Mar 01 2007

Rhubarb

Rhubarb Salad is delicious with loads of fresh mint. Marinade the young chopped stems in brown sugar for an hour then toss in a vinaigrette dressing with plenty of fresh mint and a scattering of Rosemary flowers.

A light simple Rhubarb Fool is hard to beat on a mild Spring evening. Just poach young stems in a little orange juice and sugar. Allow to cool and fold in whipped cream. Serve chilled in individual glass pots.

Rhubarb Flan. Make a sweet pastry base with a Pate Sucre*, fill it with pouched rhubarb and cover with a lemon cream filling. Take 2 egg yolks, 2oz/50g caster sugar, 3 fl oz/70ml double cream and the zest of ½ a lemon. Place the sugar and eggs in a bowl over a pan of gently boiling water and whisk till thick and double in volume. Allow to cool. Mix in the cream and lemon zest and cover the rhubarb in the pastry case with the mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 190c , 375F or Gas 5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold.

*Pate Sucre used to be made by hand on a marble slab gradually drawing the ingredients together. Now we have food processors!

Whizz 200g plain flour, 100g soft butter, 75g caster sugar and three egg yolks in the processor, wrap in cling film and chill for at least and hour before using. It is hard to roll out so it may be easier to dip you knuckles in icing sugar and press it carefully into a loose bottomed flan ring. Chill again.

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