Cooking with rhubarb: top recipes

“I love making these sandwiches, with their Enid Blyton charm. The mascarpone ice cream couldn’t be simpler, as it doesn’t need churning, and the creaminess is perfectly offset by the ginger biscuits. They’re equally as well suited to the end of a dinner party as they are to being packed up
in a cool bag for a sunny spring-day cricket match”

Rhubarb ice-cream and ginger-biscuit sandwiches


Rhubarb and mascarpone ice cream
400g rhubarb 200g caster sugar, plus 3tbspn for sprinkling
200ml water
500g mascarpone

Ginger biscuits
100g butter, at
room temperature
200g muscovado
1 egg
225g golden syrup
450g plain flour
1tbspn ground

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Serves six

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4. Wash the rhubarb and chop into 2cm pieces before sprinkling with sugar and baking until soft, about 25-30 minutes.

For the ginger biscuits, beat the butter and sugar together followed by the egg. Add the golden syrup, flour and ginger, and mix into a dough. This can be done in a mixer fitted with a dough hook, but a wooden spoon will do the job equally as well. It will be sticky at first, but knead on a floured surface until smooth. Roll into a ball, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the sugar and water into a heavy-based pan and bring to a boil as you whisk continuously. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, take the pan off the heat and add the mascarpone. Mix well and fold the cooked rhubarb through.

Pour into a one-litre capacity, freezer-proof dish, ideally a loaf-tin shape to make it easier to cut rectangles from, and freeze for at least four hours.

Take the biscuit dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a flour-dusted surface to the thickness of a pound coin (2.5mm). Cut into rectangles, approximately 9cm by 4.5cm and place on baking sheets.

Prick with a fork or toothpick to make a pattern and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container (they will keep for a few days).

To assemble the sandwiches, take the ice cream from the freezer about 15 minutes before you want to use it and turn it out onto a board. Heat a sharp knife under running hot water and then slice the ice cream into rectangles to fit your biscuits.

Sandwich the two together and either serve or refreeze to be enjoyed on another day. Alternatively, you could serve scoops of rhubarb ice cream with ginger biscuits on the side.

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Ways with rhubarb

Rhubarb and trifle
Marinade rhubarb with honey and rosemary for 24 hours, before baking in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Serve layered with crushed Amaretti biscuits and fresh custard, and top with whipped cream and a sprig of rosemary for an easy but smart pudding.

Rhubarb chutney
In a heavy-based pan, bring the following to a boil before simmer-ing until dark and syrupy for about an hour: a finely chopped onion, two cloves garlic, 500g rhubarb, 200g sultanas, 500g sugar, 250ml white-wine vinegar, salt and pepper, plus herbs and spices to your liking, such as star anise and ginger. Pour into sterilised jars. Delicious served with roast pork.

Rhubarb clafoutis

Drizzle 400g of chopped rhubarb with honey and bake in a buttered dish at 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4 for 15 minutes. Whisk together four eggs, 150g of caster sugar, 260ml double cream and 50g of flour. Remove the rhubarb from the oven and pour the mixture over it. Reduce the temperature to 160˚C/325˚F/gas 3 and return to the oven for 45 minutes. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

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