When I was a child I could hardly wait for Rhubarb Season to roll around. My mom would make us our favourite rhubarb pies. They were so tasty, served warm with vanilla ice cream all melting down into that buttery crust and the sweet/tart juices of that beautiful fruit . . .
But that was not the bestest part. The bestest part was eating it raw. Oh what a treat that was. Mom would carefully wash and trim each of us a stalk and then we would each be given a little bowl of sugar. We would sit there at the table and dip the ends of the rhubarb into the sugar and then suck and munch away . . . a jaw aching, mouth puckering right of spring. It was soooo good.
We have a rather large rhubarb patch out back here in the garden. We brought up the rhubarb that we had had down in Kent when we moved up here last year and we added it to the patch that was already here and it has literally blossomed in a beautiful way like it never did down south. The soil must be a lot better here, or maybe it is that bag of horse manure that Todd fed it last autumn . . .
Whatever it is we are enjoying it again . . . these first tender pink and ruby coloured spring shoots are so delightful, and a wonderfully welcome taste after the long cold winter.
Today I made Todd a sort of a roly poly rhubarb pudding . . . a rich buttery scone type of batter, spread with butter, sprinkled with sugar and nutmeg and then scattered with the chopped pink stalks of this delightfully tart fruit. Roll them up and then cut them in slices like a jelly roll. Placed in a buttered pan, and topped with a sweet lightly spiced sauce and baked, it is oh so wonderful, served up warm and covered with lashings of custard or cream.
Nothing could be more delightful on an early spring evening . . . eaten out on the patio as the sun starts to get lower in the sky and the birds begin putting themselves to bed.
I tried to tempt Todd with a raw stalk and a bowl of sugar . . . but he wasn't having it. He'd rather eat the pudding.
*Roly Poly Rhubarb Pudding*
Kind of like a rolled rhubarb dumpling baked in a delicious sauce. Serve with lashings of custard or cream for a delicious treat!
For the dumplings:
8 1/2 ounces plain flour (2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBS butter
7 fluid ounces of milk (7/8 cup)
For the filling:
softened butter for spreading
3.5 ounces caster sugar
freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces rhubarb, chopped (2 cups)
For the Sauce:
7 ounces caster sugar (1 cup)
4 tsp plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 fluid ounces hot water (1 cup)
1 TBS butter
freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a deep 9 inch square baking dish and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into little bits and drop it into the flour. Rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Tip out onto a floured board. Knead a few times and then pat out to a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. Spread the top with softened butter. Sprinkle the sugar over top and pat down. Sprinkle with some freshly grated nutmeg and then cover with the chopped rhubarb. Pat it down a bit then roll up as for a jelly roll, pinching the edges shut. Cut into 8 slices with a sharp knife. Place each slice, cut side down into the prepared baking dish.
Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt for the sauce. Whisk in the hot water. Cook on high in the microwave for about a minute. Take out and whisk. Cook for a further minute, until boiling. Pour this over top of the rhubarb rolls in the dish.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the heated oven, until the rolls are cooked through and the whole thing is nice and bubbly. Serve warm, spooned into bowls, along with some custard or pouring cream.