Spring is in the air when the first stalks of rhubarb peek through the newly-thawed ground. This delicious pudding is the perfect bridge between comfort food and the fresh possibilities of warmer weather. The sauce is sweet, tart, and versatile so make plenty and freeze for the future. The pretty pink colour is produced when roots are dug outdoors in the fall and stored in a darkened shed at about 10°C until buds appear to produce an early spring crop.
Rhubarb Sauce: Divided
- 4 cups (490 g) chopped rhubarb
- ⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ cup (250 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp (6 g) finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch salt
- 1 ½ cup (375 mL) milk
- ¼ cup (56 g) butter, melted
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 ½ cup (360 g) cooled rhubarb sauce (the remainder is for serving)
Optional Garnishes: fresh mint leaves, whipped cream, vanilla Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream
- In a large microwaveable bowl, combine rhubarb & granulated sugar. Microwave at High for 5 to 7 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir and let cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup (200 g) sugar, flour, lemon zest, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk milk, butter, and egg yolks. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture. Whisk in 1 ½ cup (360 g) cooled rhubarb sauce. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining ¼ cup (50 g) sugar, until stiff peaks form. Fold beaten whites into rhubarb mixture (to ensure the batter stays fluffy, don’t overmix).
- Scrape mixture into a greased 8-inch (2 L) square glass baking dish. Place glass baking dish in a larger shallow pan. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up sides of glass baking dish. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until the cake is lightly golden, fluffy and springs back when touched lightly in the center, about 30–35 minutes.
- Remove from water bath and let glass baking dish cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
- Spoon into serving dishes. Garnish with remaining rhubarb sauce, mint leaves and whipped cream.
Caution: Avoid eating rhubarb leaves. They contain oxalic acid which irritates the inside of the mouth and, in some cases, can be fatal. Source: foodlandontario.ca
Find “forced” or greenhouse varieties at specialty grocery stores if not available from your garden or freezer from last season.