21 Apr 2016

Pickings and Pie



This year I have three rhubarb plants.  I don't need three, I needed one (all that my space would allow) and grew Glaskins' Perpetual from a seed several years ago.  It's huge and not very pink but I feel very proprietorial as I nurtured it into life all by myself.  Even so, when I saw Red Champagne crowns for sale a couple of years ago, of course I thought they sounded better.  Red. Champagne. Mm mmm, what's not to love?

I bought two crowns, planted them under the fruit trees as I'd read that rhubarb could tolerate a bit of shade and where (at the time) there was plenty of bare earth that needed covering and left them to it.  I thought I'd lost one plant last year as, without a hose, things get pretty dry under the trees.  The other decided to flower you may remember.  I wondered whether I'd ever get to taste any red champagne sticks but the crowns were inexpensive so it wouldn't be a huge loss. But reports of the death of my champagne rhubarb crowns were premature.



This spring, with the winter being relatively short lived and the rain lasting rather longer, I've watched rhubarb sticks from all three crowns gradually appearing over the past few weeks.  At one point I was tempted to plonk a black plastic bucket over one of them to try my hand at forcing but, as tends to happen, I didn't get round to it.  (Anyone had any success doing this? And is it worth it?)

Serendipitously, I opened an email from Simple Things mag last week to find a recipe for Rhubarb and Rosewater Tart. The timing was immaculate as I had the rhubarb in the garden and was in the mood for baking - and had some shop bought cheat's sweet shortcrust pastry in the fridge that needed using. (I'd like to say that I whipped up a batch of home-made pastry but I didn't. There.) It was delicious, whether eaten with cardamon flavoured cream or with friends and family. I made the pie in a smaller tin than suggested to share with family and used the extra filling with a dollop of jam in a small batch of Maids of Honour tarts for my goodie tin at home.

I've lost track of where we are in the gardener's calendar - I assume everyone's rhubarb is up and growing vigorously?  If you like the sound of the pie, the recipe is here and, with ready made pastry, is a doddle to make.   (The addition of rosewater is delicious but could be omitted if you have none, leaving a rhubarb and frangipane pie.)

24 comments:

  1. Yummy, another rhubarb recipe to try. I 've just eaten a piece of rhubarb upside cake (Sarah Raven) with my afternoon cuppa. I used four sticks or 400g in my cake so considerably more than the tart recipe calls for. I've got four plants and three varieties: Champagne, Victoria and Timperley but they all seem to appear at much the same time. I don't bother to force, never water and give each plant a mulch with well-rotted manure once a year,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a stack of rhubarb recipes but this one was new to me. I do love a bit of frangipane as well and the Maids of Honour tarts were something my mum used to make when I was a child, so these were very nostalgic for me. I didn't get round to mulching my rhubarb this year, I'll have to put it in the diary for the end of this year. I never water either, there's too much else to do in the garden!

      Delete
  2. My rhubarb is really struggling this year. There are barely any stalks. That pie does look delicious xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Taking a tip from Sarah, above, do you mulch yours, Jo? Or maybe yours is just a bit later to get going - I know from a trip to Wisley that different rhubarb varieties produce at different times of the year. Hope it manages to surprise you - they're usually pretty tolerant plants!

      Delete
  3. Oh I do so love rhubarb. Mine is not doing well, and I also have a new one, so I'm trying not to pull it too soon. It's very tempting though, especially now I've seen your delicious tart. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't resist picking a few stems for this recipe - luckily only a few are needed for the top so maybe you could risk it! I promise you, the tart is delicious!

      Delete
  4. Oh my, that does sound gorgeous! How marvelous that your rhubarb came up.....sometimes it's worth leaving things for a year or two. I will have to check mine now!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This clump has had two growing seasons, Dina, so is ready to be picked. Although given last year's near fatal flowering, I think I'll go easy on it this year. I'm able to do that as a friend also has an enormous clump of rhubarb that she never picks so I'm spoiled for choice! x

      Delete
  5. I'm not that fussed about rhubarb so just have one clump,which is up and growing slowly. I don't think that it's worth forcing to get some a bit earlier. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh yummmm... that's a beautiful pie you have there, caro!I have never tried rosewater with rhubarb, and I'm intrigued.
      I have three plants but they are poorly things, skinny little stalks they throw up. so I need all three! I feed them - but maybe not enough.
      and that is a very pretty pic of the rhubarb hiding beneath the blossoms!

      Delete
    2. Good to know, Flighty, thanks - I did wonder whether forcing made the stems pinker which would look lovely in jam or a compote. What do you do with your one clump?

      Delete
    3. Thanks, my Tasmanian friend, the pie turned out rather well and was even better for being photographed in my niece's back garden - gave it a nice summery feel! I wouldn't have thought of adding rosewater but it goes surprisingly well. Do you get cold winters? Rhubarb crowns needs a good frost to break dormancy and give a good crop the following year - and they like to grow in moist, free draining soil. Persevere, they may come good with watering and feeding! Good luck!

      Delete
  6. I don't think you can have too much rhubarb :-) I have one plant but I can't remember the variety. It's been much happier since we moved it from the dry shade of a corner by the greenhouse and I harvested the first sticks last weekend. Delicious. This tart sounds fab. Thanks for the tip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Sam, hope you enjoy it if you get round to making one. The original recipe is for 10 people so quite a good pudding for a family lunch - enough for second helpings! I think my rhubarb plants under the trees are happiest at this time of year when they get rain and light. Must remember to nurture them in the summer!

      Delete
  7. Our rhubarb - well some varieties - are ready for picking,=. Today we visited a garden that boasted the second largest rhubarb collection in the world having 130 varietiesd and even then we had at least one variety that they didn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing! Did you offer to give them a piece of your rhubarb crown to extend their collection? I wonder what the garden owners do with all their rhubarb - do they sell it? (And is their garden in the famous rhubarb triangle of Yorkshire?)

      Delete
    2. It's well outside of the triangle, Caro. There is a cafe on site so they probably use some there. I don't know whether they ever sell any.

      Delete
    3. 130 varieties must produce an awful lot of rhubarb! Maybe they distribute it among their friends and neighbours, etc. That would be a nice thing to do with their collection, assuming the rhubarb benefits from being picked, of course!

      Delete
  8. Mmmm that sounds and looks rather appetising Caro. I was at the allotment on Saturday where I checked out my rhubarb but it's still on the short side. Maybe in a week or two :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you get some rhubarb soon Anna! I love that I have something edible growing in the garden so early. The mild winter encouraged my broccoli to bolt so it was all over before it even started. At least the bees are happy with the broccoli flowers ...

      Delete
  9. Your rhubarb has my mouth watering as does that recipe! Yum!!! A lovely post as always!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first fruits/vegetables of the year are always the best aren't they! Pleased you enjoyed the post, xx

      Delete
  10. We had so much rhurbarb last year that it was taking over my cutting flower patch. We reduced it and we haven't got enough yet for a meal! Rhurbarb and custard cake is delicious too if you are looking for a way of using your crop. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rhubarb and custard cake sounds delicious, thanks for the tip Sarah. My Glaskin's rhubarb did the same last year. I meant to move it this past winter but didn't get around to it so I'm not sure if it's too late now. I moved my artichoke and killed it. :o(

      Delete

Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...