The way rhubarb shoots burst through the earth always takes me by surprise. Each year I think I have lost that plant. There is no sign, then next day the tips are pushing the earth to one side. Three cheers for such a resilient, and to my mind essential, part of the kitchen garden ( or small patch).
This recipe from a modest but brilliant cook in the Loire is a bit of a winner - do give it a go if you haven't already. In the UK Pandemic restrictions have been lifted so the we can see another household in the garden. I am so happy to be able to harvest a few stems of rhubarb - whether it is for tea or as a desert this will be shared - Happy Easter!
FOR 6 PEOPLE
110 gr plain flour
60 gr caster sugar
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil (a light olive or sunflower oil is suitable)
1 teaspoon baking powder
750g - 1 kg (11⁄2 - 2 lb) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into short equal lengths
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE:
125 g (4 oz) sugar
90 g (3 oz) butter
Preheat the oven to gas mark 8, 450°F, 230°C.
Mix all the ingredients, except the fruit, together in a bowl to make quite a soft, almost runny, dough. Butter a 23 cm (9 in) round sponge tin. Sprinkle with flour. Spread the mixture into it. Place the rhubarb pieces on top of the mixture.
It is a little difficult to be accurate about the amount of rhubarb, which can give off a lot of liquid – but bear in mind it is a very soft cake. The sharpness of the rhubarb will be offset by the caramel.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until golden. (It will rise a little.)
Meanwhile, prepare the caramel sauce. Melt the sugar and butter together in a small pan. Remove from the heat, cool a little, then stir in the egg. When you take the cake out of the oven, pour this sauce over it. Put it under a hot grill for two minutes or until the sauce has caramelised. Watch it carefully, as it burns easily. Leave the cake to cool. It may be eaten warm or cold.