May Rhubarb

May

Rhubarb Clafoutis with Vanilla

There’s nothing more quintessentially British than rhubarb and the classic crumble has been a post-Sunday roast staple for years.

These days its use in the kitchen is beginning to stretch from the sweet to the savoury with rhubarb’s sour sweetness serving as the perfect foil to pork, duck and even oily fish like mackerel. Despite these more adventurous applications we’re going to do a French-inspired classic dessert for May’s recipe with a vanilla spiked Rhubarb clafoutis.

Traditionally made with cherries, rhubarb serves as a great seasonal replacement and if cooked right will still retain the right amount of bite and sweet-sour notes to work perfectly in a clafoutis.

Ingredients

500g of rhubarb sliced into 2-3cm chunks

1 vanilla pod

Zest of an Orange

75g Caster Sugar

75g Plain Flour

Pinch of Salt

2 medium eggs and 1 egg white

300ml whole milk

Icing sugar to serve

Cream to serve

Method

Split the vanilla pod and use the back of a knife to scrape out the aromatic seeds. Add to a bowl with the rhubarb (which can be chopped on a bias to add a nice element to the final presentation), orange zest and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and let macerate for 30 minutes or so.

Place the ingredients in a baking dish and gently roast in the baking oven on your Aga for 20 minutes until the rhubarb is cooked and caramelised but still retains some firmness. Set aside to cool.

Next prepare the clafoutis batter. Sift the salt and flour into a mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar. Beat together the eggs then pour into the flour and whisk in, incorporating the flour gradually. Slowly add the whole milk whisking vigorously until you have a nice smooth batter.

Grease your chosen dish with some butter and spread the cooled rhubarb out evenly before pouring the batter into the dish. Place the dish back into the baking oven on your Aga (again, we’re looking for a temperature equivalent to 180c or gas mark 4) and bake for 20-30 minutes. The clafoutis should puff up and set with a slight wobble.

Let it cool and dust with some icing sugar.  Serve warm or at room temperature with a little double cream.

Chefs tip: Never discard vanilla pods – after removing the seeds they can still be used to infuse milk or cream and even then never throw away. Wash and dry them and store in a jar of sugar. Over time this will impart that delicious flavour to the sugar – perfect for coffees and desserts!

Win a £100 Waitrose voucher! Use the seasonal ingredient rhubarb in your own recipe during May. Click here for details.