Rhubarb and raspberry friands with lime buttercream

FriandsEasterOooh, the first of the forced rhubarb – what a joy to be able to cook with this gorgeous vegetable. We’re all rather spoilt in being able to get year-round fruits, but I do still think it’s a real seasonal treat when rhubarb starts appearing to buy. My own rhubarb is starting to sprout in its container in my garden too – so, all in all, the appearance of rhubarb is a real herald of spring for me.

My husband has a habit of nicking rhubarb and eating it raw, dipped in a bit of sugar. He’s the only person I know who does this and I have to hide the stalks from him if I want to use all that I have. I cooked up more rhubarb than I needed for this recipe and have saved the rest to add to ice creams, on porridge/granola etc, so you can just pinch the part of the recipe for that.

Tea Time TreatsI decided to link this recipe to the lastest (March 2016) Tea Time Treats linky party hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage. I’ve occasionally joined in before with enjoyable link-up – but it’s been a long while. Maybe this’ll remind in future to join in more 🙂

Notes

Makes about 10 friands

If you don’t have friand moulds, you can make these in muffin cases

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Wide base saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking tray, lined with baking parchment
  • Piping bag and star nozzle (for meringues)
  • Piping bag and slanted petal nozzle or rose nozzle (for buttercream roses)
  • Friand moulds or muffin cases and bun tin
  • Wire cooling rack

Ingredients – meringue kisses

  • Eggs – 3, whites only
  • Caster sugar – 175g
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pink/red food colouring
  • A selection of sprinkles

Ingredients – rhubarb

  • Rhubarb stalks, trimmed into 3cm pieces (about 240g in total)
  • Pomegranate or cherry juice – 50ml

Ingredients – friands

  • Eggs, medium – 3
  • Ground almonds – 40g
  • Plain flour – 100g
  • Caster sugar – 140g
  • Unsalted butter, softened (but not runny) – 140g
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Flaked almonds – a handful (about 40g)
  • Fresh raspberries – a handful (about 60g)
  • (Cooked rhubarb – from this recipe)

Ingredients – buttercream

  • Unsalted butter – 100g
  • Icing sugar – about 200g (you will need to adjust this according to the moisture level of your butter and how much milk and lime juice you add – you may need a little more or a little less)
  • Milk – a little just to loosen the buttercream; this will be 20- 30ml or thereabouts
  • Lime juice – to taste but roughly 1 teaspoon
  • Yellow/primrose food colouring

Ingredients – additional decorations

  • Mini meringue kisses – from this recipe
  • Lemon balm leaves
  • Mini eggs

Method – meringue kisses (prepare in advance)

  1. Heat the oven to 90C fan/100C conventional
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment (or two smaller trays)
  3. Separate the whites of three eggs (reserve the yolks for custard etc)
  4. Whisk to firm peaks
  5. Whisk in the caster sugar in batches (don’t tip it all in at once)
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and food colouring and whisk until combined evenly
  7. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, pipe small meringues (each about 2cm in diameter) across the baking sheet
  8. Gently cover the tiny meringues with the sprinkles
  9. Bake for 50 minutes
  10. Take out and leave to cool
  11. These will store in an airtight container for a good few weeks

Method – preparing the rhubarb

  1. Using a large base saucepan (it needs to be large so that the rhubarb cooks evenly), place the rhubarb in the bottom and cover with the fruit juice
  2. Simmer over a low heat for about 6-7 minutes until the rhubarb begins to soften on the outside
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside

Method – buttercream

  1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together and add a little milk to ensure a smooth consistency
  2. Mix in the lime juice to taste and the food colouring (you’re aiming for a nice primrose colour)
  3. Leave to one side, covered until the cakes are cooled

