May can pretty much be summed in one word for me. Rhubarb! I find May a little gastronomically challenging – Spring is here and so is the promise of all the great new season’s vegetables. Yet I’m always a little ahead – in this little corner of life, anyways – , and that leaves me empty handed after grocery shopping. The spring cabbage hadn’t quite hit the marked, the asparagus hadn’t peeped up from their winter hiding yet and so it goes on. Until the rhubarbs announces the new season, that is. And not only are they Spring time messengers, I absolutely love them! Rhubarbs are just one of those things I can keep eating, cooking and coming up with new things to do with.
And so I did. This has been a crazy month with too many hours at work, L’s exams and not the least no babysitting for J, as all kindergartens are closed due to strikes. Ay! But at least I had my rhubarbs 😉 – and help and support from friends and family. I’ve made a handful of rhubarb-things, but I think the winner of the month must be the incredibly moist and yummy cake stuffed with rhubarb seen above. (I made it twice… – and it’s a big whopper of a cake!)
It’s very straight forward: A classic dough of beaten butter and sugar and then added eggs. Flavored with cardamom and stuffed with a whole lot of rhubarb. Finally it’s sprinkled with sugar – a lot here too!
I did a little experimenting with rhubarb juice, too. The recipes I had at hand all said, only make juice when you have rhubarbs growing out your ears. I overhead that advise and bought some for juice and made two variations. Only one photo – for obvious reasons they look pretty much a like.
First up I did a straight rhubarb-vanilla combo. Great, it was! Vanilla does wonders. The second variation was a rhubarb-lemon-mint combo. Also good, but not as great as the first. It didn’t have the intensity, as a lot more water was added. The technique for both is the same: Clean the rhubarb and cut into 2 cm pieces. Put in a pot and cover with water and add the flavorings. Add to the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn down the heat and let rest for half an hour before straining. Then add (enough!) sugar and cool.
Third up was rose-scented rhubarb compote. I an incredibly huge fan of an classic Danish summer ol’timer: Koldskål – literally meaning a cold bowl. It’s a sweetened mixture of two old fashioned dairy products – I’ll have to get back with the English translations. The mix is flavored with lemonzest and whipped cream is added for texture. The whole thing is eaten with biscuits and – if you’re anything like me – rhubarb compote. This one is a straight-up compote: wash and trim the rhubarb, place in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Add a couple of leaves of rose geranium, cover with aluminum foil and bake until tender but not totally mushy. There should still be a little bite left. Taste, and if too sour add sugar while still warm.
Finally, and this is sort of cheating as this is an old photo, the compote is also great on individually sized tartes topped with a vanilla-studded sweetened cream of sugar, strained yogurt and cream. Even though I made this during Winter, I’m sure it’ll also be a winner in June!