Hello you sexy thang…love the colour!
Well it’s now officially ten days until winter ceases to be and already the ambrosial scent of spring is in the air and the days are heating up. I’m very much a summer baby so I can literally feel my cold cranky moods subsiding and the frolicking, cheery part of me coming to the fore (it’s nearly spring, I’m allowed to say frolic).
Of course I’m not going to miss the cold nights, bulking myself up in jackets and making frantic toilet dashes in the middle of a chilly night! But I will however, be sad to see my favourite boots go to storage and the end of tucking into hearty winter foods and of course the myriad of beautiful comforting desserts. Not that the weather will stop me eating it off-season but it just loses that allure when you’re eating winter foods with summer sweat running down your face!
I’ve definitely had my fair share of winter desserts this year: warm chocolate puddings, hot chocolatey cakes, clafoutis, baked tarts, gooey chocolate bread and butter puddings and now this (and I promise you I’m taking a small break from chocolate recipes!) May I present ladies and gentlemen, a Honey rhubarb sponge pudding?
It doesn’t win any prizes for beauty but it makes up for it in comfort with the slightly tart baked rhubarb offset by a sweet, buttery sponge. Originally it’s made with apple and often jazzed up with spices but it’s such an overused fruit in my household that I thought the sexy crimson of rhubarb would make for a delicious change. A subtle overtone of honey instead of spice adds that little something extra in a dessert that I believe epitomises winter and the comfort factor of British food that I adore. The Captain loves his rhubarb and has declared this (along with the chocolate b&b pudding) his winter favourite of 2009. Me? I’m just happy to spend the last dying days of winter eating as many warm desserts as I can (and turning into a pudding while I’m at it).
So out of curiosity…what has been your favourite winter dessert?
One bunch of rhubarb – leaves discarded (you’ll need about 400gm of rhubarb stalks)
65gm soft brown sugar (you could add more if the rhubarbs are especially tart)
1 Tbl honey
100gm butter – softened
100gm caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbl honey (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
100gm self raising flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a small baking/casserole dish (I used a square 18x18cm).
With the rhubarb stalks, wash, drain and then peel off any stringy bits. Chop into 2cm lengths then place in the baking dish.
Sprinkle the brown sugar and honey and mix well with a spoon making sure the rhubarbs are well coated. Level out the rhubarb as much as you can and leave them to stew in the sugar.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy and light. Add eggs in one at a time mixing well for about a minute after each addition. Add in the honey and vanilla extract and mix.
Add in the self raising flour and fold quickly until combined.
Spoon sponge batter over the rhubarb until you cover the entire surface. Smooth out the batter as level as you can over the rhubarb.
The mixture will look like it’s not enough to cover the dish but trust me it is. You’ll probably have gaps at the sides and corners and have little bits of rhubarb sticking out of the batter but don’t panic. The sponge will rise beautifully over the rhubarb and cover the surface.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until sponge is springy in the centre when tapped lightly and the skewer comes out clean. Check it at 30 minutes because in my oven, it started to brown quickly. If it looks like yours is browning too quickly, you can cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil then continue baking.
Serve warm with ice cream or a good lashing of custard. The rhubarb sponge can be stored in the fridge covered with clingwrap and be reheated in a low oven temperature before serving.