by Rose Diebolt
After a long winter without fresh local greens from our garden and the surrounding forest, I really start to crave them. There isn’t very much growing in our gardens yet- but as the sun warms the earth and things start growing-I get excited. The last two weeks I have been watching our rhubarb patches, first seeing the soil move a little, then the buds of the rhubarb start popping up, then the leaves unfurl and the stems get thicker and longer. Finally, I could not wait and three days ago I went to pick some rhubarb (we need some more warm weather) to use in a couple of recipes. So good!
Bread Pudding with Rhubarb and Maple Syrup
I made an apple bread pudding using croissants and was happy with the results. In this recipe I did the same, but with our fresh rhubarb and found that the croissants give the pudding a smoother, creamier and lighter texture.
8 day-old croissants, cut into 1 /2 inch cubes
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups water
1 lb rhubarb cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated orange rind
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whipping cream
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper. You can also use ramekins or the large mouth 250ml canning jars.
2. To prepare rhubarb, add sugar to water and bring to boil, stirring until sugar is melted. Boil for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the rhubarb. Simmer the rhubarb for 2 minutes or until limp, and then remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove rhubarb from the syrup.
3. Toss the rhubarb with cinnamon, and orange rind. Set aside.
4. For custard, whisk together sugar, eggs, cream, maple syrup, cardamom and cloves in a mixing bowl.
5. Place the cut up croissants in the pan and add the rhubarb. Mix gently.
6. Pour the custard over the croissants and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Press down lightly.
7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake 15 minutes until the top is golden and puffed. Remove from oven and serve while warm. Garnish with maple syrup or vanilla ice cream.
When I make my own salad dressings I always like to use fruit either fresh or cooked. It makes your dressing zing. Always make extra because dressings will keep up to a week in your fridge and you won’t have to buy the chemical mixture in the store!!
1 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive, sunflower or grape seed oil
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1. Boil rhubarb with water in a small saucepan over medium heat, until rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes. Place into a blender with maple syrup, vinegar, Dijon mustard and oil. Blend until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds.