Saturday, 25 July 2009
I often wonder why it is that, when I don't have any rhubarb to hand, I can always find loads of recipes that I would love to try using it in. And yet, when I do have some, I struggle to think of something to do with it . . .
I suppose in a way it's like money. I can think of a million things to spend it on, but when I have £20 in my purse, I can't find a single thing that I really want to buy . . .
There was some rhubarb in my Able & Cole veggie box this week and I really had a hard time deciding what to do with it. This was compounded by the fact that I don't really have a working oven at the moment. Roll on Monday!
When I was a girl, my mother used to give us stalks of raw rhubarb to eat, along with bowls of sugar to dip it in. I had always loved this jaw achingly delicious treat, kind of like an all natural lick-em-aid. I didn't think that either Todd or I were quite up to this, although I do confess that I did try a small piece with sugar to see if I still loved it that way. Umm . . . no.
I finally decided to fall back on my Abel & Cole cookbook. I figured that if they sent it to me, then there must be a recipe in that I could use to cook it. There was, Rhubarb Bread and Butter Pudding, and it was delicious. I halved the recipe, because there are only two of us, and because we can only eat so much, not to mention . . . because my convection oven is only so big. I also skipped the water bath, as, well . . . I just couldn't fit the both of them into my convection oven. Thankfully, it turned out pretty good regardless!
The original recipe didn't have any measurements, only a mug sized measure of things. I decided to actually measure them, and the amounts are reflected in my adaption of the original recipe. You can add more sugar to the rhubarb if you wish, depending on how sweet you like it. The amount I used was perfect for us.
*Rhubarb Bread and Butter Pudding*
I have always loved rhubarb . . . in pies, cakes, even shortbreads. I had never thought of using it in a bread and butter pudding until the other day. This is pure genius, and oh so very delicious as well! Adapted from the Abel & Cole Cookbook.
6 stalks of rhubarb, topped, tailed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup sugar, divided
12 slices of white bread, crusts removed
4 large eggs
8 ounces cream
4 ounces whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
Creme fraiche to serve
Place the chopped rhubarb in a bowl along with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Allow to sit for about an hour or so, so that it softens slightly and becomes all juicy.
Butter all the bread slices on one side and butter a 10 inch square baking dish. Lay 4 slices of the buttered bread, buttered side down in the baking dish. Spread half of the rhubarb over this. Repeat and then top finally with the last four slices of bread.
Whisk together the cream, milk, eggs. second 1/2 cup of sugar and the vanilla. (Mix well together so that the sugar melts somewhat.) Slowly strain this mixture over top of the bread. Grate some fresh nutmeg over top and then place in the fridge for approximately an hour to allow the custard to soak in somewhat.
Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Place the pudding dish into a large roasting tin. Fill the roasting tin with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding dish. Carefully set in the heated oven. Bake for about 1 hour, until the pudding is set and the top is golden brown.
Spoon onto dessert plates and serve warm with a dollop of creme fraiche.