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Rhubarb recipes

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Author Topic: Rhubarb recipes  (Read 487 times)
« on: June 29, 2009, 01:46:56 am »

In Season Rhubarb

What's growing in your garden or flooding the markets? In Season follows Witt chef Robyn Trowern and journalist Virginia Winder in their quest to source the freshest fruit and vegetables and serve them up with simple sense and inspiration.

Taranaki Daily News | Tuesday, 19 May 2009

OUT STALKING: When you've got an excess of rhubarb in the garden, try making old-fashioned jam with ginger twist.  MARK DWYER/Taranaki Daily News.

OUT STALKING: When you've got an excess of rhubarb in the
garden, try making old-fashioned jam with ginger twist.
MARK DWYER/Taranaki Daily News.

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. While English comedy writer Eric Sykes wrote a nonsensical short film using those words, cooking with the fibrous stalks makes perfect sense to Robyn Trowern.

The film was inspired by radio show The Goons, during which extras would mutter rhubarb over and over to provide unintelligible background noise for a crowd or party scene. At Witt, rhubarb has been the word on everybody's lips in the past couple of weeks while Robyn has been rustling up rhubarb recipes.

Top choices are a jam your grandmother might have boiled up, a tartlet perfect for dinner parties and good old-fashioned shortcake made in a pie dish.

Before going any further, it's vital to know that you don't eat the leaves of a rhubarb plant they are toxic. Just use the stalks.

The jam recipe, courtesy of Witt assistant chef Lorna McKenzie, is from days gone by.

"I had to convert the recipe from pounds to grams and kilos," Robyn says. "It brought back memories of my grandmother making jams. Preserving is almost a dying art. I guess that's because there's so much available in the supermarkets, but if you have an excess of something, it's nice to be able to do something with it."

Along with plenty of rhubarb, you need a bit of patience because it's important to lay the stalks on clean paper for three days. This helps dry them out and lowers the acid content. Another interesting aspect of this recipe is that it makes use of the peel and cores of apples to get the jam started.

"You boil up what you would normally discard to get a juice and add the sugar to that."

To make a good jam, it has to set properly. Robyn has a simple test for this: "Get a dish of cold water and drop a bit of jam into it. When you have got a piece that sits without dissolving in the water, you know it's set. At that stage, you turn off the stove and add the ginger."

A good source of jars for the jam job is the Taranaki Hospice Shop in New Plymouth. Garage sales are also an option. In all cases, it's important to sterilise the jars before use. While the jam is delicious on toast, scones and pikelets, Robyn believes it would complement strong meats like venison or pork. She also recommends giving the rhubarb tarts a go.

"It's an easy recipe, but it's lovely. I've done it a number of times for dinner parties."

The beauty of this dessert is it can be made ahead of time, makes use of already rolled pastry and has a filling that's a doddle to make. This is topped with roasted rhubarb, in line with Robyn's penchant for pre-cooking seasonal fruits or vegetables to make the most of their flavour.

That's also the case with the apple and rhubarb shortcake recipe, which she likes to make in a pie dish with a false bottom and sprinkle with caster sugar before popping in the oven.

"That gives it a bit of colour and texture," she says of the sugar.

The shortcake is best served with ice cream or whipped cream.

"We tend to eat it with both," Robyn says.

Others might like it with something warm and yellow. So let's leave you with a taste of Sykes and The Goons rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, custard!



  • 6 large Granny Smith apples
  • 250g butter
  • 1 cups caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • cup caster sugar
  • 1 lemon for zest
  • 300g rhubarb
  • cup water


  • Preheat oven to 180C. Grease the base of a fluted 24cm loose-based pie dish.
  • Peel and core the apples, then thinly slice them. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces.
  • Place apples and rhubarb in a large saucepan with lemon zest, cup caster sugar and water.
  • Cook on a medium heat until fruit is just soft. Take off and leave to cool.
  • In a bowl, cream the butter and caster sugar until light. Add egg yolks and mix well.
  • Next, add sifted flour and baking powder. Mix until dough forms.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough in half on a floured surface. Roll in two circles about 5mm thick.
  • Place one sheet of dough into the prepared pie dish and press down lightly.
  • Cover with the apple and rhubarb mixture and place the second sheet of dough on top.
  • Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool before serving. Dish up with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


Makes 6.

TART TARTS: Witt chef Robyn Trowern likes to serve these rhubarb tarts at dinner parties.  MARK DWYER/Taranaki Daily News.

TART TARTS: Witt chef Robyn Trowern likes to serve these rhubarb tarts at dinner parties. MARK DWYER/Taranaki Daily News.


  • 100g cream cheese
  • cup icing sugar
  • tsp cornflour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • tsp vanilla essence
  • Packet of ready-rolled sweet crust pastry


  • Using an electric beater or food processor, blend cream cheese, icing sugar, cornflour, egg yolks and vanilla essence until smooth.
  • Cover and put in fridge until ready to use.
  • Heat oven to 180C.
  • Cut rhubarb into short sticks and place in a roasting dish with a little red wine and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  • Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until just soft. Set aside.
  • Turn oven up to 200C.
  • Cut sheets of pastry to fit into six round 8cm fluted loose-bottomed tart tins.
  • Push the rolling pin over the top of the tart tins to cut off any overhanging pastry.
  • Line pastry shells with silicone baking paper, fill with dried beans or uncooked rice and blind bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Take out and turn down oven to 180C.
  • Immediately spoon cream cheese mixture into pastry cases, top with a couple of roasted rhubarb sticks and pop back into the oven.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until set.

Serve with creme fraiche.



  • 1kg rhubarb stalks, chopped
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • cup of water
  • 1kg (4 cups) sugar
  • 50g preserved ginger, chopped into small bits
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon


  • Spread rhubarb on paper and leave to dry for three days.
  • Boil the peel and cores of apples in water for about five minutes and strain, keeping the apple juice (this will help the jam set).
  • Put apple juice in a saucepan over medium heat and add 1 cup of sugar for each cup of juice, along with the lemon juice and zest.
  • Add the rest of the sugar, gradually, until all is dissolved.
  • When the sugar mix is boiling briskly, add chopped rhubarb and apples.
  • Boil mixture until it sets when tested (see story).
  • Add chopped ginger just before putting the jam into sterilised jars.

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