What to do with all this rhubarb?
So I have been chosen to make a hamper for next week's cricket for the chaps (ENG vs NZ ODI at the Oval for those of you interested) and after years of taking food to sporting events, festivals, picnics, etc. I think I’ve finally worked out a few things…
- Chop and slice everything before you go, no matter how good it looks!
- Separate and portion into individual boxes
- Hand held and bowl food is the way forward
See the thing is that although a big spread looks the business, passing plates and dishes around amongst each other in small rows of seats with one hand already taken up with a beer is not exactly ideal. And I’ve not even mentioned the weather yet.
I’ve got a recipe here that looks the part, travels well and all you have to do is stick a spoon in it. Perfect for a summer hamper and is also a great dinner party dessert served fresh from the oven. The pastry is a cross between shortbread biscuit and a sponge cake, crispy on the outside and dense in the middle. The rhubarb filling can be swapped with any seasonal fruit to your liking.
My Rhubarb & Custard Shortcake Pots
FOR THE PASTRY:
- 200g butter
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 325g self-raising flour
- 1 egg
- 1 yolk
- more sugar for sprinkling
FOR THE FILLING:
- 300g rhubarb
- 50g sugar
- 150g tinned custard (Yes, use the best quality you can find!)
- 1tsp vanilla paste
In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add the egg and yolk. Gently fold in the flour and mix to a sticky dough. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour. The pastry will make enough for 8 ramekins or one large pie. Wrap and freeze any leftover.
Pre-heat oven to 180C or gas mark 4.
Chop the rhubarb into 2cm chunks, place into a baking tray cover with the sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Mix with the custard and vanilla paste and allow to cool.
Grease the ramekins, take a piece of the dough big enough to cover the base and gently push in. Repeat with the sides so that even thickness of dough covers the base and sides. Fill each ramekin just to the top with the rhubarb and custard mix, then take larger piece of dough to be used as the lid and flatten to 1cm thick and cut around with the ramekin as a guide. Place on top and crimp the edges.
Brush with milk, sprinkle with golden caster sugar and bake for 35 minutes.
Either eat after 10 minutes or chill for the next day. A dollop of creme fraiche works as treat on the side :)