rhubarb

Laura’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Do you have recipes that you associate with a specific person? I grew up with plenty of recipes we always called by the name of the person who introduced us to it – “Heather’s Dip”, “Grandma’s Ammonia Cookies”… or in this case Laura’s strawberry rhubarb pie. So-called because it was my sister-in-law who first discovered the recipe, and introduced me to it. That, and she loves this pie, so I always think of it as hers.

So when we had a glut of rhubarb in the allotment, I could think of one thing I wanted to make with it! Well, I could think of a ton of things I wanted to make, but this was first on my list.

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Pies aren’t as big here in the UK as they are in Canada and the US – most people would be quicker to make a crumble with rhubarb. Or maybe even a tart, but not pie. I, for one, love making pies as they leave so much room for creative decoration! Crumbles are good and all, but they leave little to be done artistically. Pies are sooooo much better to play with!

In this instance, I opted to make little strawberries out of excess dough, and added them to some leaves and a braided edge. I love braids on pie crusts! Even though this pie can be made with a single crust, I almost always make a double so that I have more to play with, or sometimes swap the crumble for a lattice top. I love a good lattice…

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Of course, you can also make a double batch of the dough to freeze one half, and make another pie later! Since the dough recipe requires a single egg to make a double batch, it’s easier to just make the double batch than divide in two. This recipe was another one that Laura introduced me to, and I’ve used it for every pie I make, ever since. (more…)

My Perfect Scone Recipe

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

One of Richard’s childhood memories is coming home after school, to his mom making fresh scones. He would sit at their breakfast bar, with a cup of tea and a scone, and tell her about how hard his day was (he had to colour for hours 🙂 ). When I first heard that, I immediately wanted to find a great scone recipe, so I could do the same for him now. I wanted him to come home from work to fluffy, light, layered scones.

However, the first couple of recipes that I tried never lived up to their pictures. It sort of bummed me out, and I put off finding a good recipe. That is, until I was asked to make scones for someone’s wedding. That sort of put the fire under my butt that I needed!

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

So I decided to try Mary Berry’s recipe for classic Devonshire scones. Well, they had the same problem as the ones before, but this time, I decided to tweak them until they came out the way I wanted! Scones tend to fall into two camps – slightly dry and crumbly, or softer and layered. The first time I made this recipe, they definitely fell into the first category. And I’m not the biggest fan of the crumbly kind of scones.

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

on the left are the scones from the first attempt – and on the right are the scones after I tweaked the recipe
Then I started thinking about it – crumbly is because of a lack of gluten development. Most scone recipes tell you not to work the dough very much – just press it together a couple times and cut them out. But that’ll end up with crumbly scones. If you want them to hold together better, you’ll have to knead the dough briefly – like 10-15 turns of kneading. By working the dough a bit, you’ll end up with a softer, fluffy texture – just the way I like them! Oh, and be sure to roll them out thick! If they’re less than 1/2″ in height, then they won’t rise as much. The thicker you roll it out to, the more they’re grow! (more…)

Rhubarb + Custard Doughnuts

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

One of the best things about our allotment is that it has rhubarb. Richard and I both love rhubarb in all sorts of things – muffins, cakes, crumbles, pies… etc. (Although, we also love just plain ol’ stewed rhubarb with some yogurt.) However, sometimes it feels like we almost have too much rhubarb (I know – it’s a thing!) and I’m always looking for new ways to use it.

One of the first things that came to my mind was rhubarb doughnuts! Someone at my work had actually tried to make rhubarb and custard doughnuts before, but the acidity in the rhubarb jam he made caused the cream to curdle. Ever since then I’ve always thought that if I were to do it, I would turn the rhubarb into a curd instead, as it would prevent any curd-ling. After all, you can mix lemon curd with cream and it’s fine – and lemon is even more acidic!

