Rhubarb gingerbread sponge pudding.


Sugar-crusted on the top and jammy on the bottom,
this is a dreamy warm-up dessert for cold Winter nights
and not-yet-warm Spring evenings.

It’s also one of the first recipes I returned to over and over.
In my not-quite-adult years, 
The Fury and I would sometimes bake it
out of sheer coldness and boredom — 
creaming the butter and sugar
with the back of a spoon against the inside of a bowl,
before either of us had a proper kitchen or proper heating.

In New York City, rhubarb means Springtime,
so I’ll bake this while the nights still call for a cup of tea
and an extra layer of clothing.

Rhubarb

{ A Stephanie Alexander recipe. }

Gather:
500 g rhubarb (about 3 long stems)
125 g caster (or white) sugar

185 g plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger*
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

125 g butter, at room temp. (or softer)
3 tbsp brown sugar

1/3 cup golden syrup**
1 egg

2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp baking soda

Then:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C/355ºF and lightly butter a large baking dish (like a square 2L Pyrex baking dish).
  2. Clean and trim the ends off the rhubarb, then slice it into inch-long chunks.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, toss the rhubarb in the caster sugar, then lay the pieces in a roughly even layer in the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Put the flour, spices and salt in a small bowl, stir with a fork until evenly mixed/lump-free, and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar (about 3 minutes).
  6. Still mixing, add in the golden syrup* and the egg, and mix until incorporated.
  7. Mixing on the slowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until full incorporated.
  8. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and baking soda together — stirring constantly — until the baking soda is dissolved.
  9. Go back to your stand mixer! Pour the milk/soda mixture into the batter, and mix (on a slow speed) until it’s fully incorporated.
  10. Spoon the batter over the rhubarb, using a spatula to smooth out the surface so there are no rhubarb pieces poking through.
  11. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the surface is deep golden brown and a skewer poked into the pudding layer comes out clean/not gloopy.
  12. While it’s still (very) warm, spoon huge crusty-topped, jammy-bottomed portions into serving bowls, and top with vanilla ice-cream and/or (okay, AND) custard.

 

Notes:

*Don’t skip this — according to my grandma, it stops the rhubarb making your teeth feel fuzzy!

**Two tips to make sure the golden syrup flows freely out of the measuring cup: 1) stand the container in a bowl of hot water before you pour it out into the measuring cup; 2) while the syrup is softening, pour a little vegetable oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around to get an even coating — when you pour the syrup in, it will just slip right out again.

Bonus throwback: In this photo — circa. 2008 — I’m eating the last morsels of one rhubarb gingerbread sponge pudding… so The Fury and I could use the dish to bake another batch. I’m not lying when I say we baked this a lot.

The Rhubarb Pie Cycle

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