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Simple, Seasonal Baking: 3 Rhubarb Recipes
For each of the Celtic seasons in the Wheel of the Year, I select a hero ingredient to spotlight and share some recipes for in my newsletter - and today’s is my favourite Spring ingredient: rhubarb. The first, skinny stems of bright pink early rhubarb are now giving way to the flavourful - if less prettily pink - maincrop rhubarb.
There are so many rhubarb recipes on my blog, Everything Looks Rosie - from rhubarb, cardamom and custard cake (pictured above) to rhubarb blondies. You can certainly tell I’m a fan. In today’s newsletter I’ve narrowed it down to three of my favourite baking recipes (all invented by me) that include rhubarb and are perfect for celebrating this time when Spring is in full bloom and we’re beginning the ascendence to Summer.
Rose and Rhubarb Frangipane Tart:
This rose and rhubarb frangipane tart is perfect for a seasonal celebration and is surprisingly easy to make - but the result is so much more than the sum of its parts. It combines a simple buttery biscuit base with a rose and rhubarb compote, almond frangipane, fresh fruit and flaked almonds. To make it, you will need:
For the base:
175g biscoff biscuits (or digestive biscuits would work too)
75g melted butter
For the compote:
200g rhubarb, chopped into 1 cm pieces
1 tsp rose water
For the frangipane:
300g ground almonds
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 skinny sticks of rhubarb, chopped into 3-4 cm lengths.
First, make the base. Bash the biscuits in a bag until you have fine crumbs. Mix, then press into base of a greased, 20 cm round loose-bottom tin. Chill in the fridge.
Make the compote by mixing the rhubarb and sugar in a pan over a medium heat and simmering until cooked through – around fifteen minutes. Set aside to cool, then add the rose water and mix.
Make the frangipane: cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – around 5 mins. Add the eggs and ground almonds and mix until combined.
Cover the base of the tart with the compote, spreading it out into an even layer. Top with the frangipane, arrange the sticks of rhubarb on top and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden and cooked through. Cover with tinfoil if it starts to brown too much. Leave the tart to cool for at least 15 mins in the tin. Once cooled, remove from the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving in slices.
Elderflower and Rhubarb Cake:
Tangy maincrop rhubarb pairs perfectly with sweet, aromatic elderflower here in this cake that celebrates the transition between Spring and Summer. We’re still a little way off elderflower season but while we wait, it’s cordial that brings the flavour – in my case, last Summer’s brew! To make the cake, you will need:
120g caster sugar
120g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp elderflower cordial, plus 3 tbsp for drizzling.
100g rhubarb, chopped into 5 cm pieces, or so.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cordial, along with one of the eggs and a little flour, then beat briefly to combine. Add the other egg and the rest of the flour and baking powder. Arrange your rhubarb on the base of a lined tin and pour the batter over the top, ensuring you cover all the rhubarb. Bake for 45 – 50 mins at 160 Fan, covering the cake with foil if it starts to brown too much. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin a little then turn out while still a little warm. Drizzle the cake with 3 tbsp more of elderflower cordial and leave to cool completely. Serve with yoghurt and extra poached rhubarb, if you like.
Rhubarb and Custard Profiteroles:
Rhubarb and custard: a classic pairing. These rhubarb and custard profiteroles are filled with poached rhubarb and vanilla creme patissiere, and topped with rhubarb icing – light and deliciously moreish for this time of year. Choux seems tricky but I’ve included this one because here the simplicity lies in slowing down and embracing the process: getting to know the look and feel of the dough, mindfully stirring the vanilla scented pastry cream as it thickens. Bliss. To make the profiteroles, you will need:
100g plain flour
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten.
For the creme patissiere:
10g plain flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the rhubarb:
50g soft brown sugar
Juice of one blood orange
For the topping:
100g icing sugar
A few drops of poached rhubarb juice, enough to reach your desired consistency.
First, make the rhubarb: preheat the oven to 180C Fan. Chop the rhubarb into 2-3 cm chunks, place in an oven proof dish, cover with orange juice, stir through the sugar and vanilla and cover with foil. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the rhubarb is cooked but still keeps its shape. Set aside to cool, leaving the oven on.
Place the water and butter in a pan and melt over a gentle heat, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Return to the heat, stirring until the mixture forms a ball that comes away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then beat the eggs into the cooled mixture a little at a time.
You may not need all the egg – the mixture should be smooth, glossy and a ‘dropping’ consistency that keeps a V-shape if you hold up your spoon. Grease two baking trays and then run them under the tap to create a film of water that will make steam as you bake. Spoon walnut-sized balls of choux onto the trays. Bake in the oven until golden brown, around 20 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and immediately make a small hole in each profiterole with a skewer to let the steam out. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the creme patissiere, heat the milk and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add the vanilla. Then mix the egg, flour, cornflour and sugar in another pan. Add a third of the warm milk to the mixture and heat gently. Add the rest of the milk, whisking continually until the mixture thickens. Decant into a bowl and cover with cling film on the surface to avoid a skin forming. Cool in the fridge.
While the filling sets, dip or drizzle your profiteroles with the icing made from icing sugar and a few drops of rhubarb juice. Then fill your piping bag with the creme patissiere, with the rhubarb mixture loosely folded through, and fill until you feel the profiterole ‘push back’. Serve immediately.