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

So I went back to my tried and true recipe for crème patissière, which is the same recipe I use for making lemon curd! I simply swap the milk amount for lemon juice, and add as much zest as the amount of lemons I juice. I figured I could do the same with rhubarb purée! However, once I had stewed the rhubarb, and blitzed it – it wouldn’t press through a seive like raspberry or some other kind of puree. Too much fibre. In the end I didn’t seive it, and simply reduced the amount of cornstarch in the recipe to account for how thick the puree is to start with. I figured that the rhubarb purée was about halfway between how thin milk is, and how thick I wanted the final curd – so I halved the amount of thickener (cornstarch) to just 10g.

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

The rhubarb taste is there, but subtler than I was expecting. I’m debating trying to make these without the custard next time. I would double the amount of rhubarb puree, and just flavour the whipping cream with vanilla and fold them together. I think the flavour would be amazing – but then I love rhubarb, and it might be too strong for some. But even without the strong rhubarb flavour – these still taste great!

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

For the doughnut itself, I used the same recipe from Justin Gellatly’s book Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding, that I used in the paska doughnuts. Except, as these weren’t paska doughnuts, I used his traditional recipe with water instead of citrus juice. If you want a few tips on how to fry them, check out the paska recipe! My key tip is always to prove the doughnuts on parchment paper, rather than trying to lift them off a floured surface. You can even pre-cut the squares before shaping, so that you don’t have to try and cut around the doughnuts once proven.

When I was trying to decide how to garnish these (all doughnuts need a garnish, IMHO), I was torn between poached rhubarb, and rhubarb curls! In the end, I think the poached stuff works better, as it looks more like rhubarb at first glance. It has better colour. However, the fact that you can make ribbons out of rhubarb is always fun. 🙂 I used this recipe to make them.

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

Which garnish do you think looks better?

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

Either way, if you happen to have a glut of rhubarb from your garden, or just love doughnuts, why not try these? You could even try reducing the amount of creme patissiere in the recipe to see if the stronger flavour is better? Taste is always a personal preference. Or, you can just eat the rhubarb curd straight – ha! Pipe it into tart shells, or make a rhubarb meringue pie! Enjoy!

Rhubarb + Custard Doughnuts

Ingredients

  • Doughnut Dough:
  • 500g white bread flour (strong white)
  • 60g caster sugar (berry sugar), plus extra for coating
  • 10g salt
  • 5g instant yeast (15g fresh, 7.5 active dry*)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150ml water
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2ltrs neutral vegetable oil, for frying
  • Rhubarb Puree:
  • 225g rhubarb, chopped
  • 0.5 orange, zest and juice
  • 50g + 2 tsp sugar
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 10g cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Creme Patissiere:
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 50g sugar
  • 20g cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 0.25 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (or 0.25 tsp vanilla paste/extract)
  • 250ml double cream (whipping)
  • 40g caster sugar

