Tag: rhubarb

An Upside Down Cake with Rhubarb, Cinnamon and Strawberries

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

An upside down cake is the easiest and most convenient way to put juicy fruits into a quick cake. They just sit on the bottom, soften slowly in their juices and spread their aroma into the dough baking on top. The pastry can grow spongy with a thin crisp layer and the fruits turn into a thick compote. Juiciness where juiciness belongs! Technically the cake should be flipped upside down when it’s done, I just skipped this part. I liked the rustic look of its golden top, like a pie that you scoop out of the pan with a spoon, and to be honest, the bottom doesn’t look as pretty!

In the past few weeks I’ve been using lots of rhubarb in my recipes, I love its fresh, sour taste but its season is quickly coming to an end. No reason to be sad as I’m slowly changing over to what nature offers next, like strawberries! Much sweeter, yet no less versatile in the kitchen. My upside down cake combines the qualities of both fruits, sweet and and sour with a pinch of cinnamon. Not to forget the pastry, it is so good that the cake only lasted a few hours! While I was taking the photos my kitchen was filled with the sweet smell of cinnamon, fruit and fresh pastry, I could barely stop myself from taking the first bite!

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

 Rhubarb and Strawberry Upside Down Cake

For an oval baking dish (around 25cm / 10″) you need

flour 210g / 7.5 ounces
sugar 150g / 5.5 ounces plus 6 tablespoons for the fruit
baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons
a pinch of salt
butter, melted, 60g / 2 ounces
organic eggs 2
milk 100ml / 3.5 ounces
a pinch of fresh vanilla
rhubarb, sliced thickly, 650g / 1.5 pounds
strawberries, cut in half, 200g / 7 ounces
cinnamon 1 teaspoon

Set the oven to 190°C / 375°F.

Spread the fruits in a baking dish and sprinkle with 6 tablespoons of sugar mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla with a mixer and fold into the dry mixture, stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough. Don’t over mix! With a big spoon dollop the dough on top of the fruits and spread gently until roughly covered. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean.

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

 

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Rabbit wrapped in Sage and Bacon roast on Rhubarb

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

Sweet and sour rhubarb, salty bacon and aromatic sage wrap my juicy pieces of rabbit in a delicious composition of spring flavours. You could use pork fillet in this recipe as well but I like rabbit meat, it’s tenderness and unique taste. We often eat it when we’re in Malta where rabbit is so popular that it became the national dish. Be it as a Mediterranean stew with olives, tomatoes and wine, often cooked together with pork for a stronger aroma, or in a pie, I’ve enjoyed some of the best rabbit meals on this island!

Rabbit meat isn’t very challenging to cook as long as it’s kept moist and not overcooked. The little packages of sage and bacon in my recipe infuse the meat with their flavours but also keep it juicy. The steaming rhubarb roasting under the meat has the same effect. Its juices add a fruity taste to the meat and make sure that it doesn’t dry out while it’s cooking.

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

 

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

Rabbit wrapped in Sage and Bacon roast on Rhubarb

For 4 people you need

rabbit, without bones, 500g / 1 pound for 8 portions
(I bought rabbit back and legs, the fillets from the back were the easiest to prepare)
rhubarb, cut into 5cm / 2″ pieces, 500g / 1 pound
sugar 3 tablespoons
garlic, thinly sliced, 3 cloves
fresh sage 16 leaves
bacon 8 slices
white wine 75ml / 2.5 ounces
olive oil 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Set the oven to 210°C / 410°F. My oven has a Rotitherm roasting setting which works perfectly for this recipe.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the rhubarb mixed with sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the rabbit in 8 portions, season with salt and pepper and wrap each portion in a slice of bacon together with 2 leaves of sage and 3 slices of garlic. Place on top of the rhubarb and pour the wine and olive oil over it.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, pouring some of the juices over it from time to time. For the last 3 minutes sprinkle the bacon with some sugar.

