I think I'm finished with the rhubarb for this year. I picked some yesterday, but gave it all away. I know that I should spread these recipes out, but I'm really too lazy to make 3 separate blog posts, so here they are. Not sure how much baking I'll be doing this week, as it's in the 30s here already, which is unseasonably warm.
First up is a recipe from Baking with Julia. It's called Hungarian shortbread, but isn't shortbread-like at all. It's more like a cake with a layer of rhubarb jam in the middle. This is made by freezing and then grating the shortbread mixture, for a light and tender cake. I make half the recipe below in a 9" square pan, but use the full amount of rhubarb filling. You could use any jam here if you don't love rhubarb. If you don't love rhubarb you're probably not reading any longer...
Hungarian Shortbread, from Baking with Julia, written by Dorie Greenspan. Contributing baker: Gale Gand.
1 pound rhubarb, cut in 1" lengths
½ cup sugar
½ cup water ( I use less)
½ vanilla bean, split
Combine jam ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb turns to mush. Cool to room temperature, or chill if making in advance. This will keep for a week in the fridge, covered.
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 pound butter at room temperature
4 large egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.
Beat the butter on high speed until pale and fluffy, and add the sugar. Beat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is light. Beat in the egg yolks. Reduce the mixer speed and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and form it into 2 balls. Wrap each in plastic and freeze for half an hour, or until firm. You can also keep this dough in the freezer and thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.
Assembling and baking
Preheat oven to 350℉. Remove one ball of dough from the freezer and grate it on a box grater, using the largest holes, directly into a 9"x12"pan (or 9"x 13"). If you only made half a recipe, use an 8"x8", or 9"x9" pan. Pat the dough gently to get it into the corners, but don't press it down too much. Spread the jam overtop, and grate the remaining dough over the top, spreading evenly.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Mine always seems to take 50 minutes or so, even in a small pan, so be sure to check that it's firm in the centre before taking it out.
Dust with icing sugar as soon as you remove it from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack. Cut into squares when cool. You'll probably need to add more icing sugar.
These keep for a couple of days, but are best on the day you make them. They can also be frozen once baked.
Next is rhubarb soda, which is easy and refreshing.
Combine 5 cups thinly sliced rhubarb, 5 cups water and a scant 3 cups sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb dissolves. Strain and cool. Use this pink concentrate to make a soda by diluting with sparkling water. Some booze would not be out of place here...
I seem to be making lots of things with egg yolks recently, so am left with a glut of egg whites. I decided to make a pavlova-type meringue and top it with rhubarb fool. This was delicious, but as you can see in the pictures, melted fast. I only made 2, but you can easily scale the recipe up.
1 egg white
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon vinegar
a bit of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, then beat in sugar gradually, until they hold firm peaks. Quickly beat in cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla. Form meringue into 2 mounds on baking sheet, making a dip in the centre to hold the filling. Place in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 250℉. Bake for 1 hour, until crisp but not browned. Turn oven off and cool in over with door propped open.
For the filling, I used the leftover rhubarb I had roasted at 375℉ with a few tablespoons of sugar, along with some of its syrup. I combined the rhubarb with about ¼ cup of cream, whipped, and an equal amount of Greek yogurt, some icing sugar and some of that pink syrup. This mess I piled into the cooled meringue shell. It was perfect--crisp and chewy, creamy, sweet and tart too.
I crumbled the second meringue and mixed it with the cream filling to make a kind of Eton mess--it was pretty good too!
There's another pound or so of rhubarb in the fridge, but I'll spare you for now! See you on Thursday with the Daring Bakers' reveal, which was one of my birthday cakes this year.