Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb

One of the few benefits of having a shady garden is that my rhubarb plant loves it and with all this rain we've had recently I was able to get some lovely fat, beautiful rosy stalks which I chopped and froze within minutes of plucking from the garden.

We went to someone's house for dinner on Saturday and I offered to take pudding so thought I would do a twist on my gluten-free crumble (see my previous blog here).
I put the frozen rhubarb in a saucepan with quite a lot of sugar and warmed it very gently until the rhubarb had softened but not disintegrated and then drained the lovely rhubarb juice off into a jug.
I baked the ginger gluten-free biscuits (ginger and rhubarb are just so good together) and crumbled them up once they were cool.

I mixed icing sugar and delicious pink rhubarb juice into some mascarpone which I then swirled through the chunks of cooked rhubarb, before topping with the biscuit crumble to create a rhubarb fool crumble. The resulting pudding was delicious.
Two things I would change for next time: I would try to get some glass sundae dishes so you could see the rosy pink rhubarb swirled with mascarpone under the crumble; and I would add more rhubarb juice to the mascarpone - I was worried about making it too runny but once the puddings had sat for a while it all thickened up a bit. Alternatively, I could have taken the rhubarb juice to pour over the top before eating!

Another recipe I tried some time ago using the rhubarb was apple rhubarb bread. I baked this using gluten free flour and the apple and rhubarb kept it moist. The original recipes calls for finely chopped rhubarb but I found that it became lost in the baked cake and next time I will keep bigger chunks so I can actually tell that there is rhubarb in the cake. 

Another recipe that may work well with rhubarb are quick and easy biscuits called diggles. I have made these several time with blackberries but I can see rhubarb working for a slightly more adult version.

I have put the recipes below. If you have your own rhubarb I hope you enjoy making some of these and if you don't have your own plant make sure you get hold of some rhubarb while it's in season.

Rhubarb fool crumble

ginger fairings (see here for the recipe)
icing sugar
juice from the stewed rhubarb

Gently stew the rhubarb until soft but still holding shape. Drain off the juice into a jug and keep to one side. Allow to cool. 

Mix a small amount of icing sugar with the mascarpone (to taste) and add some of the reserved rhubarb juice until it's the consistency of single cream.

Place some rhubarb into individual dishes and swirl the mascapone cream through. Crumble the ginger fairings over the top to finish and serve with a jug of the rhubarb juice.

Apple rhubarb bread

1.5 cups chopped rhubarb
1.5 cups chopped apples
1.5 cups brown sugar
0.5 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts
3.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, eggs and vegetable oil. Stir in the rhubarb, apples and vanilla.

In a separate bowl sift together the baking powder, salt and flour. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

Stir in the finely chopped nuts and pour into a greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees, for 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

Remove bread from pan, cool on a wire or wooden rack and wrap for storage.

Rhubarb diggles

Makes 12
Rhubarb (in small chunks)
1tbsp granulated sugar
85g butter or margarine
225g self-raising flour
85g caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten

Lightly cook the rhubarb and stir in the sugar to coat the pieces. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Rub butter into the flour in a bowl. Add caster sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the egg to the well. Mix until you have formed a dough.

Break off 12 pieces and shape into rough balls the size of a large walnut. Place on to silicone paper on a baking tray, leaving a good gap between them. Make a dent in the top with the end of a wooden spoon, then spoon in a couple of pieces of rhubarb.

Bake for approximately 12 minutes until just golden. Remove and cool.

NB. the original recipe uses blueberries but blackberries also work very well

© 2012 Nicola Noble: Please observe the rules of copyright and blog etiquette. If you use my ideas or images, please link back to my blog. And do let me know - I'd love to take a look.

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