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

 

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

Sweet and spicy Rhubarb Chutney

Rhubarb Chutney

My love for chutney developed quite late, almost nine years ago while I lived in England for a couple months. One night I found out about the glorious combination of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and chutney. I knew about a similar duo, ripe cheese and fig mustard, a great alternative to a sweet dessert, heavenly when the cheese’s milkiness unites with the spicy and fruity flavours in your mouth! When my dear friend Audrey, a lady who likes good cheese as much as I do, offered me this North Yorkshire delicacy I was taken after the first bite. My  favourite was a young cheese, mildly flavoured with cranberries, a bit crumbly and just perfect together with sweet onion chutney. Sometimes, after we had been out, we used to chat in Audrey’s kitchen, get out some jars of pickles, chutneys and a truckle of Wensleydale and we quite often ate more than just a midnight snack!

Not too long after this culinary discovery I started to make my own chutneys. I experimented for a while and came up with a recipe which I now use for all kinds of chutneys, plums, apples, onions or rhubarb. Depending on the fruit’s taste I adjust the spices a little bit but the basic recipe remains untouched. Most of the time I mix in red onions and red hot chili peppers for the spiciness, a couple apples to thicken the texture and lots of spices, turmeric, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds, black pepper, garlic and ginger. Rhubarb is at its seasonal peak at the moment, the best time to turn it into a sweet and spicy chutney!

Cheese and chutney isn’t the only way to enjoy chutney, you can also use it to flavour aromatic gravies, eat it with slices of warm or cold roast meat or spread it on sandwiches.

Rhubarb Chutney

 Rhubarb Chutney

For 3 medium sized jars you need

rhubarb, sliced 550g / 19 ounces
apple, peeled and roughly chopped, 125g / 4.5 ounces
red onion, medium sized, roughly chopped, 1
cider vinegar 220ml / 7.5 ounces
sugar 150g /5.5 ounces
fresh hot chili pepper, without seeds, finely chopped, 1/2
garlic, chopped, 1 clove
fresh ginger, grated or chopped, 1 heaped teaspoon
For the spice mixture (makes 2 teaspoons, you might only need 1 1/2)
turmeric, ground, 1/8 teaspoon
cinnamon, ground, 1/2 teaspoon
cloves, ground in the mortar, 12
star anise, ground in a mortar, 2 single pieces
fennel seeds, ground in a mortar, 1/2 teaspoon
small dried chili, ground in a mortar, 2
spirit to sterilise the rims of the jars

Sterilise the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.

In a large pot, bring all the ingredients together with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture to the boil. Cook for about an hour on medium temperature until the chutney thickens. You can add more of the spice mixture if you like before you fill the chutney into the jars.

Dip the rim of your jars in spirit and wash out the lids with the alcohol as well. Fill your jars with the chutney and close well immediately.

You can eat the chutney right away but I prefer to let it sit for 3 weeks. You should keep an open jar in the fridge (mine stays fresh for months) and the closed jars in your pantry.

Rhubarb Chutney

 

Rhubarb Chutney

Rhubarb Crumble Cake, truly addictive!

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

There are two of my recipes, classics, that I can’t live without. I constantly adapt and change them according to the seasons and there isn’t a month without them. I’m talking about my beloved quiche and my crumble cake, filled with seasonal fruit and topped with the most amazing crumbles, buttery and crunchy! In winter I filled it with apples, now it’s time for rhubarb and there will be more to follow. I have no preference, I love all of them!

For this cake, I like to choose fruit with a strong texture, the dough rises around these moist pockets and stays juicy without becoming soggy. I use lots of cinnamon for the crumbles, one of my favourite spices for baking which refines the fruit’s flavours perfectly. The rhubarb brings in a bit more sourness than the apples, it fits to the fresh feeling of this season. In the post about my apple crumble I’ve praised the cake’s light and spongy base, the perfect composition of soft, juicy and crunchy and its dessert and teatime qualities. Now it’s time to bake rhubarb crumble, but be prepared, this cake is truly addictive!

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

 Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Prepare the dough for the base first, the rhubarb afterwards and the crumbles at the end.

For a 26cm /10″ springform pan you need

butter 125g / 4.5 ounces
sugar 125g / 4.5 ounces
a pinch of fresh vanilla
organic eggs 3
plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
baking powder 2 teaspoons
a pinch of salt
rhubarb, cut into 4cm / 1.5″ pieces, 800g / 28 ounces

For the crumbles

plain flour 200g / 7 ounces (you might need some more if the crumbles are too sticky)
sugar 125g / 4.5 ounces
a pinch of fresh vanilla
cinnamon 2 teaspoons
butter, melted, 125g / 4.5 ounces (plus more if the crumbles are too fine)

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F.

