The Rhubarb Recipe Page – sweet things

Given that the name of my blog is “The Rhubarb Fool” I thought the time had come to make a special place for some of my favourite rhubarb recipes. I update this page from time to time as I find and try out new recipes.

PUDDINGS, SWEET DISHES

Stewed rhubarb

I pretty much always bake rather than stew my “stewed rhubarb” now as it’s simple method requiring no input from the cook and the rhubarb retains its shape rather than disintegrating into a stringy pulp.

The picture shows Yorkshire forced rhubarb fresh from the Oldroyd farm in the so-called “Rhubarb Triangle” between Leeds and Wakefield. The variety is Stockbridge Arrow which has a startling deep, deep pink, almost ruby colour. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

1lb/500g rhubarb
8 heaped tablespoons golden caster sugar
Grated rind and juice of an orange

Wash and trim the rhubarb and cut into neat pieces about 1 inch/2.5cm long. Place in a shallow ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the sugar, orange rind and juice. Cover and bake in a 200 degree C oven until soft. Check after 30 minutes to see how the rhubarb is doing. Tender Yorkshire forced rhubarb cooks more quickly than the more sturdy outdoor grown stuff.

Rhubarb fool – my version

One of my favourite puddings, very English so good for serving to foreign guests. You can dress it up (as in the picture – spooned into tiny shot glasses and decorated with pomegranate seeds) or down – it looks gorgeous served in a plain white china bowl with some crisp biscuits as an accompaniment. I prefer a fool made with proper custard rather than cream or cream and custard as some recipes suggest. I also like the rhubarb not to be perfectly smooth but to retain a little texture.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 recipe stewed rhubarb (see above)
3/4 pint/500ml thick proper custard made with egg yolks and cream (the supermarkets do some really good versions now – the Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference and Marks & Spencer versions are all excellent but be sure to pick the products made with egg yolks and vanilla without yellow food colouring)

Drain the cooking juices from the cooled stewed rhubarb and use to make a Rhubarb Martini (see next recipe). With a fork, mix up the rhubarb, breaking it up into a rough purée. Combine with the custard. Don’t mix it all in at once but hold back a little, tasting as you go, until the balance of the mixture is just right. If you like, stop mixing so that the finished fool has an enticing rippled effect.

Simon Hopkinson’s rhubarb fool

I’ve noticed that a lot of people visiting my blog have tapped a request for this recipe into their search engines. I don’t like to disappoint so here it is. It comes from one of my favourite cookery books “Roast Chicken and Other Stories”. The recipe serves 4 people according to Simon but I think it would stretch to 8.

Ingredients

900g/2lb rhubarb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
310g/11 oz caster sugar
grated rind of 1 small orange
350ml/12 fl oz double cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C/gas mark 5. Mix together the rhubarb, sugar and orange rind in an ovenproof dish. Do not add water. Cover and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour or until the fruit is completely soft. Drain in a colander and reserve the juice. Purée the fruit until totally smooth, then chill the reserved juice and purée until very cold.

Whip the cream in a large chilled bowl until the whisk forms ribbons. Carefully fold and stir in the rhubarb purée and some of the juice so the mixture is streaked, rather like a raspberry ripple ice-cream. This is the way I (Simon Hopkinson) like to do it because you get contrasts of pink, white and crimson rather than homogeneous pink blancmange-like appearance.

Recipe for rhubarb yogurt fool

Both Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver (amongst others) have hit on the idea of using thick and creamy Greek yogurt to make a quick rhubarb fool. This is the way I do it.

Ingredients

1 quantity stewed rhubarb baked in the oven (see recipe above)
1 200ml tub Greek yogurt (I like the Total full fat brand readily available in most UK supermarkets)

Allow the stewed rhubarb to cool and stir briskly to make a thick purée still with chunky bits in it.

Put the yogurt into a bowl and stir to incorporate any liquid which may have separated out to make a thick dropping consistency.

Layer dollops of yogurt with dollops of rhubarb purée either in 4 or 5 indivdual or 1 large serving bowls. Glass bowls will show off the gorgeous colours to best effect. Stir carefully just a little to create a lightly marbled effect.

Serve with your favourite crisp biscuit.

Recipe for rhubarb and orange crumble

My favourite rhubarb crumble recipe using the standard 3:2:1 proportions, simple but good. Serves 4.

Ingredients

zest and juice of 1 orange (about 3 tbsp juice needed)
500g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 1-2cm chunks (about 400g prepared weight)
50g golden caster sugar

For the crumble
170g (6 oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
110g (4 oz) butter
55g (2 oz) golden caster sugar
zest of an orange

Mix the rhubarb pieces with the orange zest and juice and tip into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the rhubarb.

Make the crumble. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Spoon the crumble mix over the rhubarb, distributing evenly but not compacting the crumble with your spoon.

Bake at 180 degrees C for 35-40 minutes until the crumble is slightly browned on top and, if you’re lucky, bubbling pink juice has begun to appear at the surface in one or two places.

Recipe for rhubarb cornmeal cake

From Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a Domestic Goddess”. Like she says it’s very versatile – you can eat it with a cup of tea or serve it with some proper custard as a pudding.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

500g rhubarb
300g golden caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
155g fine polenta/cornmeal (the quick cook stuff is fine)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g butter, softened at room temperature
250g thick natural yoghurt

Prepare a 23cm (9 inch) round cake tin by lining with a double thickness of baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4. Wash and trim the rhubarb and cut into 1/2 cm slices. Put into a bowl and add 100g of the sugar. Don’t let the rhubarb stand for more than 1 hour otherwise it will produce too much juice and make the cake wet.

Mix together the flour, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and polenta. Do not, as I did on one occasion, be tempted to use self raising flour as it makes the cake rise too quickly leaving the rhubarb at the bottom of the tin. With a fork, beat the eggs with the vanilla in a measuring jug or small bowl. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the remaining sugar and gradually add the egg and vanilla mixture, beating while you do so. Then add the flour/polenta mixture alternately with the yoghurt. They just need to be combined: don’t overmix.

Finally, add the rhubarb together with its sugary juices, folding in to mix, and then spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour until the cake surface springs back when pressed gently with a (clean!) forefinger. Check the cake after 30 minutes’ cooking time as you will almost certainly need to turn the oven down a notch and/or cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent it browning too much.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes before attempting to turn out.

Recipe for Chardonne rhubarb tart

From Marianne Kaltenbach’s “Aus Schweizer Küchen” where the recipe is titled Gâteau à la rhubarbe à la mode de Chardonne/Rhabarbekuchen. It is most definitely a tart rather than a cake. This is Swiss-German language cookbook but the recipe is from French-speaking West Switzerland, specifically the tiny wine village of Chardonne in the canton of Vaud. Ms Kaltenbach suggests drinking a glass of Chardonne wine with the tart – an excellent idea if you can get hold of some (Nick Dobson wines in the UK currently stocks several www.nickdobsonwines.co.uk). If not, any light white wine with a good balance of acidity and sweetness would be good – perhaps a Dr Loosen Riesling or similar.

Ingredients

120g plain flour
60g butter, softened at room temperature
30g golden caster sugar
pinch of salt
25g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 kg rhubarb
5 dessertspoons golden caster sugar
2 dessertspoons white wine
a little butter for dotting

Sift the flour together with the salt onto a clean work-surface or pastry board. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour. Add the sugar and ground almonds to the pile and mix it all together loosely with your fingers. Don’t attempt to rub in the butter yet. Make a well in the centre of the mix, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract to the well and bring all the mixture together with your fingers to make a dough. Incorporate the butter into the dough using a smearing rather than rubbing-in action. If necessary, add just a little water to bring the dough together. Knead lightly then wrap in clingfilm and rest for 3 hours or so in the fridge. The original recipe suggests resting the dough for 12 hours but I found it was workable after a shorter resting period and produced a good result when baked. During the resting period, line a round cake tin 26cm (10 inches) in diameter with baking paper (the German word is Backblech – baking tin – I found that an ordinary cake tin worked well).

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Take the rested dough from the fridge and place it on a work surface. Begin to flatten the dough a little by giving it a few firm whacks with a rolling pin but don’t attempt to roll out. Place the flattened dough in the centre of the prepared tin and with your hands press the dough to the edges of the tin and up the sides to form an edge about 2cm high. This is a little fiddly but be patient, you will get there. Prick the base of the dough all over with a fork and return the tin to the fridge to rest further while you prepare the rhubarb.

Wash, dry, trim and slice the rhubarb into small chunks – about 2cm (3/4 inch) in length. The specified recipe quantity of 1kg rhubarb means unprepared weight from the garden. If buying partly trimmed stalks from a supermarket, start with 800g rhubarb which when trimmed will result in a prepared weight of about 700g.

Remove the pastry-lined tin from the fridge and spread the prepared rhubarb over the base. Sprinkle over 3 dessertspoons caster sugar, maybe a little more depending on your personal taste. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Keep a close eye on the tart to make sure that the pastry doesn’t become too brown. After half an hour, remove the tart from the oven and sprinkle over the white wine, a further 2 dessertspoons caster sugar and a few dots of butter and return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes to complete the baking.

Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before attempting to turn out. Best served warm and needs no accompaniment other than the recommended glass of white wine.

Recipe for rhubarb meringue tart

A surprising find tucked in amongst recipes for hearty soups and dumplings in a little book brought back from Austria, Maria Gschwentner’s “Tiroler Bäuerinnen kochen” (the Tyrolean farmer’s wife cookbook). You’ll find lots of similar recipes around now for tarts like this one in Delia, Nigella et al. I’d assumed it was a fairly recent idea but perhaps it came from Austria first?

I’ve translated it fairly literally from the German. The original recipe is a little sketchy assuming a fair degree of prior the prior knowledge a farmer’s wife would no doubt have.

Ingredients

Pastry

300g plain flour
pinch baking powder
150g butter
60g caster sugar
2 egg yolks (reserve whites for the meringue below)
a little milk or cream to bind if necessary

Filling

250g rhubarb
50g sugar
lemon juice
1 tbsp water

Meringue

2 egg whites
100g caster sugar

Sift together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Rub in the butter. Bind to a firm dough using the egg yolks and a little milk or cream if necessary.

Line a large tart tin with the pastry and bake blind for a short time.

Wash, trim and chop the rhubarb into small pieces. Mix with the sugar, water and lemon juice and cook together lightly. Spread the cooked rhubarb over the blind-baked pastry base.

Prepare the meringue by beating egg whites until stiff, beating in half the sugar and folding in the rest. Spread the meringue over the rhubarb filling. Bake at 150 degrees C until lightly browned on top.

Recipe for Barber Green pudding with rhubarb jam

This unusual recipe using rhubarb comes from the Northcote country house hotel and restaurant website. I visited for lunch recently and found this after browsing the site afterwards. The recipe was designed to showcase local ingredients so the dairy products and eggs were specified to come from Lower Sizergh farm in Cumbria and the rhubarb from Howbarrow.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Custard

300ml (10 and 1/2 fl oz) semi skimmed milk
5g (1/4 oz) cinnamon
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
25g (1oz) caster sugar
50g (1 and 3/4 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
egg yolks

Rhubarb jam

600g (21.5 oz) rhubarb
160g (5.5 oz golden granulated sugar)

Meringue

110g (4 oz) egg whites
80g (3 oz) caster sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

In a heavy bottomed pan bring to the boil the milk and cinnamon. Once boiled, remove from the heat and pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Whisk in the butter, sugar and white breadcrumbs, cover with clingfilm and
leave to cool. Once cooled whisk in the egg yolks until incorporated. Divide the mix between 4 pudding moulds. Line a deep tray with paper and add 2cm of hot water, place in the moulds and bake in the oven at 145°C for 20 minutes until the mix is just set. Remove from the oven.

Make the rhubarb jam. Slice the rhubarb into 2cm thick pieces, in a bowl mix the rhubarb with golden granulated sugar. Make a bag using tin foil and lining it with parchment paper. Place the rhubarb in to the bag, seal, bake in the oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the bag, place in to a sieve over a bowl and leave to
drain. In a small pan, bring to the boil the rhubarb juice and simmer for 3 –4 minutes until a syrup is formed. Place the rhubarb into a bowl, pour over the reduced syrup, leave to cool.

Prepare the meringue by whisking together using an electric whisk or mixer with whisk attachment the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar and whisking for a further 5 minutes until the whites have a firm peak. Fold in the cornflour and wine vinegar.

To assemble the puddings, spread an even layer of 1 tbsp rhubarb jam on top of each custard mould. Pipe the meringue on top of the rhubarb. Bake the puddings in the oven at 140 degrees C for 5 minutes until warm and the meringue is golden. Dust with cinnamon and serve with thick double cream.

Recipe for strawberry and rhubarb cobbler

My friend Lorilee who’s from the US first put me onto this combination. I thought I’d give it a try in a US style cobbler. The recipe is my own, devised after looking at several different recipes, and successfully tested in my home kitchen. The combination of these two fruits works really well and the addition of orange zest gives a subtle lift to the flavour.

If you’ve not tried a cobbler before, think of a fruit crumble but with a scone-like topping. This is a perfect pudding for a cold and wet British summer – fresh tasting zingy fruit but at the same time warm and comforting.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Base
450g summer rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (prepared weight)
450g strawberries, washed, hulled and halved (prepared weight)
100g golden caster sugar
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
zest of a small orange

Topping
225g plain flour
3 teapoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
110g cold diced butter
150ml milk (I used semi skimmed)
a little large crystal sugar (optional)

Mix the prepared fruit with the sugar, cornflour and orange zest and leave to stand for 15-30 minutes. Turn it into a greased baking dish – I used a 9 inch diameter shallow cast iron Le Creuset dish. Something slightly smaller would work fine too but it must be ovenproof – Apilco type porcelain or Pyrex would be good here.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (fan).

