Tag Archives: rhubarb

Ferragosto cake with rhubarb and vintage marzipan

rhubarb cake with marzipan

Yesterday was Ferragosto, an Italian holiday and the peak of summer. It goes back to Roman days (18 BC, says Wikipedia) and it’s also the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Our neighbourhood was already quiet, but it’s been just deserted this weekend. Lots of parking, hardly any laundry out, and we can actually hear the gentle swoosh of birds flying by. And it rained, so the temperature dropped under 28C! After weeks of relentless heatwave after heatwave, it is just wonderful. I baked bread, sorted clothes for the refugee collection (there is a camp at Tiburtina), tidied away post-guest bed linen piles, and made a cake for the first time in ages.

Garbatella at Ferragosta

Spurred by the temporary drop in temperature, I have been sorting through my baking cupboard. Why do I have four boxes of dark syrup from Norway? And three boxes of potato starch?  And an unreasonable amount of cream of tartar. If you have a mortal fear of expiration dates, please look away now: I also unearthed three rolls of marzipan, the oldest from 2012…. Still edible, so into this cake a wedge of the vintage marzipan went, with precious Norwegian rhubarb.

Ferragosto cake with rhubarb and vintage marzipan

2 large eggs
50 g sugar
180 g plain wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
50 g melted butter, slightly cooled
Pinch of salt
100 ml milk
One large stick of rhubarb (about 120 grammes)
60 g marzipan

Pre-heat the oven to 210C. Whisk eggs and sugar. Sift in flour and baking powder, with a pinch of salt. Add milk and melted butter, slightly cooled. Line the base of a 24 cm cake tin with a circle of baking parchment.
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Pour half the batter into the prepared cake tin. Now, take your chopped rhubarb (thumbnail sized pieces) and crumble the marzipan over, then pour the rest of the batter over it. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 min or so at 210C, until the cake is nicely golden.

Cool slightly and enjoy!

Notes: I had been planning to make rabarbragrøt, a rhubarb compote/thickened dessert soup, but then I saw the marzipan and swapped to cake.  Compote might be better with frozen rhubarb anyway (that might be a bit soggy in a cake). I thought it might be a bit tart with the rhubarb added like this, unsugared, but it’s actually OK with the marzipan crumbled through, that complements the tart little pockets of rhubarb.  I had made an apple/marzipan cake earlier, using a 20cm tim, and this is a flatter variation of that.

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Rhubarb gingerbread crumble with apples and strawberries

rhubarb gingerbread crumbleAs mentioned, we were in London last weekend and stocked up on exotic food, like rhubarb. I have only seen it once here, in the Campo di Fiori market, and the rhubarb was imported from Chile and SO expensive. Rhubarb can grow here, it’s just not easy to find and it’s probably too hot here. So we bring it over from the UK or Norway once a year, and then really enjoy it.

This time we made a crumble with rhubarb, apples and strawberries, with a gingerbread crumble topping. We’d have used ginger nuts (English ginger cookies) but as we had none and had some leftover gingerbread cookies (pepparkakor) from IKEA at Christmas, we used those. Nice flavor.

Rhubarb gingerbread crumble with apples and strawberries

Ingredients:
350g rhubarb, chopped into half-finger size pieces
50g sugar
3 tbsp water
2 apples, peeled cored and chopped
10-12 strawberries, hulled and cut into 2-3 pieces

For crumble topping:
100g plain flour
100g butter, room temperature
50g gingerbread cookies (vintage Christmas ones from IKEA….. not too stale…)
100g light brown sugar

Tip the rhubarb into a saucepan with the sugar and water. Poach gently 5 minutes or so, until soft. Pour the rhubarb with liquid into a medium baking dish, very lightly buttered. I used a Pyrex dish. Add the chopped (but uncooked) apples and strawberries, you will have a nice generous fruit layer.

To make the topping: Crush the gingerbread cookies (food processor, or in a well-sealed plastic bag). Mix together cookie crumbs, flour, sugar and butter (use food processor, a spoon or your hands) until it is a nice golden crumbly mix. Spread the crumble topping over the rhubarb, apples and strawberries.

Note: You can do the prep up to here and leave it for a few hours, which I did, then come back to bake it dinnertime. Just cover dish and leave it on the counter until you are ready to bake.

When ready to bake: Heat oven to 200C/180C fan. Bake for 25-30 mins in the middle of the oven, or until golden brown on top. Of course, with the gingerbread the topping was already golden, but you will see the fruit bubbling up along the edges and the topping wil darken slightly. Serve crumble hot with whipped cream, vanilla icecream or vanilla custard.