Posted 1st July 2013
I’ve always enjoyed rhubarb, but this year I’ve decided to take things to the next level. It’s getting serious. Like many summer romances, I know that rhubarb season must come to an end (September) but for now we are in rhubarb hay day.
I wanted to share some of my winning recipes with you celebrating rhubarb in its prime. I can recommend going to Reg the Veg for all of your rhubarb buying needs. (they really are a lovely bunch in there). At £3.99 per kg it’s also pretty affordable.
I’d love to hear more of your suggestions for rhubarb recipes and ways to use this brilliant ingredient whilst its in season. Please send us your comments using the comments box below.
Rhubarb and custard pie
This is a truly magnificent pudding. A showstopper. One of the best puddings I’ve ever produced (true story)
The recipe is from pieminister – a pie for all seasons and as I’ve come to expect from pieminister was simple to follow and produced excellent results.
A sweet pastry base, tricky to make as it tears easily but fantastic tasting. My tip for sweet pastry is to sack off appearances. Use the off cuts to paper over the cracks and gently mould these to the main base. The priority is to have a robust base filled with scrummy filling so don’t worry about being too neat. Another tip with sweet pastry is that it can darken when baked but don’t let this panic you.
Layer roasted rhubarb into the pie and top with custard. Bake for about 20 minutes before adding extra rhubarb in (if you put all in at once then it will sink).
Serve with creme fraiche. A really beautiful dessert who tastes great too!
Mini Rhubarb Meringue Pies
There’s something pretty special about miniature meringue pies. The cute little sister to a classic dish. This weekend I tried rhubarb meringue pies for the first time and loved them!
Make a batch of shortcrust pastry – 200g flour, 50g butter, 50g lard. See my idiot’s guide to shortcrust pastry recipe here. Should be enough for 12-18 tarts.
Roll the pastry to the thickness of about a £1 coin, cut out your bases, line a muffin tin, prick the base 1-2 times with a fork and bake them blind for 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees. They should be just cooked but still pale in colour. This is important as you don’t cook for very long at a later stage so without pre-baking your pastry will be undercooked!
Take 4 sticks of rhubarb and chop into 1-2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with caster sugar (and orange zest if you have it) then roast at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. Finish off in a saucepan on a low heat until the rhubarb is really soft. I usually prefer firmer fruit, but with the mini pies it doesn’t work as well. I added a splash of orange juice to my pan as well but you can use a bit of water to stop it sticking.
Make your meringue by whisking two egg whites until they form soft peaks. Then add 100g sugar (50ml per egg) one dessert spoon at a time whilst continually whisking. The mixture is ready when its in stiff peaks and is glossy and shiny.
Add a teaspoon of rhubarb into each of your pastry cases and top with a teaspoon of meringue. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the meringues are a light golden colour. Cooking times will vary oven to oven so keep your eye on it and take them out when they look ready!
This recipe came from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. It’s amazingly easy and essentially involves adding rhubarb, caster sugar and vodka in a kilner jar to infuse over a 3 to 6 month period. You need to shake the jars daily for the first two weeks, but after that the sugar dissolves and you just need to give it a shake every couple of weeks.
I can’t yet tell you how well this turns out as we’ve only just made it which means it won’t be ready until September-December time but so far it’s looking good!
If you Google this, you’ll find lots of different recipes you can try with various different techniques and styles. I ended up combining several recipes to create a hybrid.
Make your base our of a mixture of digestive and gingernut biscuits. The heat from the ginger really compliments the rhubarb.
Lots of recipes recommend that you add rhubarb syrup into the cream cheese filling however I opted for a rhubarb layer on top of the biscuit base as per this recipe from the Nigella community. It was much less faff-y and added a really nice dimension to the dessert and a layer of different texture which was good.
The topping is really up to you, I personally always opt for cream cheese purely out of ease (see our recipe for fifteen minute cheesecake here) however Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall had a marvellous looking recipe using marscapone in the guardian. There are lots of variations.