I am writing to express my disappointment and dismay with your recipe for rhubarb and raspberry cobbler. Has anyone else told you it didn’t work?
I had been looking forward to cooking and eating this so much. I have a bit of a thing for rhubarb, and have collected many recipes over the years for rhubarb treats - crumbles, pies, tarts - including yours. The fact I can’t grow decent rhubarb tends to mean these recipes lay untouched in my recipe folder, taunting me each time I flip thru them.
However recently at the local farmers market I found the holy grail of rhubarb: long, fat, deeply garnet stems. I wasn’t able to bake that week so I left them at the stall – and their memory burned bright within me all week until I could return and claim two heavy bunches as mine. Your rhubarb and raspberry cobbler recipe was magnetted to my fridge, anticipation was running feverishly high - yes, all over rhubarb.
It started off so well, and there was much domestic bliss in the kitchen as I cut, assembled and flavoured the fruit. I’ll admit I used much less sugar than you specified, as almost half a kilo set my teeth on edge just reading about it. I also had no Cointreau - which is perhaps a deficit in my cooking-liquor cabinet that I need to rectify - but I do not think these tweaks would have contributed to the failure that lay ahead.
The cobbler dough too was fabulously easy to make; flattening it out using my marble rolling pin was, to paraphrase Nigella, deep, deep pleasure.
So all went well in the pre-oven phase. The kitchen started to fill with a lovely tang of orange and rhubarb as baking progressed, then finally, I could see - as per your instructions - the ‘fruit (was) bubbling and pastry (was) golden and risen (25-30 minutes)’.Frangipani Fabrics. Isn't it bold?)
I removed them from the oven, in awe of their rustic loveliness - see, I’d taken my time cutting the cobbler’s shapes and making it look pretty. I’m not usually one for pretty in my food, so this shows you how much I invested in this recipe.
I took some photos, then let them cool to have them later with my evening meal.
The rhubarb was raw. Not merely undercooked, but hard, crunchy, ugly. The underside of each and every little petal of cobble I’d arranged - slimy and raw. Obviously, despite original appearances, half an hour’s cooking time was nowhere near sufficient. This was not a good thing to realise late in the evening when I’d been waiting all day - no, waiting weeks. It was too late to put the oven back on, though it did cross my distressed mind. No. I prized off the cobbler and set that aside to deal with later, and scraped the raw rhubarb into a saucepan to simmer it gently. But before I knew it, the chunks of rhubarb disintegrated and became one large mass. Delicious tasting with the orange zest, but essentially what I had here was stewed rhubarb, which I could have made using my own anaemic undersized stalks, not those dark fat beauties bought especially for this recipe.
At which point, I called my mother, had a bit of a teary breakdown (it was late, I was hungry, I was upset), then consigned the lot into a container to have on my breakfast muesli the next day; the semi-raw cobbler went into the freezer for mum’s chooks, who have no idea how the recipe was supposed to turn out like and so will not be so heart-breakingly disappointed by the waste of time, ingredients, desire or faith in your recipe.
E (Dig In)