Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crostata Invertita with Rhubarb

Rhubarb is delicious- and you can even enjoy it in other ways besides a strawberry rhubarb pie. Nevertheless, this inverted cake is somewhat similar to pie as it combines tender cake, which is similar to pound cake, with sweet and tart rhubarb that you marinate overnight in sugar.

Although you can bake this cake in a metal cake pan, I recommend a glass pie dish since you can easily monitor the fruit cake during baking and the sloped pan sides create a pretty inverted cake.

Crostata Invertita with Rhubarb

2 pounds rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk (I used 1%)

-Toss rhubarb and sugar in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the bowl sit overnight. Drain the fruit in a colander, saving the juice. The rhubarb should be softened and about 4 cups in volume.

-Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Smear a 9-10 inch pyrex pie dish with the 3 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar only on the bottom of the pan. (I didn't use all 3 tablespoons here, but don't be too skimpy or your cake won't release from the pan post-baking.) Spread the rhubarb in the pie dish and press gently to form an even layer.

- Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream together butter and sugar and beat for 2-4 minutes on high speed until the mixture is smooth and lightened. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, scraping the batter down in between additions. Beat mixture for another 2 minutes on high.

-Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in dry ingredients at low speed while alternating with the milk (add 1/3 of each at a time). Scrape down the bowl one more time and beat the mixture for another minute on high speed. Pour the mixture over the rhubarb and spread it evenly.

-Bake for ~80 minutes. (Place a pan under the cake to catch any rhubarb juices or cake batter than may drip during baking). After about 30 minutes, check to see if the fruit is bubbling and the cake top will be setting and starting to brown. Start checking the cake for at about 70 minutes with a toothpick. When inserted into the middle of the cake, the toothpick should come out clean and the cake should be golden brown.

-Place the reserved rhubarb juice in a small saucepan and reduce it over low heat until it has thickened into a reddish syrup.

-Remove the cake at let it cool for ~1 hour. Invert the cake before it completely cools, the pan should still be warm to the touch. Loosen the edges of the cake with a sharp knife, place a serving plate over the cake and flip the pan and plate upside down. The cake should release, but a quick shake/bump may be necessary to fully loosen the cake. Drizzle the rhubarb syrup over the cake and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

-Adapted from Lidia's Family Table (available on google books) pg. 378

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