Rhubarb is awesome. It really is. It’s so beautiful with its green-pinkish colour and long stems. The tart flavour is unique and matches perfectly with sweet dishes. The only bad aspect: the season is short. Therefore grab as much rhubarb as you can get hold of and cook, bake and eat it, so that your rhubarb-craving is satisfied until next season. Don’t be thrifty: it’s a long way to go…
One possibility to use your rhubarb: bake a cake. I decided to go for one with a simple shortcrust and big, big crumbles on top.
For the shortcrust & crumbles you need:
- 200 g ground almonds
- 325 g and an extra 25-50 g ordinary flour
- 125 g brown sugar
- 75 g white sugar (or a bit more if you are on the really sweet side)
- 300 g margarine
- generous pinch of salt
For the rhubarb you need:
- 3-4 medium stems of rhubarb
- 175 g strawberry jam
- 30 g (corn)starch
- 2 tbsp Balsamico vinegar
- a splash of lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 180 °C / 350 °F or to 160 °C / 320 °F if you are using a convection option. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Start with making the shortcrust by mixing together the ground almonds, 300 gr of flour, both sugar varieties and the salt. Add the margarine into the bowl and start cutting it with a knife so the dry ingredients and the margarine are being combined. You can also use your hands or an electric mixer..
As soon as crumbs begin to form you can use your hands (it’ll be quicker) and work the remaining dry ingredients into the crumbs. Don’t overwork the dough: it’s necessary to have everything sticking together but it needn’t be a homogeneous mixture.
Transfer two thirds of the crumb-mixture onto the baking tray and press it down with your fingers and hands until you end up with an even rectangle. Pop the tray into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile you can give your full attention to the rhubarb topping. Peel the rough bits off the stems and cut into thumbnail-size pieces. But don’t include your thumbs. Haha.
Combine thoroughly with the jam, starch, Balsamico vinegar and lemon juice.
Add a little more flour to the left over third of crumbs to make it even crumblier. And maybe a splash of lemon juice as well. And a bit more flour possibly. When you feel you’ve created the perfect topping-crumbs stop, spread the mixture carefully on the shortcrust (the warmer the shortcrust still ist, the more careful you have to be so no holes will appear) and throw the crumbs generously on top of it.
Bake the whole cake for 25-30 minutes at the same temperature as the shortcrust before. Take it out, let it cool (well, at least a bit) and cut into bars. Ideally the shortcrust is crisp on the edges now, the rhubarb soft & gooey and the crumbles firm. Lots of different textures going on here. And the Balsamico adds a complete own flavour to it. Take a bite!
Note: Of course you can vary the type of flour or leave the almonds out. You could also use butter instead of margarine, no or only brown sugar and another jam. If you want it to be vegan make sure that there your margarine is really vegan. Sometimes margarine includes dairy products for example whey powder.