Wednesday 25 April 2018

Roly Poly Rhubarb Pudding

When I was a child I could hardly wait for Rhubarb Season to roll around. My mom would make us our favourite rhubarb pies. They were so tasty, served warm with vanilla ice cream all melting down into that buttery crust and the sweet/tart juices of that beautiful fruit . . .

But that was not the bestest part. The bestest part was eating it raw. Oh what a treat that was. Mom would carefully wash and trim each of us a stalk and then we would each be given a little bowl of sugar. We would sit there at the table and dip the ends of the rhubarb into the sugar and then suck and munch away . . . a jaw aching, mouth puckering right of spring. It was soooo good. 

We have a rather large rhubarb patch out back here in the garden. We brought up the rhubarb that we had had down in Kent when we moved up here 8 years ago, and we added it to the patch that was already here. Its never really done well here however, producing only spindly stems.  Its rather early in the season of course, so for this pudding toay, i took advantage of the early pink Yorkshire forced rhubarb we can get in the shops this time of year.  It has a beautiful colour.

These first tender pink and ruby coloured spring shoots are so delightful, and a wonderfully welcome taste after the long cold  wet winter we have had.  When I was married before, in what seems like eons ago, we used to summer on PEI most years.  I used to walk along the beach near my es-husbands American relatives cottage in Malpeque and pick wild rhubarb, which grew there in abundance.

As with most fruits, the wild stuff was smaller in size, but larger in flavour.  I wonder why that is?  Have we slowly grown the flavour out of things?  Or is it just the flavours are more concentrated in a smaller fruit  . . .  in any case this early pink rhubarb very much reminds me of that Malpeque rhubarb.

Today we had company for dinner and I made a sort of a roly poly rhubarb pudding for dessert, with a rich buttery scone type of batter, spread with butter, sprinkled with sugar and nutmeg and then scattered with the chopped pink stalks of this delightfully tart fruit.

Rolled up and then cut into slices like a jelly roll, they were placed in a buttered pan, and topped with a sweet, lightly spiced sauce and then baked. It was oh so wonderful, served up warm and covered with lashings of warm homemade custard. You could also serve it with pouring cream.

*Roly Poly Rhubarb Pudding*
Serves 8 

Kind of like a rolled rhubarb dumpling baked in a delicious sauce.  Serve with lashings of custard or cream for a delicious treat! 

For the dumplings:
280g plain flour (2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBS butter
7 fluid ounces of milk (7/8 cup) 

For the filling:
softened butter for spreading
95g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 pound rhubarb, chopped (2 cups) 

For the Sauce:
190g caster sugar (1 cup)
4 tsp plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
240ml hot water (1 cup)
1 TBS butter
freshly grated nutmeg 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a deep 9 inch square baking dish and set aside. 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut the butter into little bits and drop it into the flour.  Rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in the milk to make a soft dough.  Tip out onto a floured board.  Knead a few times and then pat out to a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick.  Spread the top with softened butter.  Sprinkle the sugar over top and pat down.  Sprinkle with some freshly grated nutmeg and then cover with the chopped rhubarb.  Pat it down a bit then roll up as for a jelly roll, pinching the edges shut.  Cut into 8 slices with a sharp knife.  Place each slice, cut side down into the prepared baking dish. 

Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt for the sauce.  Whisk in the hot water.  Cook on high in the microwave for about a minute.  Take out and whisk.  Cook for a further minute, until boiling.  Pour this over top of the rhubarb rolls in the dish. 

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the heated oven, until the rolls are cooked through and the whole thing is nice and bubbly.  Serve warm, spooned into bowls, along with some custard or pouring cream. 

I tried to tempt Todd with a stalk rhubarb and a bowl of sugar once . . .  so he could dip it, like a natural pixie stix, but he wasn't having any of it! Lets just say it didn't appeal! 

*Proper Custard* 
Makes about 3 cups

This is also known as creme anglaise. Be sure not to let the mixture boil once the eggs are added, or you wil end up with a curdled mess. You only need to heat it up enough to cook the eggs. The custard is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon. 

8 egg yolks
75g caster sugar (a generous 1/3 cup)
300ml whole milk  (1 1/4 cup)
300ml double cream (1 1/4 cup)
1 vanilla pod, split 

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until well blended. Place the milk and cream in a saucepan with the vanilla. Scrape the insides of the vanilla pod into the mixture before you add it. Bring the mixture just to the boil. 

Pour a little of this mixture into the eggs to temper them, and beat it together well. Pour this back into the pan and whisk together. Return to the heat and using a whisk, lightly stir until it begins to thicken. DO NOT BOIL. 

As the egg yolks warm, the cream will get thicker and create a custard. Keep stirring until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and pass through a fine sieve. Leave to cool a bit before using. Serve warm or allow to cool completely,stirring occasionally.  

If you only make one dessert this spring, it really should be this one. You won't regret it!  Bon Appetit! 


  1. I am sure J would like this..I have rhubarb was given to never did well ..3 yrs ago I bought a nice healthy does great:)Lucky maybe..and not in all..just my epic garlic;)

    1. We probably need to buy a few more crowns. This is a really nice dessert. Todd loves it! I think your garlic is amazing! Xo


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