Rhubarb and Custard Eclairs

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It’s the right season for rhubarb, but unfortunately my chickens have annihilated my plant. Apparently chickens love rhubarb leaves (and no, they’re not poisonous to them thankfully!). As a result I’ve only managed to harvest a couple of measly stalks. Not enough for a crumble, but just enough for rhubarb and custard eclairs for tomorrow’s Contact the Elderly tea party.

First you’ll need to make a batch of choux pastry, pipe it into short lines well spaced on a greased baking sheet, and bake until golden, puffed up and dried out in the middle. Remember to prick them with a skewer as soon as they come out of the oven to release the steam and avoid the dreaded collapse. Choux deflation equals sheer frustration. Trust me, I’m talking from experience! You can find a basic choux recipe on my ‘Choux-laa-laa A Paris Brest of Sorts’ post.

Once the eclair cases are baked, use a knife to open them out and set aside ready for piping.

Next, I took the miniscule amount of rhubarb I had, put it in a pan with a few tablespoons of sugar (roughly 4 I think) and added some water.

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Poach until the stalks are tender.

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Then remove from the pan and place on some kitchen roll to dry out.

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Allow the syrup left in the pan to reduce for a few minutes bearing in mind you’ll need about 190mls of it.

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Once reduced, measure out 160mls of the syrup and pour into a pan along with 100g of custard powder. Whisk over a medium heat until the powder is cooked out. You’ll be left with an incredibly thick custard with a hint of rhubarb coming through. Set aside to cool. You could of course make a creme pat (recipe on here), but it’ll lack the rhubarb taste which is why I opted for custard powder.

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Now beat 125g mascarpone with 100ml double cream until combined. Once the custard has cooled down a bit, beat it into the cream/cheese mixture. It will take some working in so persevere. Once combined add in the cooled rhubarb, giving it a rough chop first.

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You’ll end up with a rhubarb flecked custard creation like this:

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Transfer it into a piping bag with a wide nozzle. I used this one:

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Time to start filling the pastry cases.

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Pipe a continuous circle swirl into the opened out eclair case to achieve a pretty effect like so:

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Once they’re all filled, take the remaining rhubarb syrup (there should be around 30mls) and whisk it into icing sugar, adding more sugar until you have a thick consistency.

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Pipe it on top of the eclairs using whichever nozzle you fancy. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

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And there you have it. A twist on the classic cream and chocolate combo. Enjoy!

Rhubarb crumble cake

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Rhubarb is one of those vegetables that tastes great in a variety of dishes provided you add enough sweetness to counteract is distinctive tartness. I love it in a crumble, but wanted to make something with it that I could take to church and people could eat easily after the service without the use of bowls and spoons. Cue, the crumble cake. Moist rhubarb sponge, topped with a lovely oaty crumble.

For the cake,  mix 2, 250ml cups of plain flour with 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt. Then mix in 1 cup Greek yoghurt (I used 0%fat), 3 small lightly beaten eggs, and two and a half very long sticks of rhubarb, diced (approx 4 cups).

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The batter will be ridiculously thick, but fear not, during the cooking process all that lovely rhubarb will release its sumptuous juices to compensate for the stiff mixture. Spread it in a greased and lined baking dish.

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Now, put half a cup of cold diced salted butter in a dish with half a cup of brown sugar and plain flour respectively. Add in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and rub together to form breadcrumb like granules. Don’t do it too fine as lumps add texture and crisp up nicely during baking.  At this point mix in a half a cup or so of oats, and sprinkle the mixture over the cake batter. As you can probably see from the pics, my crumble didn’t sprinkle well because I did not have any chilled butter, so had to use some which had been sitting at room temperature, and it never makes good crumble like that, although it will still taste delicious.

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Bake at about 180oC for about 45 minutes, or until the batter is cooked and the rhubarb is softened. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares. Serve with custard or clotted cream if you do desire. 

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