Next on my seasonal hit list is rhubarb, actually a vegetable that we treat like a fruit (the opposite of the tomato, the fruit we tend to use as a vegetable) and a part of the sorrel family, hence perhaps the sharpness of it’s stem. It is this long red/green stems that we cook down to a deliciously tart sauce, that once sweetened can be added to cream and yogurt for a fruit fool or diced and roasted in the oven with cinnamon, sugar and a hint of orange. My favourite way to cook with rhubarb though is in a crumble, and here it is combined with a simple sponge cake, strawberries and almonds to provide the most satisfying combination of dishes.
Rhubarb, strawberry and almond crumble cake
125g softened butter
125g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
125g self-raising flour
500g trimmed rhubarb, sliced into 2 cm peices
150g strawberries, hulled and halved
150g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g chilled butter, diced
100g caster sugar
25g porridge oats
100g nibbed or flaked almonds
icing sugar, to dust
crème fraiche or Greek yogurt, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan-forced and grease and line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper. Start by making the crumble. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture forms crumbs. Stir the in the sugar, oats and almonds and set to one side.
Make the sponge. Place the butter, sugar, eggs and flour into a food mixer or processor and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Spoon the sponge mix into the prepared cake tin and smooth flat.
Scatter the rhubarb and the strawberries over the sponge mix and then cover with the crumble mixture so you can still see a little of the fruit. Bake for 11/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve still slightly warm, dusted with icing sugar, and some crème fraiche or Greek yogurt.