You thought there wouldn’t be a strawberry or/and rhubarb recipe on this blog this spring?! – Of course not! How could I leave out these great spring fruits! (I know, botanically rhubarb is a vegetable.)
Besides a strawberry cake I am still experimenting with, rhubarb stalks and strawberries were excessively used in my kitchen the last weeks.
Some things I made were
– strawberry Eton mess (similar to this)
– a braided brioche filled with strawberries (based on this recipe)
– classic rhubarb compote.
Recipes I still want to try before the season’s over:
– this strawberry rhubarb coffe cake, because it looks so moist and crumbly at the same time,
– these strawberry rhubarb crisp bars, because they pretend to be healthy,
this creamy and elegant looking rhubarb tarte with ricotta and mascarpone.
… And while I was baking, in the corner of the kitchen stood this pot with diced rhubarb and strawberries fermenting along. But this is nearly the end of the story.
Let’s begin at the starting point. This was nearly a year ago, when – for the first time in my life – heard about “shrubs” on Careys blog Reclaiming Provincial. I read some more about the background of shrubs here and kept the idea of a fruit, sugar and vinegar based syrup in my mind and tried Careys cold-process-shrub with the first rhubarb stalks this season … to find out that – although I am a afficionada of everything tart – I found it just too sour, the taste of the white vinegar too intense.
So I made some adjustments: I reduced the tanginess by using now white balsamic vinegar. Additionally I heated the vinegar up till boiling, let it cool down and then poured it over the fruit – to loose the sharp tones. A also came back to the classic strawberry rhubarb flavour combination. The 1:1 ratio produced a shrub with a good balance of sweetness and tartness. Apart from this I sticked to Carey basic recipe ( 2 cups, fruit, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups vinegar).
Now I can say: this is right up my alley! Mixed with lemonade or sparkling water it makes a refreshing beverage, combine with gin or bitters and you have a complex aperitiv.
Meanwhile there are already new horizons of refreshing and healthy summer drinks awaiting exploration: water kefir lemonade … I am curious!