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Wine-Soaked Rhubarb and Poppy Seed Crisp and Cheddar Cheese Pecan Log

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Wine-Soaked Rhubarb and Poppy Seed Crisp
Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga
Servings: 6-8

Topping
3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup rye flour
1⁄4 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes

Filling
1 1⁄4 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced, divided
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1⁄2 cup red wine, divided
1⁄4 cup cornstarch
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F. 

In a food processor, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar with both flours, the oats, poppy seeds, orange zest, cardamom, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until a loose dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, forming small and large clumps of dough with your hands. Bake the crumble topping until cooked through but not browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar with half of the rhubarb, the strawberries, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest and juice. 

In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the red wine with the cornstarch to make a slurry.

In a 2-qt. saucepan, bring the remaining rhubarb and 6 tablespoons red wine and the granulated sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the rhubarb is tender, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the slurry, and cook, stirring, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the sauce to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce over the rhubarb and strawberries, and toss until evenly coated.

Scrape the fruit into an 8-inch square baking dish, and sprinkle the crumble topping evenly on top. Bake until the crumble topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve hot with a scoop of ice cream.


Cheddar Cheese Pecan Log
The Big Book of Appetizers
Yields: one 6-inch log 

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
½ cup minced fresh chives
¼ cup finely minced fresh Italian parsley

Crackers for serving

Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat until soft and creamy.  Add the milk, cayenne, Worcestershire, garlic, and cheddar cheese, and continue to beat just until the ingredients are combined.

Line an 8-by12-inch pan with parchment or wax paper, making sure there is a 3-inch overhang at each of the long ends.  Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the paper.  Drop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture onto the pecans.  Using a flexible runner spatula or an offset spatula, spread the cheese into the pan, making sure you reach into the corners.  Sprinkle the chives and parsley evenly over the cheese.  Using the ends of the parchment, gently lift the cheese out of the pan.  Starting at a long end, begin rolling the cheese into a log, as if you were rolling up a jelly roll.

Using the parchment paper, wrap the log, twisting both ends tightly.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.  Serve with crackers.
 

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