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the flour and yeast. In a large bowl**, combine the water, citrus zest, sugar, eggs, flour mixed with yeast, and salt (layered in that order). Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough starts to come together, then turn out onto a clean work surface.
  2. Knead the dough at a medium pace, for about 8 minutes, being careful not to add any extra flour. This dough will be very sticky, so use a bench scraper to help you knead.
  3. Allow the dough to rest for one minute.
  4. Start kneading again, and add the butter in small amounts - kneading in each one before adding the next. Once you have added all the butter, knead at a fast pace for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. It'll still be very very sticky.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film, and allow to prove for 1-1.5 hours. Punch the dough down, recover, and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. While the dough is resting in the fridge, make your rhubarb curd and pastry cream.
  7. Place the chopped rhubarb, orange zest, juice, and 2 tsp sugar in a bowl. Allow the rhubarb to macerate while you make the crème patissière, drawing out the water.
  8. For the pastry cream: In a medium bowl, mix together your egg yolk, cornstarch, and enough of the milk to thin it out a little.
  9. Heat the remaining milk, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan, over medium heat, until just simmering. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow to infuse for 20-30 minutes.
  10. Bring the milk back up to a low boil, and slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the whole time to prevent the egg cooking.
  11. Return the whole mixture to the pot, and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly.
  12. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat for 10 seconds, and whisk vigorously. Return to the heat and allow to come to a full boil, for 10-15 seconds - keep whisking.
  13. Strain mixture onto a large piece of cling film, and wrap to make a little pillow. Chill in the fridge until cold.
  14. For the rhubarb curd: in a small pot over low heat, cook the rhubarb mixture until soft and broken down. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and puree in a food processor.
  15. In a medium bowl, mix together your egg yolk, cornstarch, and enough of the lemon juice to thin it out a little.
  16. Heat the remaining lemon juice, rhubarb purée, and sugar in a saucepan, over medium heat to a low boil, and slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the whole time to prevent the egg cooking.
  17. Return the whole mixture to the pot, and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly.
  18. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat for 10 seconds, and whisk vigorously. Return to the heat and allow to come to a full boil, for 10-15 seconds - keep whisking.
  19. Strain mixture onto a large piece of cling film, and wrap to make a little pillow. Chill in the fridge until cold.
  20. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge, and divide into 50g pieces. You should get 20. Shape each of them on a table (you may want to lightly flour your hand) into a tight bun shape. Do this by cupping your hand over the piece, and moving your hand circles.
  21. Place the rounds on parchment lined trays, and lightly cover with cling film sprayed with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Allow to prove in a warm place for 1.5-3 hours, or until doubled in size.
  22. When the dough is almost ready, begin heating the oil in a large pot over medium heat, until the temperature reads 180°C (356°F). You will need to be very careful working with the oil (it's hot!), and try and check the temp. between each batch. Cut the parchment paper around each doughnut.
  23. Fry the doughnuts in groups of 2 or three, for about 1.5-2 minutes on each side. Place them in the oil gently, by the parchment paper, and remove it once you have flipped the doughnuts.
  24. Remove the doughnuts to a paper towel lined plate, to soak up any excess oil. While still warm, toss the doughnuts in a bowl of caster sugar.
  25. Once all the doughnuts are fried, allow them to cool while you finish the filling.
  26. Remove the pastry cream and curd from the fridge, and beat until smooth.
  27. Whip the double cream, and 40g caster sugar until stiff, then divide in two and fold each half into the rhubarb and pastry cream. Gently swirl the two together. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a small round nozzle, with the mixture, or a ziplock bag with a small hole cut in the corner.
  28. Using a paring knife, cut a small hold in the side of each of the doughnuts, to allow you to fill them.
  29. Stick your piping bag in the hole, and fill the doughnut, then pipe a small amount to cover the hole. Decorate with poached rhubarb, or whatever garnish you like!

Notes

*If using active dry yeast, you will need to warm the water to about 46°C (115°F) and allow to dissolve. If using either active dry or fresh, add to the water instead of flour. **Feel free to make in a stand mixer if you have one, using your dough hook. Simply mix on medium speed for the time shown. It's much easier to use a machine with such a sticky dough.

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Rhubarb and Blood Orange Custard Danish

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

A while back, while hunting for danish inspiration photos on Pinterest, I stumbled across a beautiful recipe on Hint of Vanilla for a Rhubarb Danish (check out her blog, not only is it amazing, but she’s Canadian!). The shape of the danish was unique, and the piping of the cream with the St. Honoré tip was beautiful. Quite frankly, her danishes (what is the plural of danish?) look so good you might as well stop reading this now, and just head over to her blog – trust me, it’s better!

I’ve been wanting to try her recipe, or at least a variation of it, ever since. As I was buying rhubarb for my skillet cake (as well as to infuse some gin, like our sloe gin) I decided to buy a whole kilo and experiment. Since I was sending these with Richard to his work, I knew I couldn’t pipe cream on top, like the original recipe. So I decided to add creaminess with a pastry cream, piped under the rhubarb, flavored with blood orange and vanilla! After all, orange is a great complement to rhubarb, and I was buying them anyways for other recipes.

