Posts Tagged ‘rhubarb’
Rhubarb is rarely elegant. When growing it is generally rampant, with solid, ribbed stems and aggressively bushy heads. When cooked it disintegrates quickly into soft, stringy strands, of an unappealing green. Poached though, lightly cooked in a boiling syrup for a minute or two, it retains its shape, with just the tiniest bite to it. The colours are more nuanced too, with the pinker pieces standing out against the murkier green ones, adding a flash of colour. The result is almost dainty. Served with yoghurt or a tiny shortbread biscuit this makes an elegant dessert for those of you with rhubarb stashed in your freezer.
From Chocolate and Zucchini
5 tablespoons sugar
1 head lemon verbena
4 sticks rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch chunks
1. In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to a boil. Add the lemon verbena and carefully spoon the rhubarb pieces into the syrup, about 6 at a time, and poach for 2-3 minutes (4 if frozen) or until they give under a spoon but are still in tact. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with the remaining rhubarb.
Serves 2. Serve with yoghurt or shortbread. The poaching syrup can be used in cocktails.
When I think of milk I generally don’t think of jelly. Milk is meant to be liquid, and the only time it’s not is when it’s congealed in the bottom of the bottle after too long in the fridge. Obviously a winning introduction to a dessert. But the idea of milk jelly intrigued me – we have fruit jellies and they’re so commonplace you can even get ready-made (or at least, almost ready-made) cubes of the stuff to mix up at home, as if stirring gelatine into fruit juice was too complicated for the average person. And yet milk jellies have been consigned to the history books, along with junket and syllabub. I’m not really sure why, they’re ridiculously easy to make and for those of us in need of extra calcium, something different to do with milk. I think this method would work very well with cocoa and a bit of sugar added, to make a sort of chocolate milk jelly, but I’ve yet to try that variation.
Lemon verbena milk jellies with rhubarb compôte
Adapted from Food for Friends and Family
I forwent the honey and sugar in the jellies; it didn’t seem necessary since milk is hardly bitter. The result is a jelly that tastes more of the delicate lemon verbena and dairy than of sugar, which is how I like it. Make sure you use the freshest milk you have though; any hint of sourness will be noticeable.
400ml milk (I used semi-skimmed, it’s just what I had)
5-6 heads lemon verbena
1 sachet gelatine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1. In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the lemon verbena to the milk. Leave to sit and steep for an hour or until the milk is cool.
2. When the milk is cool remove the lemon verbena. Put the milk back on a medium heat and whisk in the gelatine until completely dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Once the gelatine has dissolved pour the milk into 2 large ramekins and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to set.
3. To make the compôte place the rhubarb, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and yielding. To serve upend the ramekins on a plate and serve with a couple of spoonfuls of compôte.
Rhubarb season is in full swing and to make the most of this very British vegetable I make sure I buy some each week at the moment. Of course, this does rather leave me scratching my head over what to do with it all. While I have seen some interesting savoury recipes for rhubarb (being a tart beast it makes a really good accompaniment for fatty meats such as duck as a sauce) I am still plodding along the dessert route, and decided to make a pie.
The combination of rhubarb and strawberry is classic, and for good reason; the sweet strawberries contrast beautifully with the tart rhubarb. I deliberately used minimal sugar to highlight the contrast between the bitter and the sweet and it worked well. To make it a little different I also used aromatic lemon and rosemary sugar in the filling. The rosemary worked surprisingly well with the rhubarb, enhancing its vegetable side and giving the pie an almost savoury edge. Whilst this is definitely a dessert, it’s a subtle one, and won’t leave you on a sugar high.
Rhubarb and strawberry pie
This pie is a great way to use strawberries which are a little past their best; sweet squishy strawberries balance out the tartness of the rhubarb perfectly.
40g butter, cubed
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 egg (yes, really, crack it, mix it and use the rest to glaze; alternatively use 1 tablespoon milk)
Pinch of salt
60g gluten-free flour blend
1 teaspoon cold water
200g rhubarb stems, trimmed and chopped into chunks
100g strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, then stir in the salt and flour blend. Bring the dough together; if it is a little dry and crumbly add the water until it is a smooth, cohesive ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 C. To make the filling put the rhubarb and strawberries in the base of a 7-inch pie dish. With your fingertips rub the lemon zest and rosemary into the sugar until well mixed in. Sprinkle the aromatic sugar evenly over the fruit.
3. Roll out the pastry to an 8-inch circle. Lay this over the fruit, cutting a hole in the centre for steam to escape. Brush the top of the pastry with a little egg wash or milk for glaze, then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
4. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes, and serve with a little single cream.
Serves 4-6 for dessert. The flavours, if possible, improve after a day in the fridge.
I know, I know, it’s a cheap shot, but it is a fool, and it is April, and it is made with April-specific fruit. And it’s so easy any fool could make it. Whipped cream and fruit compote, it’s clearly going to be delicious and take no time at all. I also maintain that it’s not as unhealthy as it sounds, as the amount of cream needed is really quite small (we’re talking about 30ml per person, that’s only 2 tablespoons), but it then whips up into something much larger due to all the air you’ve beaten in. So think about that as you’re chowing down on a rich, creamy dessert.
As for the rhubarb, I’ve always treated it with a healthy dose of suspicion, not least because it’s a vegetable, but in this recipe it’s cooked up with plenty of ginger and orange zest, as well as a hint of vanilla for sweetness and it’s lovely. Not sour, not astringent and not too rhubarby, the leftover compôte (or which there was plenty) was great with yoghurt as well as ice cream for the rest of the week.
Recipe from Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More, via epicurious
400g rhubarb, washed and ends trimmed
4 tablespoons honey
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
Pinch of salt
60ml double cream
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1. Chop the washed rhubarb into 1-inch chunks and put in a large saucepan. Add the honey, zest and juice of the orange, vanilla, ginger and salt and bring to a simmer over a medium-low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb falls apart. Leave to cool completely.
2. In a large bowl whisk the cream and the sugar into stiff peaks. Fold in 4-5 tablespoons of the compôte, a couple of tablespoons at a time. When the fool is still just thick enough for your spoon to leave trails on the surface, stop adding compôte and pour the fool into ramekins. Leave in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
3. Serve straight from the fridge with more compôte on top.