The theme of 2018 is changeable weather! In the space of a month we had some of the coldest, snowiest weather on record and the hottest April day just a few weeks later. We've been switching from stews and soups to warm our cockles to BBQs and ice cream in the sunshine.
So whilst I make this on a gorgeous sunny spring day, it's original inspiration actually came a couple of days ago on our day off (Monday - it's the best day to have off work!!) which was so rainy we cast aside all plans and refused to leave the house other than to quickly scoff some AMAZING falafel before returning to the sofa.
Whilst dozing through an Avengers movie in preparation for seeing Infinity War at some point, I started to feel the need for a pudding to help cushion the effects of the rain. A soft, wobbly, steamy, spongy pudding.. steamed? baked? We got some rhubarb in the oddball this week... what I decided was required was a rhubarb pudding with some sort of super custardy batter like filling - does genoise custard exist?
Luckily I forgot about it for a few days and today it suddenly occurred to me that what I wanted already exists. Those quite-good-at-cooking French people came up with it. I can still remember the first time I tried clafoutis in France. I was a child, it was full of cherries and covered in icing sugar and I'm telling you it was the best clafoutis ANYONE ever ate. I'm yet to find one more memorable! So here's a bastardised version, using some lovely seasonal, local rhubarb (whilst it's still aronnd!) and a hint of orange and cardamom.
For the rhubarb:
350g rhubarb cut into 3-4 cm chunks
1 medium orange zested and juiced
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
25g unrefined caster sugar
For the batter:
200ml whole milk
100ml double cream
90g unrefined caster sugar (plus extra to line the dish)
2 tbsp melted butter (plus extra to line the dish)
75g plain flour
A pinch of salt
Heat your oven to 200C
1. Cut the rhubarb in 3-4cm chunks and toss in a bowl with the sugar, cardamom, orange juice and zest.
2. Roast on a baking tray until tender but holding shape (8-10 minutes depending on how thick the stems are) - leave to cool / set aside.
1. Melt the butter in a pan and let it brown slightly. Separately, heat the milk and cream with 1 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of ground cardamom - turn off when it comes to the boil.
2. Whisk the eggs and remaining sugar until frothy. Whisk in the sieved flour and a pinch of salt. Make sure there are no lumps!
3. Slowly stream in the milk / cream mixture, whisking all the time to form a smooth batter - like a pancake mix but slightly thicker. Whisk in the browned butter.
4. Brush all around your baking dish (we used a 20cm square ceramic dish) with melted butter and dust the bottom and sides with caster sugar - this is the key to getting a lovely crust all around the edges. Arrange the rhubarb in the dish and then pour the batter over it - use all the batter the fruit will float.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until nicely browned and risen, and just set in the middle - you may need to turn the oven down to 180C if it's getting very brown. Leave to cool so that you can dust with icing sugar and slice it (it will sink as it cools). Enjoy warm!