Rhubarb Memories

My love of rhubarb is a long lasting one. I have early memories of sitting on top of the rabbit hutch, legs dangling and dipping freshly cut rhubarb into a cup of sugar… I wear these sweet and sour  memories like a rhubarb coloured coat that feels really cosy.
The two bunches of rhubarb below were picked at the same time – one from the forced plant and one from the traditional patch. Rhubarb is easy to harvest as all you have to do is pull and twist the stalk at the base and it will neatly come away. From the photos you can see that the forced rhubarb has much smaller leaves but the stems are cleaner and more colourful being a beautiful pinky/red.

Compare The Rhubarb

I washed the rhubarb well, mouth watering and chopped it into bite size pieces and the taste test was completed when the rhubarb was raw. And the results? Well, the forced rhubarb was noticeably sweeter and had more of the rhubarb tang to it so I’d definitely recommend forcing it if you can.
There’s so many things you can do with rhubarb – crumble, pie, cobbler, fools and cakes to mention a few. It is also good with strawberries to sweeten it and even with mackerel (although I have never tried this combo!). Rhubarb and custard are delightful together but I had a hankering for Rhubarb ice-cream. The recipe below is really simple, there’s no churning involved and I ate a quarter of the tub before remembering to take a photograph.

Honey Roasted Rhubarb Icecream
Bear with me – I threw this together so feel free to experiment.

1 carton of whipping cream
1/3 cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of chopped rhubarb
Enough honey to drizzle

Spread the freshly cut rhubarb onto a non stick sheet and drizzle in honey. Slow roast for 20 mins or so under soft and bubbling slightly. In the meantime whisk the cream into soft peaks (not too much) and stir in the sifted icing sugar (to suit taste). Once the roasted rhubarb has cooled fold in this gently into the cream mixture, pour into a suitable container and then into the freezer for a couple of hours. I like the rippled effect but if your mix it more thoroughly you’ll get a lovely pink coloured ice-cream!

Rhubarb Icecream

Rhubarb Cake

This was a Pinterest recipe treasure I found for Grandma’s Rhubarb Cake at Dulce Dough:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 1/2 cups raw rhubarb, cut small

Topping:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325°F  2. Prepare 9×13 or 8×12 pan by spraying with cooking spray  3. Cream butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl  4. Add eggs and vanilla and stir  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt  6. Alternately stir in the buttermilk and the flour mixture into the other ingredients  7. Fold in rhubarb  8. Pour into prepared pan  9. Combine sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle on top of cake  10. Bake in 9×13 or 8×12 pan at 325°F for 40 minutes.
Prep time: 15 minsCook time: 40 mins. Total time: 55 mins. Yield: 1 cake

Rhubarb Cake

The cake had the texture of carrot cake (rhubarb is a veg I suppose) and was especially nice on Day 2. It is really delicious warmed slightly and served with a portion of the rhubarb ice-cream… but that might be one stalk too far for all but the seasoned rhubarb muncher!!

For More Rhubarb Ideas Visit My Pinterest Site  (no need to knock, just come on in!)

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54 thoughts on “Rhubarb Memories

  1. I love rhubarb, baked in little custards, in crumble or as a compote for breakfast with granola and greek yoghurt. Your recipes look lovely – I have some homemade rhubarb icecream in freezer at moment funnily enough, but must try your cake.

  2. Your rhubarb ice cream looks delicious – but then just roasting it with honey sounds like a really good idea. Not so sure about eating it raw though – even dipped in sugar!

    • I love anything sour so things like rhubarb and gooseberries etc are all scoffed raw as well as cooked. I’ve found quite a few recipes that mix strawberries with rhubarb so I may try that next.

  3. I LOVE rhubarb! Your ice cream looks amazing and will definitely try the cake. Although I am sad to say it will be with bought rhubarb. We do have some in the garden but it is very weak, weedy and feeble which is very poor form with us living in Yorkshire. Am wondering if we need to dig it out and start with a new crown??

    • Weak rhubarb in Yorkshire?? No!! Chat a neighbour up and they may share a crown with you – it does the plant good to divide it occasionally so you’d be doing them a favour, ha ha!

  4. I am so in love with rhubarb. I’m thrilled with your recipe for rhubarb cake. In my opinion, topping with rhubarb ice cream is the only way to go. My idea of calorie counting is to skip the main course entirely and go straight to dessert.

    • Funny you should say that – I was sorely tempted to put ginger in the Rhubarb cake but decided to be good for once and just follow the recipe! The rhubarb flapjack sounds amazing and I’ll try this one, thanks!

    • Rhubarb relish sounds good… I now have a hankering for a cheese and rhubarb relish sandwich! I’m going to try a rhubarb smoothie next…….

    • I’m not sure that I have explained how to force it as it’s such a common practice over here (and I’m a lazy blogger!). As the first signs of life show at the end of Winter just exclude the light (an old bucket will do the trick) and the stems will be forced upwards and shoot out sweeter stems.

