Monday, 24 August 2009

Another Baking Session with Rhubarb

I'm not sure whether to call this a pie or a cake; the dough used for the case is more like a scone or shortcake than pastry; perhaps I should call it a shortcake pie!

I was looking for a way of incorporating some roasted rhubarb into a dessert, but didn't want to make a pie using shortcrust pastry, or a crumble, as I prefer to use raw rhubarb for those.

While looking for suitable recipes I saw one based on a Nigel Slater recipe,
on this blog, for a cake using polenta, with a layer of cooked rhubarb in the middle. The cake looked exactly what I needed, but I didn't want to use polenta again, after last week's cake. I remembered a fresh fruit cake, in my repertoire, which I had never tried with rhubarb because of the amount of juices produced when rhubarb is cooked. Using Nigel's technique of raising a lip around the edge of the dough base should be perfect for containing any juices.


150g butter
150g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
300g SR flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
finely grated zest of 1 orange

Enough cooked rhubarb to fill the cake - sorry this is vague, but I was just took what I needed from a bowl of already cooked fruit. If starting from scratch I guess you'd need at least 400g, perhaps a bit more, but the recipe is fairly flexible.

To 'roast' the rhubarb: cut the stems into 5cm lengths, lay in a single layer in a shallow non-metallic ovenproof dish, sprinkle with caster sugar - about a tablespoon per 100g or more if you have a really sweet tooth - then bake at 180C, Fan oven 160C, Gas 4 until the tip of a knife passes easily through the thickest piece of fruit. This takes roughly 20 minutes. Put the fruit in a sieve over a bowl to drain off any juice which has collected. Cool before making the cake.

To make the pie: Preheat the oven to 180C, Fan oven 160C, Gas 4, and grease and base-line a 20cm springform cake tin. Baking parchment is best, or a circle of re-usable silicon sheeting.

Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, or in a saucepan on the hob.

Mix in the sugar and beaten egg, then stir in the flour, cinnamon and orange zest.

Put 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared tin and spread into an even layer with your fingers, working the soft dough a couple of centimetres up the side of the tin to make a shallow wall.

Put in the fruit, packing it as closely as you can, but trying to keep a level surface and not bringing it higher than the wall of dough.

Pinch small pieces off the rest of the dough and scatter them over the surface of the fruit. Make sure to put some pieces touching the top of the wall of dough in the tin. You won't have enough to cover the fruit completely, but it will spread in baking.

Bake for 60 minutes, until risen and golden, covering the cake if it browns too quickly.

Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack before taking off the springform sides. Serve at room temperature; lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

My OH thought this was a pie, and complimented me on the quality of the pastry! Shows what he knows! As a perfectionist, I wished I'd packed in more fruit, and the topping might have been better with some rolled oats or chopped nuts worked in to give a contrasting texture, but otherwise I don't have too many criticisms of this. I was particularly pleased that the already cooked rhubarb had retained it's shape and texture - I had been worried that it would be just a mush in the centre.

1 comment:

joanna said...

That looks very interesting, as OH loves pastry I might give it a shot. So many interesting possiblities and only two of us to feed, I wish I could make them all....