Words: Shamim de Brún
Words: Shamim de Brún
Spring is the most difficult time of year to eat fresh produce. Most plants have just begun to grow, and they are weeks from bearing edible fruit. But Rhubarb is a precocious plant. Ready before most anything else. Poor rhubarb is one of the most misunderstood ingredients. It’s a vegetable but used as a fruit. The oxalic acid content of rhubarb makes the leaves poisonous and the stem frankly delicious.
It has its naysayers. If you’re one of those who decided in early childhood they don’t care for the tart, vitamin C-packed plant, consider giving it another try. Irish chefs are doing some interesting things with rhubarb this year that go way beyond what was available in the 90s.
If you want to start your day with a little bit of pink charm and a whole lot of crunch this is the way to go. The transient beauty of forced rhubarb persuaded from the ground in darkness is full of floral flavours. Featuring as the seasonal compote on their mainstay gránola for a few weeks this year. It’s one not to be missed.
Picture this: you wake up bleary-eyed and a little bit grumpy in Dublin 7, but then you remember that there is a Rhunarb slice with your name on it. Pastry layered with sweet pink goodness and a pistachio crunch. s you take that first bite, the crunchy oats and nuts mingle with the tart rhubarb, sending a burst of flavour and energy through your tired body. Suddenly, the world seems a little bit brighter, a little bit more magical, and a little bit tastier. Nothing could cheer you up fast this week!
Rhubarb and custard on a bread bun? I am all kinds of in. Just look at it. You’ve got the tangy, juicy rhubarb playing off the smooth, creamy custard, all nestled on top of a soft, pillowy bread bun. It’s a hoolie if ever there was one encased in sweet treaty goodness. The perfect way to embrace rhubarb this week.
If you want to kick your week up a notch, you need to get yourself some rhubarb crumble with fresh cream. It’s sweet, tangy, and the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth. The crispy, buttery crumble topping gives way to the juicy, tart rhubarb filling, and it’s all topped off with a dollop of fresh, creamy goodness. It’s like a Spring sprang in your mouth. Delicious.
The ultimate Rhubarb dish of the week is this little ditty from Sceal Bakery.
This one doubles up on locally sourced rhubarb from Ryans Rhubarb and turns it into a tart jam underneath and lightly poached stalks on top. Sweet woodruff crème pâtisserie binds those two pink layers together. All that tops Sceal’s flakey pastry is made using emmer flour from Oak Forest Mills. This bad boy is is nutty and honeyed in flavour and incredibly flakey. Ticking all the boxes for a delicious mouthful in every bite. It is the truest joy a Rhubarb-er could ever hope to ingest.
Elsewhere on CHAR: What the Hell is a Little Treat Girlie