Today is the first day of spring and spring means some of my favorite seasonal produce is almost in sight. I started blanching rhubarb a couple of weeks ago but despite the warm weather we’ve had, it is not quite ready to harvest yet. Also, it seems the rabbits roaming our allotment did not get the memo about rhubarb leaves containing unhealthy concentrations of oxalic acid and they’ve been nibbling on the emerging leaves, setting the plants back a bit. Nevertheless, I want to be ready when we can harvest the first stems, so I am considering which recipe from the archives will have the honour of being the first rhubarb dish of the season – or maybe something entirely new? If your garden is already producing lots of rhubarb, I hope you can find some inspiration bellow. And I would love to hear about your favorite ways to prepare rhubarb!
Poached rhubarb with yogurt cream – This was the first dessert I made with rhubarb last year: pink rhubarb stalks gently poached in orange juice scented with cardamom and start anise, topped with yogurt lightened with cream
– a versatile cake (brunch, afternoon tea…) with a high rhubarb to dough ratio. The cornflour makes the cake appealingly yellow and complements the taste of rhubarb. As do the orange zest and juice in the batter and cinnamon brown sugar scattered on top.
Rhubarb cream cheese tart – a dinner party worthy tart with crisp crust, cream cheese filling (with rum!) and oven baked rhubarb, with reduced rhubarb syrup drizzled on top.
Rhubarb tart with orange custard – this pretty tart is fast and easy to make because the dough is not a pie dough but a batter, so no chilling and no rolling out. The clove and orange scented custard partially merges with the batter, I don’t exactly know why this is appealing, but it is. The balance between sweet and tart that makes it also suitable for a brunch.
Rhubarb tarts in cornmeal crust – cute individual free-form tarts filled with rhubarb compote. The delicious crust is made with both cornflour and cornmeal and is good enough to eat on its own
Rhubarb streusel whole wheat muffins – the title pretty much says it all. I just wish you could also experience the delicious smell when they come out of the oven in the morning…
Rhubarb cobbler – slightly less elegant, but very easy to throw together. The rhubarb does not have to be precooked, only mixed with sugar and orange and left to marinate. The biscuit dough comes together in minutes and is just spooned over the rhubarb. A beautiful combination of tart, orange scented rhubarb and sweet cakey biscuit that is crisp on top.