Michelle Darmody: A celebration of rhubarb

— Rhubarb and ginger loaf, or this flavourful rhubarb and almond tart
Michelle Darmody: A celebration of rhubarb

Rhubarb and ginger loaf

This is an unashamed celebration of rhubarb. I am biased as it is one of my favourite ingredients to bake with, its tartness, its colour and its ability to combine with other flavours always attract me to it. Strangely rhubarb is not a fruit even though we most often treat it like it is. The definition of a fruit is something that contains seeds, which is why a tomato and an avocado are both technically fruit. The rest of an edible plant is considered a vegetable — the stalks, the leaves and the roots.

The rhubarb plant is originally from Asia but grows quite profusely in Ireland. The forced rhubarb, which has a more tender texture and is lighter pink in colour, is now giving way to the hardier outdoor variety. This takes a little more time to soften when being baked or cooked as it is more fibrous. When buying rhubarb, I always gravitate towards the redder and pinker stems, if they are too green they will need more sugar or honey added.

Stewed rhubarb with a dash rosewater and a little honey is delicious. I often make a batch of it and keep it in an airtight container in my fridge to add to porridge or have it with yogurt and granola.


                        Rhubarb and almond tart
Rhubarb and almond tart

Rhubarb and almond tart

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 225g flour
  • 140g cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 125g butter
  • 115g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 20g slivered almonds, chopped
  • 250g rhubarb, leaves and tips removed and sliced to half the length of your 9-inch tart case

Method:

Rub the cold butter into the flour until it looks like rough breadcrumbs: try not to over mix.

Stir the sugar into the egg, mix it lightly until it begins to dissolve. Add this to the flour mixture with a fork. Bring everything together with your hands then wrap it in parchment and rest the pastry in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight if you wish.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and place a disc of parchment on the base of a 9-inch tart case, butter and flour the sides.

Roll the pastry into a disc about 3mm in depth — it should be larger than your case. Gently lower it into the case and allow it to fall into shape. Leave a little over the edge, you can tidy this up after baking. Prick the base all over with a fork and spread some baking beans on top. Bake blind for 10 minutes until it's a light biscuit colour. Set aside to cool.

To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gently beat in the egg, then the vanilla, ground almonds and slivered almonds, until everything is combined.

Scoop this mixture into your pastry case and flatten it out. Place the rhubarb stalks on top. I like to place lines in each of the four corners as shown here in the image, but you can decorate as you wish. Press the rhubarb down ever so slightly.

Bake for about 40 minutes until the filling is set and the pastry is golden. Allow to cool in the tin until cool enough to handle then gently remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Rhubarb and oat buns

Ingredients:

  • 180g rhubarb, leaves and tips removed and stalks sliced into small chunks
  • the zest of 2 oranges
  • 160g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbs rapeseed oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 125mls buttermilk
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bread soda, sieved
  • 30g oats

Method:

Pre heat your oven to 200°C and line a 12-hole bun tin with paper cases.

Toss the rhubarb in the zest and sugar and set aside for about 15 minutes so the juices have started to come out of the rhubarb.

Mix the oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk together.

Mix the flour, bread soda and oats together.

Add the oil mixture to the rhubarb and combine. Add in the flour mixture until that too is combined.

Scoop the mixture into your bun cases and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Rhubarb and ginger loaf

Ingredients:

  • 175g soft butter
  • 160g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 30g stem ginger, chopped

Method:

230g rhubarb, leaves and tips removed and stalks sliced into cubes

Preheat your oven to 190°C and line a 2 lb loaf tin with parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the eggs until combined. Add the flour until that too is combined. Add in the vanilla, milk and chopped ginger.

Stir in the chopped rhubarb and scoop the mixture into your prepared tin.

Bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean from the cake mixture. Allow to cool in the tin until cool enough to handle then gently remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

LOTTO RESULTS

Saturday, May 8, 2021

  • 2
  • 4
  • 14
  • 21
  • 41
  • 42
  • 28

Full Lotto draw results »