I have always been fascinated with the rhubarb plant with its giant, inedible leaves and thick, juicy stems. It is a gardener's friend because rhubarb is one of two vegetable plants that return season after season. (Asparagus is the other one).
Rhubarb, although actually a high-calcium, tangy-tasting vegetable, has been categorized as a fruit because most rhubarb recipes contain sugar.
The most famous use for this flavorful stalk is to companion it with strawberries in a pie. Rhubarb is affectionately called the "pie plant".
The recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake is deliciously flavorful as well as colorful. It makes a wonderful addition to breakfast or brunch. It also gives me another reason to love this fruit!
Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake
1 ½ C fresh or frozen (thawed), rhubarb, 1-inch pieces
8 oz frozen, sliced strawberries, thawed
½ C sugar
2 ½ T cornstarch
1 ½ C flour
½ C sugar
½ tsp each baking soda, baking powder and salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 stick butter or margarine
½ C milk
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp almond extract
1/3 C sugar
2 T flour
2 T butter or margarine
2 T coconut, flaked
Combine the strawberries and the rhubarb in a small saucepan. Heat on medium for about 5 minutes. Chop rhubarb pieces in half. Combine the sugar and the cornstarch well and add to the fruit mixture. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened. Cool.
In a large bowl, combine next 6 ingredients. Mix well. Cut in the ½ C butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. In another bowl, combine the milk, egg and almond. Beat well. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Spread the batter in a greased 8x8 baking pan. Spread the cooled strawberry filling evenly over the batter. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Add the coconut and mix evenly. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the fruit mixture.
Bake 350 for 40 minutes or until evenly browned on top. Remove and cool before serving. Makes 9 serving squares.