Whatever the weather March throws at us, for me it’s always the time to celebrate that spring is on it’s way. And with longer (and hopefully) warmer days ahead there is also an abundance of lovely seasonal home grown produce available.
One of my very favourites is forced rhubarb which is in the shops from late winter to early spring– it’s called ‘forced’ as the slender stems are grown under cover in darkness which forces them to grow tall and thin searching for light. This method of growing means that the stems keep their gorgeous pink colour.
Unlike outdoor-grown rhubarb, which comes into season towards the end of this month and April, forced rhubarb has a more delicate flavour, is less fibrous and doesn’t need as much sweetening.
Quickly roasting rhubarb in a hot oven with a little sugar and flavoured with stem ginger is the perfect way to cook it. Serve with a creamy traditional lemon posset for a deliciously simple spring dessert.
Kitchen tools needed: Cole & Mason Chopping Board
Prep: 20 mins, plus cooling and chilling time
Cook: 10-15 mins
Makes 4 servings
FOR THE LEMON POSSETS
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 75g caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
FOR THE ROASTED RHUBARB AND GINGER
- 400g forced rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 6cm lengths (see Tips)
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp orange juice or water
- 1 piece stem ginger, drained and finely chopped
- 1tbsp stem ginger syrup (from the jar)
1. To make the lemon possets, mix the lemon juice and sugar in a large heatproof jug. Pour the cream in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat (see Tips).
2. Pour the boiling cream over the lemon juice and sugar and stir well until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes then divide between four small individual serving glasses or four small ramekin dishes. Leave to cool for a further 15 minutes then chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours until set –the acidic lemon juice will set the cream mixture as it cools.
3. To roast the rhubarb, preheat the oven to to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6. Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper and arrange the chopped rhubarb in a single layer. Sprinkle over the sugar and orange juice or water. Roast in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the rhubarb is just tender. Scatter over the chopped stem ginger and stem ginger syrup and set aside to cool. Then cover and chill in the fridge until required.
4. Spoon some of the cold roasted rhubarb and syrup over the lemon possets and serve with crisp dessert biscuits, if liked. (See Tips for using up any left over roasted rhubarb).
Choose firm unblemished stalks of rhubarb - if some stalks are quite thick then cut in half lengthways so the pieces are of similar thickness for even cooking.
Rinse the saucepan with cold water before adding the cream – this will help to prevent the cream from catching around the edge in the pan when bringing to the boil.
The roasted rhubarb will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days (the lemon possets for up to 2 days). If you don’t serve all the rhubarb with the possets, then try spooning over hot porridge with an extra drizzle of stem ginger syrup for a breakfast treat or briefly puree and fold into ready-made custard and softly whipped cream for a creamy fruit fool.