Rhubarb Galette

I got an unusual message from my friend the other day. ‘Babe, you’re a bit obsessed with rhubarb on Instagram’. A quick check of my most recent likes showed that they were indeed skewed towards all things pink and long stemmed. Rhubarb vodka, cakes, just pictures of people’s bright fruit hauls ready to be turned into something delicious. In particular, my likes kept showing me lots of highly elaborate rhubarb tarts – with delicately fragranced custard fillings, carefully latticed pie lids or neat fruit arrangements in long rectangular tins. I desperately wanted to try all of these, but my limited space and equipment at university meant that (for now) I had to go with something a little bit more rustic to turn my evident rhubarb insta-favouritism into something real.

I used to make a plum and marzipan galette that was absolutely delicious and I wanted to recreate some of that magic galette simplicity with this. The brown sugar pastry gave a lovely extra flavour to the biscuity pastry and a generous slice, served with an equally generous pour of custard, proved the perfect afternoon treat.

Rhubarb galette

  • 200g plain flour
  • 140g cold butter
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300g rhubarb
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 5tbsp caster sugar
  • 2tbsps ground almonds
  • 1tbsp demerara sugar

Rub the butter into the flour until resembling fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar. Mix the egg yolk with 1tbsp of water, and pour into the flour mixture. Use a knife to stir together and bring into a dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for an hour.

Cut the rhubarb into 5cm sticks. Stir together with the orange zest and sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Roll the pastry into a large disc, 3mm thick. Lift onto a lined baking tray. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the pastry. Pile the rhubarb into the centre of the disc, leaving a 5cm border of pastry. Fold the pastry border over the edges of the fruit. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the edge of the pastry.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp. Serve with plenty of custard.

Rhubarb, orange and almond cake

I look forward to rhubarb season every year. There is something so cheery about getting through the grey bleakness of January with a little help from these long bright pink stems, quite unlike anything else in season at this time of year. Those long stems may look a little bit ridiculous poking out of my bag as I walk through Cambridge, squeezed in amongst my dissertation draft and books on the Enlightenment, but it’s worth it for this cake.

I initially really wanted to make a rhubarb galette with my stash, but as I’ve cooked a lot with pastry in the last week or so I have put this on hold for now. After searching through my rhubarb recipes and discounting elaborate tarts, delicate jellies and creams I settled on this cake – thinking that a generous slice warm from the oven, with a big dollop of crème fraiche alongside it, would be the perfect change from the baking trays of shortbread and cookies my oven has been churning out so far this term. Even my chocolate-dedicated friends enjoyed this and I didn’t face the predicament of having this languishing in a tin for days (admittedly not that miserable a prospect) as it was all gone in two days between three of us.

Rhubarb, orange and almond cake

  • 170g soft butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • zest 2 oranges
  • 150g almonds
  • 40g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick of rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Line the base of a 21cm tin with greaseproof paper.

Slice the rhubarb into lengths around 7cm long. Cut each one into quarters lengthways to create thinner batons. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs, beating well in between the addition of each egg. Add the orange zest and dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.

Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Top with the rhubarb sticks in a clock pattern. Bake for 30-35 mins until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Chocolate Orange Dipped Shortbread

The start of term is always a blank canvas for my kitchen cupboards. Whilst the odd tin of tomatoes and packet of microwaveable rice stayed in my lockable storage over Christmas, on the whole my cupboards were bare when I returned this week. This is largely positive – starting afresh means I can make anything, the fridge is clean and there is nothing lurking forgotten at the back. However, it also means that my first few food shops are pretty hefty as I try to rebuild stocks to enable me to actually cook regularly. This means when it came to baking this week, I wanted to find something that required buying as little as possible (so that I don’t fill up my cupboards with ingredients I will only use once) yet would still go down well with my friends.

DSC_0206 Bakes being popular with my friends are vital to save me eating 24 shortbread fingers myself, and luckily these went down extremely well. With flour and sugar already in the cupboard, all I needed was butter, an orange and a bar of chocolate and I was ready to get started. The process of making these was quite therapeutic – cutting out the neat rectangles, pronging them all with a fork, dipping and drizzling each one with chocolate. They are the epitome of simple but effective – the perfect bake to ease me back into baking in Cambridge.

DSC_0211Of course, these are completely versatile to suit whatever you have in your cupboards should they be more bountiful than mine. Swap the orange for a lime and dip in white chocolate and desiccated coconut for a tropical feel. Replace some of the flour with ground almonds and dip in toasted crushed nuts. Use cocoa powder in the dough for a triple chocolate treat. Instead of a white chocolate drizzle, sprinkle with freeze dried raspberries, chopped candied peel or hundreds and thousands. The opportunities are endless!

Chocolate Orange Dipped Shortbread

  • 55g caster sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 125g butter
  • 180g plain flour
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50g white chocolate

Zest the orange into the sugar and stir to release the oils (and maximise your orange flavour).

Add the butter and beat together until soft. Stir in the flour to form a dough.

Roll out to 1/2cm thick. If you want a rectangle, trim the edges of dough to form one large square and divide it neatly before rerolling the scraps. Otherwise, cut into whatever shape you desire. Place on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 20minutes.

Bake at 180’C for 15-20 minutes and then cool completely. Break the chocolate into chunks and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip each cooled biscuit a third into the chocolate, and place back on the lined tray. Melt the white chocolate as before, and drizzle over each chocolate dipped end.