As devotees of baked goods, the transition from spring to fall is, for us, best captured by strawberry and rhubarb, a classic odd couple. Rhubarb is a member of the sorrel family (Polygonaceae), and like sorrel, it’s high in oxalic acid, giving it a bright, grassy, almost lemon-like quality. This sourness, however, makes rhubarb an unsuitable solo player; alone, it has the austerity of a strict mother superior (as played by Maggi Smith in Sister Act).
Ah, but enter the sweet boldness of strawberry (Whoopi Goldberg, obvi.), and you have a beautiful sweet/sour synergy, bringing out the best in both. We had this in mind (and may have just watched Sister Act), when we came across David Lebovitz’s excellent coffee cake recipe (bonus fact: He has a Nom of his own!). So we threw caution to the wind and decided to make his recipe our own, bringing our seasonal dynamic duo to the party.
By macerating the ingredients sous vide, we managed to draw out much of the excess moisture (in turn producing a delicious syrup) while maintaining some structure. This made for the ideal add-ins for a cake batter, because the pieces remained intact without bleeding off too much liquid into the batter. And thus was a beautiful seasonal coffee cake born.