Cookbook Spotlight: Almanak by Claus Meyers (+ a rhubarb muffin recipe)
One of my most treasured souvenirs from time spent living in Scandinavia is my stack of Danish cookbooks. When I needed to use up some rhubarb the other day, I knew this cookbook stack would provide me with a recipe. While living in Copenhagen, I enjoyed rhubarb's status as a celebrated ingredient in the city, where it popped up in everything from pastries to compotes to sodas. For this spotlight, I chose Claus Meyer's book Almanak, which focuses on seasonal Danish recipes throughout the year. Meyers owns a bunch of businesses in Copenhagen, including Meyer's Bageri, where I spent many a Danish kroner on artisan breads and pastries in the name of culinary research. In recent years, Meyers has expanded his entrepreneurial presence to New York, and with a quick internet search you can even buy some of his cookbooks in English now. But back in the day, I received his cookbooks in Danish, so I'm used to Google translating my way through each dish. To start out, I made rhubarb muffins from Almanak, then made some rhubarb butter to go with them: rhubarb cooked down with orange zest, orange juice, sugar, salt, water, a dash of Peychaud's bitters, and mixed with unsalted butter.
Rhubarb Muffins, adapted from Claus Meyers "Almanak"
2 stalks rhubarb
2 tbsp granulated sugar
unsalted butter, softened, 100 grams
cane sugar, 200 grams
eggs, 3 each
all-purpose flour, 100 grams
coconut flour, 50 grams (*you can also use thinly shredded coconut, which the original recipe calls for. Shoutout to my Danish friend Tanja for correcting my translation! I used fine coconut flour and they still turned out tasty. I made the switch accidentally because Google translate does not recognize the nuance of fine coconut flour versus shredded coconut! For a more coconut-heavy flavor, use the shredded coconut.)
Instructions: Dice the rhubarb into small pieces and toss the pieces in a bowl with 2 tbsp sugar. Set aside for 20 minutes. Cream together softened butter and 200 grams cane sugar. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add AP flour and coconut flour, incorporate. Drain any liquid from rhubarb and add rhubarb to muffin batter. Fill muffin liners and bake at 355 F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve muffins with jam, rhubarb butter, or the condiment of your choice.