Meanwhile prepare the topping. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk and with a spoon bring together to form a very soft, sticky dough.

Using a tablespoon, take smallish spoonfuls of dough and dollop them onto the top of the fruit base in a random pattern. Aim to get 18-20 dollops spread over the surface of the fruit. If using, sprinkle a little large-crystal sugar over the cobbler topping to give added crunch when baked. I used preserving sugar.

Slide your dish into the preheated oven. You may wish to stand your dish on a lined baking sheet if it’s well-filled as the mixture is very bubbly and juicy and may spill over the sides when baked. Bake for approx. 30 minutes until the fruit base is very juicy and bubbly and the topping is golden brown. I think the fruit needs at least 30 minutes in the oven check as it’s cooking and turn down the heat a little if necessary.

Serve with cream or custard.

Recipe for strawberry and rhubarb compôte

Another winning strawberry and rhubarb combo. I’ve adapted this from a recipe given in the august Larousse Gastronomique, 2003 French edition.

It’s a very simple recipe, nothing more than stewed rhubarb with strawberries, but made carefully and presented in a beautiful glass bowl and partnered with thick cream and crisp biscuits, it becomes an elegant and soothing dessert.

Serves 4

Ingredients

400g rhubarb (prepared weight), washed, trimmed and with any stringiness peeled away
approx 70g vanilla sugar to suit your taste (use caster sugar and vanilla extract if you have none to hand)
150g (prepared weight) ripe, well-flavoured strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered

Cut the prepared rhubarb into pieces about 4cm long and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle then with the vanilla sugar and leave to macerate for at least 3 hours, stirring gently from time to time.

Tip the rhubarb into a heavy based pan and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft but still holding its shape. Add the prepared strawberries to the pan and cook gently for 5 more minutes.

Cool a little then spoon into a pretty glass serving bowl and leave to chill thoroughly in the fridge.

Recipe for rhubarb and mango fruit salad

Adapted from a Josceline Dimbleby’s recipe for Rhubarb and Mango à la Vong in her “Complete Cookbook”.

Serves 6

500g forced rhubarb (don’t substitute later field-grown rhubarb as the rhubarb needs to be tender and the colour needs to be the gorgeous bright pink to achieve the startling colour contrast with the golden-yellow mango).

1.5cm length chunk of fresh ginger root
3 star anise
150 ml water
75g golden caster sugar, maybe more to taste
two 4cm long pieces of peel from a lime, removed using a vegetable peeler
1 medium perfectly ripe mango
a little lime juice
a few fresh mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.

Wash the rhubarb, trim off and discard the ends and slice the stalks into pieces 4 to 5 cm long, cutting prettily at an angle to form little rhombus shapes if you feel so inclined.

Peel the piece of root ginger, cut into slices then into the finest matchstick slivers you can manage. Put the rhubarb and ginger into a shallow lidded casserole dish, tip in the sugar and water and finally add the star anise and pieces of lime peel to the pan.

Put the pan on to the hob and bring to the boil. Cover, remove from the heat and place in the preheated oven to bake very slowly until the rhubarb is tender but still holding its shape. Mine took just 30 minutes in the Aga lowere oven which is only 140-150 degrees C so I suggest checking after just 20 minutes in an ordinary fan oven.

Once the rhubarb is cooked, remove from the oven, remove the lid and leave to cool, then chill in the fridge until you are ready to complete the salad.

Meanwhile, slice your mango into pretty strips using your preferred mango prep method – having tried various ways I still think the hedgehog method works best for me, modifying the criss-cross knife cuts to produce strips rather than cubes. Put the mango pieces into a bowl and squeeze over a little lime juice, enough to toss and coat the mango pieces. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the fruit salad.

Once the fruit is chilled you can complete the salad. Spoon the rhubarb and its cooking syrup carefully into a pretty serving bowl – I think plain white or glass shows off the colours best. Dot in the mango pieces here and there, being careful not to break up the rhubarb. Make sure the star anise are artfully arranged on top, then finish by scattering over a few fresh mint leaves.

If I were pulling out all the stops, I might accompany the salad with a dainty plateful of green-tea flavoured langues de chat to keep the French-Thai vibe going.

§ One Response to The Rhubarb Recipe Page – sweet things

  • Harry Deacon says:

    When I make rhubarb fool I like to make it with lemon juice rather than orange as I prefer the taste. Also with my rhubarb fool I tend to serve it with shortbread biscuits as it gives something to bite to the dish I actually have a similar recipe to yours with my twists included on my website.

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