5.22.2005

Candied Rhubarb, take 1

In the midst of my all-rhubarb, all-the-time fest, Cindy at Food Migration mentioned some delicious and unique candied rhubarb she had at dinner recently. So of course I pounced. She helpfully found a recipe (see her comment section), and between a cursory glance at the recipe and her description of said candied rhubarb, I went for it.

rawrhubarb
rhubarb slices on parchment, pre-cooking

Maybe I should have looked before I leapt.

rhubarb
post cooking, pre trying to peel them off the parchment, thinking, "maybe I
should pop them back in the oven so they'll soften again" thus pre-browing.
Sticking them back in the oven did nothing to free them. It just hurt my cause.

All is not lost.

Positive lessons learned:
  1. Candied rhubarb is delicious. It is like those sour gummy candies, only not so sour, and tasting like something that actually exists in the world. This is a food-stuff worth working on. Some of my pieces were gummy (the thicker ones). Most were too crispy, though.
  2. It is not going to take 8 hours, despite what the recipe says. This trial run lasted 3 1/2, which was too long for the thickness of slices I made. If I retain the super-thin slices, maybe 2, if I go thicker, maybe 3.
  3. There is some potential to create a sort of rhubarb syrup and make hard candy, that would also be unbelievably delicious. As the sprinkled sugar melted and mixed with the rhubarb juices, there was opportunity for some finger-lickin' sampling. Huge untapped potential there.
Negative lessons learned:
  1. Parchment paper + too thin slices of rhubarb + melted then hardened sugar + too long cooking = parchment paper coated rhubarb. I lost a lot of the candy this way. Very sad.
  2. Not really a lesson learned, more a question for further experimentation. I'm not sure what texture I want the candy to be. Crispy is fun. Crispy is yum. Crispy is hard to achieve. I used a veggie peeler and made the thin strips, but this left the last pieces as thick - these ones came out well, but a bit chewy gummy stick to your teeth-y.
  3. Check the oven more often. Even though rhubarb is super watery, even though the oven was only 180F, it dried out quickly and started to brown. I don't want brown candy.

3 Comments:

Blogger cindym said...

I am in awe of you. AWE!! You did it!

So, I'm trying to think of way to describe the exact texture of the strips from Lula's. I have nothing to compare them to, really. They shattered easily, and were so thin as to be almost translucent. It sounds like yours turned out this way, so I'd say that makes you the Rhubarb Master. I'm wondering about how to solve the sticking-to-parchment issue. Silpat? A light coating of Pam (uhh, I mean canola oil ...)?

5/22/2005 11:51 PM  
Blogger folkie said...

Holy Silpat Cindy! Thank you thank you. I own a silpat, which I have used twice, both previous times for candy making, but it just didn't occur to me. Maybe later today I will stop by the rhubarb patch.

5/23/2005 8:03 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

They shattered easily, and were so thin as to be almost translucent.

Would that be similar to the texture and properties of the outside of a candy apple?

Just the thing that popped into my head.

5/24/2005 9:06 AM  

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