Tuesday, June 21, 2011
And so the rhubarb season ends ... with a very popular Estonian classic
Although rhubarb will thrive for another few months, my annual Spring-time romance with rhubarb is coming to an end. I've made more muffins and cakes than I care to count, and local strawberries have just hit the markets, so bye-bye to Rheum rhaponticum and hello to Fragaria family :)
To end the rhubarb season, I'll share a very popular Estonian cake recipe with you. I've baked no less than three batches of this during the last two months (including one last night), and I've been doing that for umpteen years. Before that I either ate my mum's (or bought from a Tartu University café - I've got fond memories of long leisurely mornings, sitting at the uni café, drinking copious amounts of tea and eating this cake). If there is one rhubarb cake that every Estonian knows - and probably likes - then that's the one.
Note that it works also very well with gooseberries and even apples later during the year.
Did you know that rhubarb has such lovely-looking seeds?
Estonian rhubarb cake
About 16 pieces
Sweet pastry (pâte sablée):
150 g butter, at room temperature
100 g caster sugar
1 large egg
250 g all-purpose flour
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 tsp baking powder
400 g rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
85-175 g caster sugar (100-200 ml)
4 large eggs
4 Tbsp caster sugar
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
First make the sweet tart pastry. Cream the butter with sugar in a mixing bowl, then and the egg. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl, then tip into the mixing bowl and stir until combined. Using your hands, press into a medium-sized baking tray (mine is 24x32 cm) and place into a fridge for about 30 minutes. (I must admit I sometimes skip this part to no ill effects).
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F.
Take the rested pastry out of the fridge and pop into the pre-heated oven. Bake the pastry for about 10-15 minutes, until it looks dry and is slightly golden.
Reduce the oven heat slightly.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the rhubarb stalks (I never peel young local rhubarb), then cut into short 1 cm (just under half an inch) lenghts. Mix with sugar, scatter over the partially baked base.
Break the eggs into a clean mixing bowl, add the sugar and mix until very thick and pale and foamy. Gently sift the flour into the mixing bowl, then very gently fold it into the egg and sugar mixture.
Spoon over the rhubarb layer.
Bake at the 175 C/380 F for about 35-40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and fully cooked.