Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb....

Rhubarb is one my favourite fruits (vegetables??) and now that more and more is appearing in the shops I hope to make the most of it and try out a number of rhubarb-based recipes over the next few weeks. If only I could persuade the sad little rhubarb plant in our garden to pull itself together and give us a decent number of stalks each year I'd be a happy bunny. But instead we have to make do with it half-heartedly sending up a couple of feeble efforts before dissapearing back into the ground until the following spring. I do envy people who are overrun with the stuff!

Anyway, this is without a doubt one of my very favourite rhubarb recipes, Rhubarb Meringue Pie from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson. It tastes fabulous and the sweetness of the meringue sets off the tartness of the rhubarb perfectly.

I won't give you the full recipe, suffice to say you need to make up and blind bake a 24cm shortcrust pastry case, using the juice of half an orange to bind the dough together. The filling is then put together as follows:

Rhubarb Meringue Pie
(adapted from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson)

24cm shortcrust pastry case
800g rhubarb, untrimmed weight
juice of 1/2 orange
2 eggs, separated
150g sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
30g melted butter

1) Trim the rhubarb and chop it into roughly 1cm slices. Put in a saucepan with the orange juice and heat briefly, just until the rawness is taken off them. Remove and drain (but keep the liquid).

2) In a bowl mix together the sugar, flour and melted butter. Add the eggs and enough of the rhubarb juices to make a smooth runny paste. Add some more orange juice if needed.

3) Put the rhubarb into the blind baked pastry case and pour the sugary, eggy mixture over. Bake in the oven at 200c/gas mark 6 for 20-30 until just set.

4) Use the egg whites, 120g caster sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar to make a meringue mix. Spread the meringue over the pie, sprinkle with a teaspoon of caster sugar and bake for 15 minutes.

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