As the snow swirled by my window yesterday morning, I took solace in a cosy kitchen and baking Spring flavours. When March weather is undecided at best, the colour and flavour of rhubarb is so very welcome. In these rhubarb blondies, the sourness perfectly tempers creamy white chocolate and rich almonds to make some of the gooiest cakes I’ve ever baked. Delicious warm from the oven for an indulgent Spring pud, they’re pretty easy to whip up – the longest part being the rhubarb poaching but you could do that ahead – and the sweet, ginger-scented syrup created by the poaching liquid is treat enough. To make them, you will need:
250g rhubarb, chopped into 4cm lengths
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split
juice and zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp ground ginger (optional)
100g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
120g plain flour
200g light muscovado sugar
1 large egg
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
60g flaked almonds.
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C Fan/ Gas 6 and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the rhubarb on the tray in a single layer and scatter over the caster sugar. Scrape out the vanilla seeds over the rhubarb and throw on the pod along with the lemon juice, zest and ground ginger (if using). Cover tightly with tinfoil.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the rhubarb is just soft. Set aside to cool. Once cool, drain the rhubarb from its syrup, reserving it for another dish (I use mine to soak oats for bircher, or simply as a cordial with soda water).
Grease and line a rectangular baking tin, approximately 21cm x 18cm. Mix the flour with a quarter of a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Place the muscovado sugar in a different bowl and stir in the butter until well combined and not lumpy. Add the egg and stir vigorously, until smooth.
Add the flour and fold in lightly, until no streaks remain. Add the chocolate and half the almonds and stir to combine.
Spoon three quarters of the batter into your tin and smooth it out using the back of a spoon, then top with the rhubarb. Spoon the remaining batter over so it’s part-covering the rhubarb and scatter on the rest of the almonds.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out with some crumbs that are a little moist, but not raw. Cool completely in the tin, then cut into squares.
What are you baking this weekend?
Recipe via Rosie Birkett.