For the base, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla till fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue mixing for a few minutes. Add the flour mixed with the baking powder and salt and continue mixing until well combined. Scrape the dough into a buttered springform pan and arrange the rhubarb vertically in circles pushing it into the dough.

The crumbles need good preparation as you have to make sure that the mixture is neither too moist nor too dry. Have some extra flour and melted butter close at hand so that you can add some immediately if necessary.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour the melted butter on top and mix quickly with the hooks of your mixer, stop as soon as it crumbles. If the crumbles are too moist and sticky add a bit more flour (1-2 tablespoons). If they are too fine and don’t form bigger crumbles add more melted butter. Spread quickly on top of the rhubarb. If you have bigger lumps of crumbles you may have to separate and spread them.

Bake in the oven for 55 minutes or until golden. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean, and let it cool.

You can serve the cake with sweet whipped cream or vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

 

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

 

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Rhubarb Meringue Tartlets

Rhubarb Meringue Tartlet

My long loved rhubarb crumble cake has been my favourite rhubarb cake so far, but these little meringue tartlets caused a change on my list. I can’t say that I prefer them over my buttery cinnamon crumble (I made the apple version a couple months ago, the recipe is here) but they are definitely just as good!

Until I started taking the ingredients out, I wasn’t even sure about the recipe. I wanted a crumbly short crust, strong enough to carry the juicy rhubarb compote and not as flaky as the one I make for my Tarte Tatin. I thought I would give it a try but expected that I would have to refine the recipe over the next few weeks before I would be rewarded with a satisfying result. I was wrong! The pastry was exactly what I wanted, buttery, crumbly with a strong structure, neither too fragile nor to compact. When the tartlets had cooled off, I topped them with a tablespoon of my thick rhubarb compote and some fluffy meringue. As I’m not very good at decorating cakes, I tried to keep them simple. Usually I try to avoid piping bags as they make me nervous but here I made an exception, I wanted them pretty! The result was worth it, a bit sweet, a bit sour, buttery but still light, and all of this in a cute little rhubarb meringue tartlet!

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

Rhubarb Meringue Tartlets

When the tartlets are finished and baked with the meringue, you should serve them within the next 15 minutes as that’s when they are at their best (I had one the next day and it was still delicious but a bit softer). If you want to prepare them for guests, you can bake the tartlets and cook the compote beforehand (both should be cold either way). Then you just need to beat the egg whites, assemble the tartlets and bake them for 3 minutes in the oven.

You will need round 10cm / 4″ tartlet pans.

For 10 tartlets you need

For the short crust

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
sugar 80g / 3 ounces
a pinch of salt
a pinch of vanilla
butter, cold, 160g / 5.5 ounces
organic egg yolks 2

Combine the flour with the salt, vanilla and sugar. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Set your oven to 200°C / 390°F top / bottom heat. Butter the tartlet pans and dust with flour.

Roll out the dough about 3mm thick between cling film and cut out 10 12cm / 5″ circles. Line your tartlet pans with the pastry and prick with a fork. Blind-bake in the hot oven for 9 minutes or until golden. Take them out, let them cool for a couple minutes before you flip them over and let the tartlets cool off completely.

 

For the compote

rhubarb, sliced thinly, 400g / 14 ounces
sugar 3 tablespoons
ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
water 2 tablespoons

In a sauce pan, heat all the ingredients for the compote on medium temperature, keep the lid closed. Cook for 10 minutes or until the rhubarb has become a thick compote and let it cool completely.

 

For the meringue

organis egg whites 4
sugar 120g / 4.5 ounces
a pinch of salt

Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F top / bottom heat.

Beat the egg whites with the salt for 10 – 20 seconds until they start to stiffen. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff and glossy.

Put a tablespoon of the rhubarb compote on top of the tartlet, spread evenly. Fill the meringue mixture in a piping bag and decorate generously. Bake them on a baking sheet for 2-3 minutes until the tops of the meringue become golden. Let them cool for 1 minute, put them on plates with a spatula and serve immediately.

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie