I was introduced to rhubarb via desserts at a young age. My father, like his immediate family, has a huge sweet tooth and a special love for any type of homemade baked goodie. (As the oldest of five kids, he was notorious for quickly eating his dessert and then helping himself to the portion of the sibling who had the misfortune of sitting next to him at dinner.) He grew up on and surrounded by farmland in northwestern Pennsylvania where rhubarb abundantly resurfaced every year in the family garden. He remembers his mom simply stewing rhubarb stalks in sugar until they turned into soft, runny, sweet tart goodness.
Over the years as I dabbled in the kitchen, any recipe that featured rhubarb was an automatic rip-out from a magazine or dog-eared in a cookbook to try out on my dad. Being from a large family, he’d eat it all – whether it was perfected or not. A rhubarb slump recipe became a favorite over 15 years ago – torn from a Cooking Light issue – long before websites, recipe apps or blogs were in fashion.
Upon seeing the red stalk beauties at a Lancaster County farm stand this weekend, I knew it was time for another round of rhubarb slump for my dad, just in time for Father’s Day.
So, here’s to my dad, for giving me a love of the land and for those who work tirelessly on it. And for always eating everything I’ve ever cooked for him with gusto and appreciation. xxxoo
(Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine circa 1990s)
A slump is similar to a grunt – a fruit concoction with biscuit-like dough dropped into the sauce and cooked stovetop. Depending on how much rhubarb I have, I use more or less strawberries – aiming for about 6 total cups in cut fruit and vegetable (yep, rhubarb is a veggie.)
Makes 6 – 8 servings
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter, chilled
1/3 cup buttermilk
4 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups strawberries, cut in half
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Combine flour through baking soda in a large bowl. Cut butter into mixture with pastry knife. Slowly add buttermilk until dough is formed.
In a large ovenproof skillet, add rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and ¼ cup water.
Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Combine remaining ¼ cup water and cornstarch. Pour into rhubarb mix; bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. Turn heat to low and drop dough by the tablespoon into rhubarb sauce.
Cover and cook 10 – 15 minutes until dumplings are baked through. If desired, brown under broiler for 2 – 3 minutes. Serve with heavy cream or ice cream.