When the rhubarb (rabarber in Swedish, ruh-BAR-bur) comes up in Sweden, you know spring is here. This past week the warm weather and sunshine made a welcome return to what seemed to be a very cold spring, and the rhubarb in my mother-in-law’s garden is just big enough to make use of.
About this time last year, we made a weekend trip to Aarhus, Denmark and visited Den Gamle By (the old village). It is a very interesting open-air museum with buildings from roughly 1550 to the 1970s moved there from around Denmark to create a historic urban village. It is also a living history museum with people who interpret life in a time gone by. In one of the older sections of the village, there were two women making pancakes in a cast iron skillet over a wood fire stove. We arrived after the pancakes were already finished and they were cleaning up the stovetop by brushing the ashes away with the feathered wing of a bird. They offered us a taste of the smokey pancakes filled with creamy rhubarb. My kids loved it and later asked if we could try to make it at home.
I’m not certain what was in the filling we tried, but this version seems to fit the bill as my girls request it as soon as there is rhubarb in farmor’s (father’s mother) garden. It can be used as a filling in Swedish pancakes as shown above, or as a topping for ice cream.
makes roughly 2 cups
3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 tablespoons water
3/4 – 1c sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
Put the rhubarb, water, and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium high heat stirring often till rhubarb breaks down, about 10-15 minutes. Large pieces may need to be broken up with a spoon while cooking to help the process along. Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water and add to the rhubarb, keeping it on high heat and stirring until the mixture thickens. Once it is a spreadable consistency, remove it from the heat and stir in butter. Serve warm or at room temperature with Swedish pancakes or over ice cream.