Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rhubarb & coconut cake - or is it a coconut & rhubarb pie?

Last Thursday, my Edinburgh friends Dianne & Peter came for dinner. They're the lovely couple that gave me a roof over my head during the last two weeks in Edinburgh, so when they told me they'd be in Tallinn, I quickly grabbed the chance to reciprocate their kind hospitality. We had a joyous meal together, catching up about the life in Edinburgh - much appreciated, as I'm off to visit my old hometown next week! Foodwise, coconut was the dominant theme. For starters, we had local, Estonian asparagus with coconut milk and lime. For main course, there was salmon with lots of coriander/cilantro* and quinoa (no coconut there, but coriander goes well with coconut milk, so it still counts:), and for the dessert, I served a rhubarb & coconut cake with whipped cream.

I used some rosy pink rhubarb bought at the local market (yes, I finally ran out of the farm-sourced rhubarb), and the cake didn't only taste wonderful, but it also looked lovely pink (see the flecks of rhubarb?) - white (the coconut filling) - yellow (the pastry base). And it tasted even better on the day after, as the coconut flavour was much more pronounced then..

Rhubarb & coconut cake*
Serves 8

200 grams plain flour
2 Tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
100 grams butter
1 medium egg
a dash of cold water

Rhubarb layer:
400 grams rhubarb, chopped

Coconut topping:
75 grams butter, at room temperature
200 grams sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 grams natural yogurt or thick sour cream
2 medium eggs
200 grams grated coconut
2 Tbsp plain flour

For the pastry, mix flour, sugar and salt, add the butter and work with a knife until you've got fine crumbs. Add the egg and combine - if necessary, add a bit of cold water. Wrap into a cling film and put into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Butter a 24 cm springform tin. Roll out the dough into a slightly bigger circle than the cake form, and line the cake form with the pastry. Pierce with a fork, and blind bake at 200C oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
Meanwhile, cut the rhubarb into 1 cm slices (there's no need to peel your rhubarb, as long as it's young and slender).
Mix the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add yogurt/sour cream, vanilla extract, eggs, then add coconut & flour (I combined used the flat beater of my KitchenAid for this).
Spread the rhubarb slices on the pre-baked pastry case. Pour over the coconut filling and bake at 200 C oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is slightly golden.
Cool a little, remove from the cake tin and serve with whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream.

* I'm still to figure out what's a cake and what's a pie. I blame my mother tongue - they're pretty much all 'cakes' ('kook' in sing., 'koogid' in pl.) in Estonian :)

Other coconut recipes @ Nami-nami:
Coconut brownies (February 2007)

Other rhubarb recipes @ Nami-nami:
A creamy rhubarb pie (June 2005)
Moist rhubarb muffins (May 2007)
Rhubarb crumble (May 2007)
Rhubarb jam with ginger (May 2007)


sciencemel said...


Hummmmm... Cake vs. Pie. Well, they are two very distinct items in my head so I checked with Webster's Dictionary to see if they had different definitions.

Cake: a breadlike food made from a dough or batter that is usually fried or baked in small flat shapes and is often unleavened b : a sweet baked food made from a dough or thick batter usually containing flour and sugar and often shortening, eggs, and a raising agent (as baking powder)

Pie: a dessert consisting of a filling (as of fruit or custard) in a pastry shell or topped with pastry or both

So, to me, a cake is bready/spongey while a pie has a chunky filling.

Hope that helps. Fab use of coconut.

Mann said...

see kook näeb jummalik välja.
ma võtan nädalavahetusel siin kirjas olnud rabarbri moosi ette.
avastasin, et paks kreeka jogurt,rabarbrimoos ja pisut krõbedat müslit on suurepärane algus hommikule.

dagmar said...

It looks wonderful Pille! What a great idea to combine rhubarb and coconut! Maybe I'll bake it during the weekend :-)

I think that cakes are bready and pies have filling and a crust. I would love to learn about the difference between a pie and tart though...

Alanna said...

Cake, pie, whatever. Just save me a big piece. No, a bigger piece!!

deinin said...

Oooh, coconut! Yes, this is a fine idea, I bet it was fabulous. Our rhubarb plant is humongous (I'm wondering if I should divide it or something in the fall) so I foresee lots of experiments. (Rhubarb juice/mead! Your rhubarb-ginger jam! I have Moomin spoons and everything...

cookiecrumb said...

It's fun for me to try to parse the Estonian words. I can see clearly that "kook" is "cake" (even if it's a pie), and "rabarbri" is also very transparent to the English speaker. So that leaves "kooko" as coconut, right?
BTW, beautiful dessert, whatever it is.

joey said...

How I wish somebody here would try to grow rhubarb! I wonder if it would take...

Then I could make this cake (coconut are not a problem here) and moominmama's jam! :)

Can't wait to see the other recipes from this dinner...

Patricia Scarpin said...

I agree with Joey - I'd love if someone here in Brazil tried growing rhubarb. :)

Your cake looks really delicious!

lory said...

joli gâteau!!

Evi W. said...

I just made this. It was very good. A macaroon topping on a more traditional rhubarb plaadikook.