Rhubarb is my favourite vegetable that thinks it’s a fruit. It would also be my favourite fruit, if it was one. My Granny grew rhubarb and gave me sticks of it raw, sitting on the scullery step, with the sugar bowl to dip into (better than a Dib-Dab).
I will devour, with gusto, pretty much any rhubarb dish you care to make. I crave the stuff all winter and exhale with pleasure when I see it back in the shops come Spring. I am in the process of preparing a bed in my potager (ooh la, lah) and hope to plant some soon (anyone in the vicinity with well-rotted horse manure on offer might let me know!). Unfortunately, it will be a few years before I become self-sufficient in the rhubarb department.
Simple crumble and tart are difficult to beat although Nigella does a lovely rhubarb cornmeal cake which keeps for days and makes a great lunchbox treat. Rhubarb jam is worth making just for the gorgeous, garnet colour of it shining like a jewel in the jar. This is a great recipe.
Today, the hankering was for rhubarb clafoutis. A proper clafoutis is made with fresh cherries and it is traditional to leave the stones in. Chunks of rhubarb won’t hold their shape like a cherry would but the flavours are perfect. After all, this is simply a baked rhubarb and custard.
The recipe I use comes from a children’s cookbook so it is super-easy. Yumee by Aoileann Garavaglia was published in 2001 to accompany the junior cookery show which ran on RTE. Unfortunately, I think it’s out of print but I’ve often spotted it in charity shops so, if you’re in Ireland, you could get lucky. I’ve just checked and there are 6 second-hand copies available here.The author has another book, Cheat’s Cuisine, available here.
It’s a sweet little book with witty illustrations.
Rhubarb Clafoutis by Aoileann Garavaglia.
Chop 250g (2 sticks) of rhubarb into small chunks and spread around a small baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine 2 eggs, 175ml of cream, 100ml of thick natural yogurt and 2 dessert spoons of golden syrup.
Pour the custard unto the rhubarb, wiggle the dish a bit to even it all out and bake it at 180 Celsius for 30 minutes until it’s just set in the centre.
I sprinkle a soon of demerara sugar on top when it’s cooked and serve with yogurt.