  5. I love rhubarb too, although I don’t grow it now and the ones you buy in the shop don’t taste anywhere near what I used to grow. Your ice cream sounds yummy! The forced rhubarb looks so delicate, never tasted them, does it taste sweeter?

  6. I probably should have saved this post for reading *after* my attempt to lose 10 pounds. Oh my what sweet goodness.

    Love your photos, PJ. I feel like I could be sitting down at your table.

    • Your diet needs to be put on hold if Boomdee’s over to see you – cakes and cocktails are surely a must Alys!
      You would be welcome to sit at my table anytime (just give me notice so that I have chance to vacuum). Thanks for your kind comments x

  7. So much goodness in this post! I’m going to put a rhubarb “forcer” on my list of wants. Great to hear that it worked! I love how yours looks in the garden, too. And two fabulous recipes to try! My husband is the real rhubarb enthusiast, but with these recipes I think we might get some more converts in the house!

    • My rhubarb forcer has started to crack from frost damage so I’m sure I’ll be asking Father Christmas for another one (he reads this blog apparently!).

  8. Rhubarb seems to bring back childhood memories for a lot of people – me included. My Gran used to make rhubarb and date pie. Yum. I also remember eating it raw dipped into a newspaper cone of sugar. The ice cream looks deelish.

    • I haven’t heard of rhubarb and date pie before but I imagine it has a deeper sweetness. Gooseberries also transport me back… I love those hairy little sour fruits x

  9. Interesting to read about the forced rhubarb being sweeter! I’m going to make this cake sometime over the weekend when I can get hold of a couple more sticks 🙂 Thank you for sharing the recipe

    • I have to make sure I don’t strip my poor plants bare… the forced rhubarb is sweeter but still needs sugar unless you’re a hardened sour freak like me!

  10. Amazing! The forced rhubarb looks better too! How do you force it? My plants are small still. But I love making rhubarb sauce for cereal. Your recipes look fantastic. I want to try the icecream!! I hope I get a decent harvest!

    • I have a rhubarb forcer which is a terracotta pot – but anything that excludes the light will work (old bucket or bin for example). When the first rhubarb starts to poke through then cover it well to stop the light and the stems will shoot up quicker and taste more delicate.

  11. I just finished breakfast and this still made my mouth water. The hubbies mum had a giant Rhubarb in her yard that I swear you could lose a cat in. It was probably 50 years old and I always found it very bitter. If I ever get a garden going, I’ll be sure to try the forcing method. I love rhubarb crumble, mixing the barb with strawberries..yum. Your post is so summery PJ, perfect read for where we are today. 😀

    • Not a dumb question Dana – slow roasting means using a lower oven temp than traditional roasting. Place the rhubarb on a non-stick sheet, drizzle with honey and cook at around 140c to 160c (200F to 325F). The lower oven temperature ensures the rhubarb doesn’t burn and it helps to caramelise it nicely! I do this with root vegetables too occasionally…. mmmm.

      • Fabulous! PJ Girl, I do appreciate how busy you are with life, work, family, and blog, so thank you very much for the quick and detailed reply. I have the rhubarb in the oven now, and I’m so happy that I’ll have this done and in the freezer this morning! I can’t wait to try it 🙂

    • I think rhubarb is definitely a love/hate story for most people. Even if I didn’t love to eat it I’d grow it for it’s big leaves that shelter the cats from the rain!

  12. I think rhubarb is a love/hate plant. I know people who can’t stand the stuff… but there is no accounting for good taste 🙂 LOL

  13. Oh the Rhubarb ice cream is definitely a keeper of a recipe! It is fantastic, with that perfect tangy aspect from the rhubarb! What a great new way to use rhubarb. Thank you!

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  15. I need no convincing about the merits of rhubarb and I am going to try to rhubarb cake. I saw the buttermilk… did you use gluten-free flour? If not, it looks like it would make a good gluten-free cake. My rhubarb forcer is taking a rest this year since our rhubarb isn’t quite old enough to be forced. I can’t wait to put it back in action next year!

    • The flour isn’t gluten free but it seems a very forgiving recipe. One of my rhubarb plants has started to flower so I’m going out this morning to stop it as I want more of those delicious stalks before they get too stringy.

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  17. Thanks for these recipes – I made the ice cream on Sunday, so easy and really tasty. I think the next time I make it I’ll mix up the rhubarb before I add it to the cream to make it stir in and look more rippled. Yum.

    • In the UK it’s classed as a vegetable but it’s commonly used as a fruit! It is like nothing else I’ve ever tasted – slightly sweet, very sour and a perfect friend for crumbles and pies. It grows extremely well here so obviously likes damp, cool weather!

  18. My rhubarb is just coming in now and so I will keep your recipe ideas in mind. The pictures look delicious! I am curious as to how you forced the rhubarb. I see from a previous post you covered one of the two plants in some fashion. I would like to give this a try.

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