Strawberry & rhubarb shortcake

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It might seem extravagant to use a punnet of new seasons strawberries for cooking rather than just enjoying as they are. My solution is to buy two punnets, eat one straight and use the other to make a shortcake. Do not underestimate how sensational cooked strawberries and rhubarb are together; your kitchen will smell like something out of a fairy tale.

Strawberry & rhubarb shortcake (Lois Daish, A Treasury of New Zealand Baking, Random House, 2009, p.182)

Fruit:

4 stalks of rhubarb

3 tablespoons sugar

1 punnet of strawberries

Shortcake:

125g butter, softened

125g sugar

1 egg

225g plain flour

25g cornflour

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the fruit:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Wash rhubarb stalks and cut into 1cm pieces. Put onto a baking tray and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the rhubarb for 15 minutes. While the rhubarb is baking, hull the strawberries and cut in half. Once the 15 minutes is up, add the strawberries and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the shortcake:

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the egg and continue to beat until fully combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Line whatever tin you’d like to use (a round 22cm tin works, as does a 20 x 10cm loaf tin) with baking paper. Put two thirds of the shortcake mixture into the lined base of the tin. Spread over the fruit mixture and then put dollops of the remaining shortcake mixture over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Rhubarb clafoutis

slow-cooked beef, rhubarb clafoutis 018

‘To take rhubarb out of the breakfast compote category, make a clafoutis. This is a giant popover studded with chunks of rhubarb, dusted with icing sugar and served with lightly whipped cream. Or, put less delicately, toad-in-a-hole with rhubarb instead of sausages

 Lois Daish, Good Food, p.147

Despite Lois’ intention to take rhubarb out of the breakfast realm, I do think that this would make a fantastic weekend breakfast. Only a small amount of sugar is added so that the rhubarb retains its characteristic tartness. Serve the warm clafoutis with a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream (or some Greek yoghurt if it’s breakfast time).

Rhubarb clafoutis (slightly adapted from Lois Daish, Good Food, p.147)

2-3 cups diced rhubarb

a little butter and about 1 tablespoon sugar for preparing dish

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

3 free-range eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch salt

1/2 cup flour

icing sugar for dusting on top

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place all ingredients except rhubarb and icing sugar into the jug of an electric blender and blend until a smooth batter is formed. Butter a large ovenproof dish and sprinkle with sugar; tip the dish from side to side to make a light coating of sugar and discard any excess. Arrange the rhubarb evenly over the base of the dish and pour over the batter. Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes until the clafoutis has puffed up around the rhubarb and the top has browned. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm.