Monday, June 27, 2011

Honeyed Rhubarb Cobbler

A beekeeper holding a full frame of honeybees

The Slow Food Chicago Summer Solstice Potluck at the Chicago Honey Co-op on Friday night was so much fun!  Usually potlucks are a sad amalgam of mayonnaise-based salads and jello molds dotted with canned fruit... not this one!  As you would expect from an event attended by people who are interested in Slow Food, the dishes people brought were fantastic!  I had some really amazing sun-dried tomato empanadas, something with quinoa and mole, a salad with grilled peaches, almonds and goat cheese that my friend brought, wild salmon, artisan breads, and some really amazing desserts!  I brought a honeyed (thanks, bees!) rhubarb cobbler that was gone before I could even take a picture of it!  Whoops! 

Not only does the Honey Co-op have a ton of hives, produce completely chemical-free honey, raise queen bees locally (normally beekeepers have to order queens from other areas with longer summers), and offer beekeeping classes; they also have a small urban farm growing on the same property!  We walked around through the beds, looking at some really gorgeous plants.  A man named Banks who was busily weeding and pulling up some spring onions showed us around a little bit, pointing out plants we weren't familiar with and telling us about all the gardens he works on.  He lives closeby, he told us, and started gardening because he retired too early, and needed something to do to keep him busy.  He filled our hands with bunches of onions and told us to come back in a few weeks for some tomatoes.  As we drove home, my hands smelling sweetly of damp earth and onions, I felt so happy to have found slow food, urban farming and gardening, the Chicago Honey Co-op, and Banks.

Rainbow Chard
Spring onions, fresh from the ground!
(And wine in a paper cup.  Happy Summer!)
Honeyed Rhubarb Cobbler
adapted from Ree's recipe

Because I made this to take to a bee farm potluck, I thought it only fitting that I add honey to it.  I used orange-blossom honey, for its strong, flowery flavor.  Any honey would work, but this was phenomenal.  If you can get your hands on orange-blossom, DO IT.

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1-½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoons almond extract (optional)
2 T orange-blossom honey

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cups vegetable shortening or lard
¼ cups butter
½ cup whole milk
1 whole egg
more honey for drizzling, and raw sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine rhubarb, sugar, salt, almond extract, lemon juice and honey in a large bowl and set aside.  In another large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Add softened butter and shortening and work in with your fingers (or a pastry cutter or two knives).  In a small bowl (or Pyrex liquid measuring cup), whisk together the milk and egg.  Pour milk and egg into the flour mixture and mix together with a fork until just moistened.  Place the rhubarb mixture into a shallow, buttered baking dish, and plop small pieces of dough on top of the fruit.  Drizzle generously (I mean it - really go for it) with honey, and sprinkle with raw sugar for a little extra crunch.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown, and serve warm.  With ice cream or whipped cream, or with nothing at all (if you happen to be taking it to a potluck, like me).


  1. I thought I couldn't stand rhubarb until one of my coworkers brought in a pie... I started devouring a piece and couldn't place the taste, and was so shocked when she told me!

  2. I know! It's so delicious! :-)