Apple and Rhubarb Shortcake
3 May 2006

Remember the rhubarb and apples from yesterdays post? They are back. And as I had suspected, it wasn't particularly hard to find a recipe that sounded good to me to make. What was actually hard was narrowing down between the 5 different ones I couldn't pass by. I did finally decide, and went with a variation on the shortcake recipe in Bills Food... primarily because it used a spring form pan and I had a new 5.5" one that I hadn't yet had a chance to use. The recipe actually calls for a 9" pan, but as I said, I made a variation... using rhubarb and orange peel instead of lemon and blueberry... and I made it double decker, with a layer of the dough between two stuffings of apple and rhubarb. The rhubarb was definitely a good choice (although I'm sure it's amazing with blueberries)... I'm still undecided on the double decker aspect. The cake is a lot like a scone, so it's just a bit on the grainy side rather than a typical cake-like texture. This is great in small doses, but three layers of it may be a bit much. On the other hand, I'm going back for a second piece, so I'm really not complaining. Lots of local and organic products went into this cake - the apples and rhubarb are from local (well, somewhere in Washington) farms, the butter and eggs are from the Northwest (which probably means Oregon) and the flour and sugar (along with the other stuff) was organic.

apple rhubarb shortcake
Apple and Rhubarb Shortcake Makes 1 5x5 cake, which serves 4 to 6 3 firm tart apples 3 stalks of rhubarb 1 teaspoon orange peel 2 T sugar 1 T lemon juice 4.5 oz unsalted butter 1/2 cup caster sugar 1 egg 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 t baking powder cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling Peel and core the apples, and slice them into 16ths. Quickly coat them with lemon juice to prevent the from turning brown. Peel the stringy outer layer from the rhubarb, and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Mix the rhubarb and the apples together in a medium pot along with the orange peel, sugar and 2 T of water. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples and rhubarb just start to get soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature. Mix the butter and caster sugar until they are well creamed... a light yellow color and soft and smooth. Scrape the edges of the bowl, and then add the egg and beat until it is well incorporated. Sift the flour and baking powder into the batter, and stir until mixed. It seems to work best to use your fingers to do this, once you've done the first bit of stirring. Then, turn the dough (it should be sticking together pretty well at this point, but will still be sticky) out onto a floured surface and gently knead. The dough will be very soft... it will kind of be like kneading sugar cookie dough. Just go gently and use flour to prevent it from sticking. Then, break the dough into 3 pieces (or 2 pieces if you are using the 9" spring form pan), wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F and remove the dough from the fridge. Take the first piece of dough, and roll it out, gently, on a floured surface. to just larger than your pan. It should still have some thickness to it. Carefully pick it up (I had some stickage problems), and place it into the non-stick spring form pan. The dough should come up the sides aways. If it tears, just pinch it together again... it won't be a big deal. Then, top the dough with the apple/rhubarb filling. I found using a slotted spoon worked well and kept to much liquid from being added. Sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar.
apple rhubarb shortcake
Then, roll out the next piece of dough the same way, and place on top, and pinching together with the bottom dough. If you are double decking, repeat with more apples and the other dough. When you've put on the top, lightly spray (or brush) with a bit of water and sprinkle some more sugar and cinnamon.
apple rhubarb shortcake
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes in the springform pan.
apple rhubarb shortcake
To serve, I'd recommend a light fruity sauce (maybe raspberry or strawberry rhubarb) or some whipped cream. However, it's quite delicious served just on it's own as well.
apple rhubarb shortcake

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