Method – cakes

  1. Turn the oven on to 180C fan / 200 conventional
  2. Grease and flour the friand moulds or place the muffin cases in the bun tin, ready for use
  3. Sprinkle the flaked almonds into the bottom of each friand. If you are using muffin cases, reserve these for the top of the sponge (see later note)
  4. Mix the sponge as an all-in-one method: that is, put the eggs, sugar, flour, ground almonds, butter, vanilla extract and baking powder in a bowl and mix until smooth
  5. Chop up about 100g/ half a cupful of the cooked rhubarb into 1cm pieces and add to the sponge mix
  6. Add in the fresh raspberries, crushing them slightly between your fingers so that they spread out and bleed a little into the sponge mix
  7. Gently swirl the rhubarb and raspberries into the mix, making sure you have an even spread but don’t over mix. You want to still have discernible blobs of fruit
  8. Spoon the mix into the moulds/cases
  9. If you are using muffin cases sprinkle the flaked almonds on the top of the sponge mix on every cake
  10. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until they are light brown and spring back when pressed
  11. Leave to cool a little in the moulds and then turn out on to a wire rack to cool thoroughly. If you are baking in muffin cases, move the cases to the wire rack to cool

Method – decorating

  1. Fill a piping bag fitted with a slanted petal nozzle or  a standard rose nozzle with the buttercream
  2. Pipe a rose on to the top of each cake
  3. Use a little of the buttercream to fix the meringue kisses and mini eggs to the top of the cakes
  4. Take one or two lemon balm leaves and push their stem into the base of the piped roses

Easterfriands2

Cherry and rhubarb tart

cherryRhubarbTartlandscapeLarge

Hmm, what to do that would make the most of the last of the sweet late rhubarb and the first of the deep black-red cherries. This tart was a total experiment and turned out to be sublime; definitely one for the same glut of seasonal produce next year.

Notes

I used an oblong tart tin, but a typical circular tin would be just fine. From past experience, the pastry needed is the same (you may have fewer left over bits) but up the filling by 50% again.

Equipment
  • Tart tin with loose bottom, lined and/or greased and floured
  • Baking beans or dried pulses
  • Rolling pin
  • Small cutters
  • Saucepan
Ingredients – pastry
  • Plain flour – 250g
  • Unsalted butter – 125g
  • Caster sugar – 50g
  • Egg yolk from a medium egg – 1
Ingredients – for the filling
  • Fruit – 400g. I used 170g of rhubarb and 230g of pitted (stones removed) cherries
  • Caster sugar – 50g
  • Water – 50ml
  • Apricot jam – 3 tablespoons
Method
  1. Have the pre-prepared tart tin handy
  2. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar until combined thoroughly
  3. Mix in the egg yolk and bring together in the bowl to form a ball
  4. Flour your surface and roll out the pastry dough to be bigger than your tart tin
  5. Carefully lift the pastry on to the tin and ensure it is lifted and pushed into all corners. If anything breaks, you can just patch it up with the leftover
  6. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork, then line with baking parchment and pop in the baking beans or dried pulses
  7. Rest somewhere cool for 10 minutes
  8. Put the oven onto 180C fan /190C conventional
  9. Bake in the bottom half of the oven for 16-17 minutes
  10. While the pastry is cooking, prepare the fruit
  11. Chop the rhubarb into 2cm pieces and halve the cherries (stones removed)
  12. Pop the prepared fruit in a saucepan with the sugar and swirl to ensure coverage
  13. Leave the fruit to macerate for 10 minutes (roughly until after you’ve taken out the pastry)
  14. Now it should be time to take the pastry shell out of the oven
  15. Remove the parchment and baking beans
  16. Return the pastry shell to the oven for three minutes
  17. Take out of the oven and leave to cool
  18. Now, add the water to the fruit and heat until simmering
  19. Stir occasionally while simmering until the rhubarb just starts to break up; this will be about 10 – 15 minutes
  20. When the rhubarb is just starting to lose its firmness, remove from the heat and stir in the apricot jam
  21. Leave to cool a little
  22. Roll out the left over bits of pastry and, using a small cutter, make a few pastry shapes to cover the filling. If you don’t have a cutter, make strips of pastry to zig-zag across the top of the filling
  23. When both the filling and pastry have cooled it’s time to assemble
  24. Turn the oven down (or on, if you’ve already turned it off!) to 160C fan / 170C conventional
  25. Spoon the filling into the pastry shell and arrange the pastry shapes on top
  26. Return to the oven for 15 mins or until the pastry shapes are just starting to turn a golden brown
  27. Leave to cool slightly and enjoy warm or can be eaten completely cold
  28. Store in the fridge