4 cup kombucha
2 tbls vanilla (I use homemade vanilla extract, which is fresh vanilla beans in a jar filled with organic vodka. Use half the amount if you are using commercial vanilla extract.)
1 heaping tablespoon cinnammon
1/2 cup maple syrup
thinly slice and chop one Meyer lemon, with the luscious skin on (thank you Kelli)
Simmer with lid on for about 30 minutes until rhubarb is soft.
Cut the tops off the strawberries and cut them in half.
When the rhubarb is cooked, add the strawberries, turn off the heat and keep lid on for about 10 minutes.
Boil 1/2 pint jars in water, with the lids. Fill the hot rhubarb sauce in the jars, put on the hot lids and seal. The lids will pop down to a firm seal in a few minutes. I store jars like this in the refrigerator. If you want to store them long term in the pantry, do the extra step of boiling them in a hot water bath.
This made 6 jars 1/2 pints plus 1/2 which I put inside egg custards and on top of this mornings muesli.
The custard recipe was adapted from my very favorite new cookbook. My friend Francie Ivy has lovingly written and photographed her traditional heritage recipes and family favorites, from South Africa and beyond: “From My Kitchen, With Love.” I am so blessed to have her as a friend, and to have her wisdom in this book. I highly recommend you contact her and order one of these books for yourself, and I am sure she will autograph it for you. 🙂 Here is their gallery page where you can contact her and order one to be shipped to you, Open Your Eyes Gallery Gunnison Colorado, or if you are in Gunnison, stop by and pick one up, and experience the most glorious photographs and art of a lifetime.
So back to the custard.
3 fresh eggs, beat well.
2 cups whole, raw milk
1/4 cup maple syrup. beat well with whisk.
preheat oven to 300 degrees
Set 4, 1/2 pint mason jars in a pyrex dish, or a combination of 1/2 pint and 1/4 pint jars, which is what I had.
Fill up the pyrex dish around the mason jars with very hot water, up to 2/3 of the jar, for a bain-marie.
I added a spoonful of the rhubarb-strawberry sauce in the center of each custard, but you could add any special fruit you like. Cherries would be divine.
Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. The tops of these custards with the maple syrup were hard and crusty, which would have brought much joy to my mom, whose favorite dessert was creme brûlée with a charred sugar crust on top. Admittedly she was not very good with the blow torch, as I witnessed at several cooking schools she allowed me to attend with her. 😉 One evening after a cooking class near Washington DC, I can’t remember what one as she was taking me to look at colleges, we were having dinner the two of us, lobster something, her favorite. I was 17 and suddenly, a $250 bottle of champagne was delivered to our table by the sommelier.
He very graciously mentioned that this bottle was sent over by a table of two gentlemen, over there… I, of course, looked, “over there”, woah. She, however, did not. She looked into the sommelier’s eyes, thanked him graciously, as he watched her turn the very fancy business card over face down on the table, without even looking at it. I watched her eyes the rest of the meal, and never once did she look “over there.” After a spectacular meal, we walked right past their table, leaving the champagne bottle untouched on the table. hmmm. woah. (edit: It makes me laugh, thinking that I would even have to edit this, but for fear that there might be a misunderstanding. My mom was the WOAH, for real, in every sense of the word, certainly not the 17 year old.)
She was something else, but she never got the blow torch thing.
My man had the rhubarb sauce on his muesli with kefir this morning, and in one of these custards this afternoon, between moving half of the herd of sheep to Paonia. There is a pretty dry spell here and the coyotes are coming down sooner to get water, and the sheep are getting out on the highway and on borrowed time with the early coyotes. He wants to move all the cows (before Acacia has her calf in a couple of weeks) and the dogs, the chickens, and us… asap, and we will be camping with a milking machine and hopefully electricity for my cream separator. Hmmm, maybe I can practice on a blow torch?