Our kitchen garden cook reveals her favourite recipes with rhubarb.
At last, thanks to rhubarb’s bright-pink stalks, we have some exciting colour in the kitchen garden to welcome us into spring. My main recipe works equally well as a dinner-party pudding or as an afternoon treat. It’s an unusually moist cake that’s best served with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a steaming cup of fragrant tea.
Rhubarb, blood-orange and almond Tunisian cake (serves 6)
50g caster sugar
60g fresh white breadcrumbs
200g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
1tspn baking powder
200ml sunflower oil
Zest of 1 blood orange
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, sliced, for decoration
Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4 and line an 8in loose-bottom cake tin with greaseproof paper. Wash the rhubarb and cut it into 1in-long pieces, place the chunks on a foil-lined baking sheet and then scatter 50g sugar over them before putting them in the oven for 20 minutes while you prepare the cake.
Take a large mixing bowl and whisk together the breadcrumbs, 200g sugar, ground almonds and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sunflower oil together and pour them into the dry ingredients, then mix everything well and add the zest.
Arrange the pieces of cooked rhubarb in a pattern in the bottom of the cake tin, along with a few slices of the orange, then pour the cake mixture over them and bake for about 30–40 minute or until a skewer comes out clean.
Prepare the syrup by mixing the orange juice, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick together in a small pan over a gentle heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved.
When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and turn it out onto a wire rack over a plate. Use a toothpick to make holes in the top and then pour the syrup all over the cake.
Serve with whipped cream or Greek yoghurt. This cake is extremely moist and will keep for days—indeed, its flavour will even improve over time.
Rhubarb-and-pistachio strudel rolls
Take 2 stalks of rhubarb and cut them into half-inch pieces. Put them in a saucepan with 4tbspn sugar and cook over a medium heat until soft, but not mushy. Roughly chop 50g pistachios and mix them into a heaped tablespoon of mascarpone. Remove the rhubarb from the heat and mix in the mascarpone. Take the filo pastry, one sheet at a time, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over it. Place a spoonful of the rhubarb mixture onto the pastry before rolling it up to make something resembling a spring roll, folding the ends over, too. Line the rolls up on a parchment-lined baking tray, brush with butter and add a sprinkling of sugar before baking for about 20 minutes in a moderate-hot oven. Serve with vanilla custard.
Rhubarb-and-ginger breakfast pots
Cut a stalk of rhubarb into half-inch pieces and cook with a little sugar until tender. Add a tablespoon of the syrup from a jar of preserved ginger and a large piece of ginger, finely diced. Share among 4 ramekins and then pour Greek yoghurt over them. Top with a little crunchy granola.