Recipes created using in-season produce from the kitchen garden at home of The Edible Flower’s Erin Bunting in Co. Down.
This month’s recipe is:
Rhubarb, Orange & Pistachio Cake
It might be the hungry gap, the time when winter crops have almost finished but the early summer crops are still a few months away, but, hurrah, local rhubarb is in season.
Outdoor grown rhubarb is not the gorgeous lipstick pink of the forced rhubarb we get in January and February but it is just as (dare I say even more) delicious.
We have several rhubarb crowns in the garden and they are just starting to get going. I like to pick a few stalks early in the season when they are young and sweet enough to eat raw.
This cake combines rhubarb with orange, a perfect match, and also throws in ground coriander and pistachios for a bit of Middle Eastern charm.
I was still able to get blood oranges in early April, but it is the very end of their season and other oranges will work perfectly too.
The top of this cake is deeply caramelly which is so good with the sharp citrus and rhubarb. If you are a bit scared of making caramel, be brave! This caramel uses water so is a lot less likely to caramelise or burn than a dry caramel, just remember not to stir after the sugar is dissolved just occasionally swirl the pan as you see the caramel start to change colour to ensure the caramel cooks evenly.
- 150g granulated sugar
- 100ml water
- 2 oranges, one for zest only. Blood oranges are delicious in this but any oranges will do
- 400g rhubarb
- 150g butter, at room temperature
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 50g ground pistachios or almonds
- 150g self-raising flour
- 30g pistachios, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 160°C
You need a 10-inch (25cm ish) sauté pan/frying pan that you can put in the oven (i.e. doesn’t have a plastic handle)
Firstly, make the caramel.
Put the granulated sugar and water in your 10” ovenproof pan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then stop stirring. Cook until you have a deep, golden brown caramel, this will take about 15 minutes. It might look like it is going to crystallize but gently swirl the pan a few times and hold your nerve. I find that if you are making caramel with water it usually comes right in the end even if you see a few crystals forming. Take the pan off the heat. If you are worried about the caramel continuing to cook and get too dark then you can put the bottom of the pan in a bowl or sink full of cold water to stop it cooking any further.
Very thinly slice one of the oranges and arrange in the bottom of the pan on top of the caramel.
Then slice the rhubarb into 3cm batons and arrange over the top of the caramel and oranges covering the whole bottom of the pan snugly.
The rhubarb will shrink as it cooks so more is best.
In a stand mixer or with an electric beater cream together the butter, sugar and zest of the other orange until light and fluffy.
Beat in the three eggs, one by one, making sure the mixture comes back to the same texture before adding the next.
Finally, gently fold in the flour, ground pistachios (or almonds) and ground coriander until all mixed together.
Dollop the cake batter over the top of the rhubarb and carefully smooth it out to the edges, trying not to disturb the fruit underneath.
Put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out of middle of the cake clean.
Take out of the oven and leave for three minutes, no longer or the caramel will solidify and stick everything to the pan.
Then put a large plate over the pan using oven gloves quickly (but carefully – hot caramel!) turn the whole thing upside down so the cake is now on the plate with the caramelised rhubarb and orange on top.
This is brilliant slightly warmed (15 seconds in the microwave) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of Greek yoghurt.
Erin is a cook, teacher, recipe developer and edible flower enthusiast. She is one half of https://theedibleflower.com/ a supper club, catering and growing business based in Co. Down.