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

As I was making this recipe on my two days off, and was trying to cram like 8 recipes in those days, I tried to go the lazy route. I had seen puff pastry and pie dough in the grocery stores, and assumed that you could probably buy ready to roll croissant or danish dough. Wrong… wrong, wrong, wrong. I had hoped to spend my days off doing so many things, and didn’t want to make danish dough. It’s not hard, just time consuming.

So because I already had my other ingredients, I decided to just suck it up and make the dough. Except I misread my recipe twice, and had to make the dough three times (!!) before I got it right (that is what happens when I rush things). Then, of course I was trying to rush my turns, and was freezing the dough in between to chill it quickly… and forgot about it between the first and second turn. When I tried to roll it out, it was still too cold and I broke the butter sheet… gah! So please, don’t look too closely at the dough in the photos, and do what I say, not what I did.

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

The layers weren’t very nice in the end, but the flavor is still there. These two days weren’t my best because I was trying to do too much. I ended up not doing everything as well as I should have.

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

I made a half batch recipe, which makes about 7 proper danish, with scrap left over. The full recipe makes 15 danish, and the excess can be used to make the little mini bite sized ones.

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

If you find that you have extra pastry cream left over – don’t worry! It tastes amazing and you could pretty much just eat it with a spoon… or dip fruit in it… or pipe it into tart shells and top with fresh fruit! It’s pretty versatile.

Rhubarb and custard danish | Hello Victoria

Mmmmm… now I want to make these again, but take my time to do the dough properly! If you’re feeling up to it, danish dough isn’t really hard, just takes a good couple hours to make. However, if your shop has it for sale, you might want to take the easy route! This recipe looks long and daunting, but trust me, these aren’t as hard as they look!

Rhubarb and Custard Danish

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 15 Square Danish + 15 Mini Danish

Ingredients

  • 500g rhubarb, leaves removed
  • 40g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, divided
  • 1 blood orange, zest and juice, divided
  • 285 ml milk
  • 375g butter (for butter block)
  • 250 ml milk
  • 50g sugar
  • 20g corn starch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 500g bread flour
  • 50g sugar
  • 7g salt
  • 14g fresh yeast (7g active dry or 4.5g instant)
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter (for dough)

