It’s spring, finally! I went out in the garden and found two big surprises. The first was the utter audacity of suburban rabbits, so lulled into security, they actually built their nest to raise all five newborn bunnies INSIDE my fenced-in garden. I don’t think my garden can withstand another year of laissez-faire wildlife management, so I think this will be the year of the Havahart trap. Cue weeping and wailing from my soft-hearted city kids.
But on a brighter note, after five years of failure…my rhubarb plant survived the winter! Yes, I know, rhubarb is a weed and not difficult to grow. So I’ve heard. The piles of excess rhubarb stacked in the office break room table for the taking are just salt in my wound. For four springs in a row, I’ve walked sheepishly into the garden store with the dead rhubarb crown and my receipt. Every year, they’ve looked at me with pity, given me another fresh plant and a pep talk.
In addition to strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb shortbread is another favorite. This recipe will work with any jam, so feel free to be creative. The best thing about this recipe is that you can make the shortbread balls and freeze them, nearly forever. Then when you feel like making a little treat for Saturday breakfast or afternoon tea…just get the dough balls from the freezer, grate them into the pan with the layer of jam, and you’ve got an awesome pastry ready to go, even before the oven preheats!Print
- 1 pound rhubarb
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the Jam
- Place the rhubarb, sugar & water in a medium saucepan.Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring often, until the rhubarb almost melts into a silky jam. Add the vanilla and set the jam aside.
- Jam can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
For the Shortbread Dough
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. In a large mixing bowl fitted with the paddle blade, cream the shortening with the sugar until creamy and fluffy.Add the dairy-free milk and mix again until fluffy.Add the flour mixture and mix until blended.
- Gather the dough up, divide into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the freezer.
Putting it all together & baking
- Preheat oven to 350. Using a box grater, grate one dough ball into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.Spread the jam over top. Grate the remaining dough ball overtop of the jam. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on a rack before cutting and serving, dust heavily with powdered sugar while still warm.