As gloomy days are replaced by sunny skies, the arrival of spring brings with it a new harvest of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
And with British rhubarb season running anytime between February and June, the start of spring welcomes the return of the lively, tart-tasting vegetable.
As its neon pink stems fill gardens and farmers markets across the country, it’s the perfect time to buy a bouquet and cook up a storm.
Whether you fancy making a classic crumble or are looking for something a little more original like a zesty fruit pot, OKAY!‘s Victoria Gray sums up some of her favorite seasonal rhubarb recipes…
Rhubarb and custard tart
For 6 to 8 people
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- 375g ready-to-use shortcrust pastry
- 5 eggs, (1 beaten, for brushing, and 4 yolks)
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped and reserved
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 25g plain flour
- 200 ml fresh cream
- 350ml whole milk
- 400 g forced rhubarb, cut into 4 cm pieces
- Butter a 25 cm fluted tart mold and line it with shortcrust pastry. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C convection/thermostat 6. Spread a sheet of baking paper over the dough, fill with baking beads and bake blind for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and remove paper and beans. Return the pie shell to the oven for 10 minutes, until golden brown.
- Brush the inside of the pie shell with the beaten egg, then return to the oven for an additional minute to dry.
- To make the pastry cream, whisk the egg yolks with 60 g of caster sugar, the vanilla seeds, the cornflour and the plain flour in a bowl.
- Add the fresh cream and milk to a saucepan and heat until boiling.
- Slowly pour the milk and cream over the egg mixture in the bowl, whisking briskly.
- Clean the pan and return the egg and milk mixture to it. Place over medium heat and whisk until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Add 300ml water and the remaining 200g sugar to a large shallow saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and let the mixture boil for 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to low and gently add the rhubarb pieces.
- Poach for 5 to 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender but retains its shape. Then turn off the heat and let the rhubarb cool in the syrup for a few hours, or ideally overnight.
- To assemble the pie, spread the custard evenly over the base of the pie. Garnish with rhubarb pieces and drizzle with a little syrup. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Pots of rhubarb, ginger and lime
For 4 people
- 600 g rhubarb, cut into small pieces
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 30g caster sugar
- 200g ginger biscuits
- 50g of butter
For the lime cream filling
- 300 ml fresh cream
- 2 tablespoons mascarpone
- 20g caster sugar
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
- Put the rhubarb, lime zest, lime juice and sugar in a saucepan. Heat for 2 minutes over medium-high heat and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the rhubarb is just tender.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, place the ginger cookies in a ziplock freezer bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they become crumbs.
- Add the butter to a medium saucepan and heat until melted, remove from the heat and add the ginger crumbs and stir well to coat. Let cool.
- Prepare the filling by putting the cream, mascarpone, sugar and lime zest in a bowl and beat until completely combined. Stir in lime juice, until mixture is glossy.
- Pour the crumbled ginger nuts into the bases of four pretty goblets or jam jars. Add rhubarb and coat with lime cream.
- Sprinkle with a few chopped pistachios and chill for an hour before serving.
Waffles with rhubarb compote
For 4 people
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For the waffles
- 150g self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 teaspoons caster sugar
- 1 large free-range egg
- 200ml) milk
- 40g melted butter
- 4 drops vanilla extract
For the rhubarb compote
- 175 g forced rhubarb, cut into small pieces
- 1 small blood orange, squeezed
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- Heat the waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Incorporate the egg little by little, then add the milk, butter and vanilla extract little by little. Whisk for a few minutes until you obtain a smooth and silky paste.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C convection/gas thermostat 4.
- Using a ladle, pour the batter into your waffle iron and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat until all the batter is used up, placing your finished waffles on a baking sheet as you go.
- Once all the waffles are done, transfer them to the oven for 5 minutes to warm them up and crisp them up while you prepare the rhubarb compote.
- Place the rhubarb, orange juice, sugar and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and bring gently to a boil.
- Once bubbling, reduce the temperature and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod, stir and let the compote cool for a few minutes before pouring it over the waffles.
Oat crumble with rhubarb
For 4 people
For the crumble
- 100g plain flour
- 50g rolled oats
- 50g jumbo oats
- 25g slivered almonds
- 100g butter cut into cubes
- 50 g golden caster sugar
- 175g forced rhubarb
- 100g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C convection/thermostat 6.
- Put the flour, both types of oats, slivered almonds, butter and sugar in a bowl and press together with your fingers to achieve a crispy texture. Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the rhubarb into pieces and place in a baking dish with 4 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle with sugar and roast for 10-15 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape.
- Remove from oven. Spread the filling over the roasted rhubarb. Return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
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