Instructions

  1. For the rhubarb, slice each stalk in half, down the middle, and place in a dish. Zest and squeeze the juice of half the orange, and cut open half the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds. Place the zest, juice, vanilla seeds, and pod in the dish with the 40g sugar and rhubarb. Toss to evenly cover the rhubarb and allow to sit for at least an hour.
  2. For the pastry cream, combine the milk, sugar, zest, from the second half of the orange, and remaining vanilla seeds and pod. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer, and remove from the heat. Cover and allow to seep for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Once the cream has infused long enough, whisk the egg yolk with the cornstarch, and pour in some of the milk mixture to thin it out a little. Bring the milk to a low boil and slowly pour into the cornstarch mixture, while whisking vigorously.
  4. Return the whole mix to the pot and bring to a boil over a medium heat, while whisking the whole time. When you feel the mixture start to thicken, briefly remove from the heat and whisk, to prevent the egg from over cooking. Then return to the heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, continue to cook for 10 seconds to ensure that the corn starch is cooked out.
  5. Remove from the heat, and stir in 2-3 tbsp of the blood orange juice. Pour through a sieve onto a large piece of cling film. Wrap the pastry cream in the cling film to make a little parcel and allow to cool in the fridge. If you have extra juice, pour it over the rhubarb.
  6. To make the danish dough, the method depends on which kind of yeast you are using. If fresh, add it to the cold milk; if active dry, warm the milk to 115°F (45°C) and dissolve the yeast in it first; if instant, mix in with the flour. Depending on your yeast, place the ingredients in the bowl in the following order: milk, egg, sugar, flour, salt, and butter (in small pieces).
  7. Mix the ingredients together until they resemble a shaggy mass, and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough slowly for 2 minutes, just to get the ingredients combined and the butter worked in, then up the speed to fast for 8 minutes. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  8. While the dough is resting, make the butter block. Wrap the butter in cling film, and pound with a rolling pin. Continue pounding the butter, and folding the edges over, until you can fold the butter and it doesn't crack. Shape the butter into a 20cm square and set aside at room temperature until the dough is ready.
  9. To encase the butter, roll the dough out to a 20cm rectangle, on a well floured surface. Cut a cross into the dough and pull out the corners. Roll them out while keeping the middle slightly raised. Brush off any extra flour, and place the butter block in the middle.
  10. Cover the butter with the dough flaps, one at a time, brushing off the extra flour, and pinch to completely seal.
  11. To make the first turn, gently press the dough with a rolling pin to merge the layers together, and then roll out in one direction to 45 cm long. Fold the top third of the dough down, brush off the extra flour, and fold the bottom up to cover. You should have a rectangle of dough with three layers. Cover in cling film and allow to rest for 30 minutes. You can speed up the rest time with a brief turn in the fridge, but need to make sure that the butter stays soft.
  12. For the second turn, roll the dough in the opposite direction as before (rolling the open ends out) and complete the turn as the first. Allow to rest for 30 minutes again.
  13. Complete the third turn, same as the second, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  14. Once the dough is ready, roll it out on a well floured surface to just larger than a 21 cm x 70 cm rectangle and then cut the edges of the dough to 21 cm x 70 cm. Cut the dough into 30 squares, 7 cm x 7 cm. Using a round cookie cutter, cut 15 circles from half the squares.
  15. Remove the rhubarb from the dish and line up the stalks on a cutting board. Using the same circle cutter, cut circles of the rhubarb, using a small sharp knife if necessary. Cut 15 circles of rhubarb and the chop up any remaining rhubarb to top the scrap pieces.
  16. Brush a little water around the edges of the full squares and top with the ones with the circles cut out. Pipe a bit of the cream in the middle and top with the circles of rhubarb.
  17. For the scrap circles, pipe on a small mound of cream, and top with some of the chopped rhubarb.
  18. Place all the danish on parchment lines trays and sprinkle with some turbinado sugar (demererra sugar) if you like. Cover the trays with upside down plastic bins, or loosely with cling film, and allow to proof for 1.5-2 hours, or until well puffed and you can start to see the layers.
  19. While the danish are proving, preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C).
  20. Bake the danish for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. rotating after 10 minutes if necessary.
  21. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on racks. If desired, make a simple glaze with water (or milk) and icing sugar, and drizzle over the top.
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Rhubarb and Blood Orange Semolina Cake

Rhubarb and blood orange semolina cake | Hello Victoria

In the early months of the year, the produce options can feel a bit limited. Berries are crazy expensive, stone fruits are even worse, and everything feels a bit dull. However, what some people don’t realize is that winter is citrus season!

Now is the time to experiment with blood oranges, grapefruit, bergamot lemons… etc. Not only is citrus in season, but here in England forced rhubarb is upon us! You might not be able to find it at every grocery store (mine didn’t have it), but Borough Market is currently in supply.

I’ve always loved rhubarb, even as a kid. I remember my mom picking my sister Bethany and I big pieces from her plant, and we would dip the ends in sugar and eat them. We were weird.

Rhubarb and blood orange semolina cake | Hello Victoria

But I digress… back to the recipe!

I’ve been getting tons of recipes and inspiration from Waitrose’s monthly magazine. It’s free for people who sign up for their Waitrose rewards card, and chock full of great recipes. I’ve made a lot so far, and haven’t had a bad one yet! (more…)