Rhubarb Variation

The rhubarb season is here! When the rhubarb start to pop out of the soil and my mother makes the first rhubarb pie of the year, then it’s spring for real! I’m jealous of all of those who have a garden and can pick their own rhubarbs whenever the rhubarb-pie-urge hits. I buy my rhubarbs at Hötorget, the biggest fruit and vegetable market in Stockholm, or steal some from my family’s garden.

The recipe that I’m sharing today includes multiple variations of rhubarb; more specificly in five different forms. I cooked this dessert for the party a few weeks ago and I will definitely do it again, because it was Delicious with a capital D!

I love working with one foodstuff at the time trying to make the most of it, because it’s not until then you understand how many possible variations there are. This recipe calls for; syrup poached rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet, rhubarb syrup, rhubarb meringue and rhubarb sponge cake. As icing on the cake I also made a vanilla sour cream pannacotta and Swedish dream cookies with cardamom. Vanilla and cardamom works so well with rhubarbs, they are like best friends =)

Dream cookies.

I made some of the components without a recipe, but I will do the best I can to retell how I did. The sorbet-pro, who also happens to be my boyfriend, helped me out with the recipe. He never uses a recipe when making a sorbet. Instead everything is about the tasting and the feeling to get the right sweetness, fruitiness and that perfectly viscous sorbet base. The secret is to aim for about 30 % sugar content. But enough about that, I will tell you all about how to make a sorbet without a recipe another time. Instead I share a slightly remade recipe from Ulrika who runs the inspiring blog Krii´s Kitchens.

Expect a couple of hours work for this recipe. Luckily for me time just flies by when I’m in the kitchen and I’m enjoying every single minute. The best part is that you can prepare everything in advance so there is just the minimal labor of plating when the guests have arrived. There will be some leftovers since you can’t cook meringues and dreams in smaller batches than this. But hey… look at it from the bright side – you will have dessert for days =P The leftover meringues can be eaten with berries and vanilla ice cream, the dream cookies are well suited for a cup of coffee, the syrup can easily be transformed into a refreshing beverage and the pannacotta can be accompanied by a fruit compote.

Rhubarb sponge cake.

Rhubarb Variation

After tasting this dish you will have a new approach to rhubarbs – it’s a grand rhubarb experience!


Rhubarb Sorbet – 20 Scoops
2 sheets of gelatin
600 g rhubarb
750 g water
400 g simple syrup (200 g caster sugar + 200 g boiling water from the rhubarbs)
Lemon juice
(Red food coloring)

Rhubarb Meringue
250 g rhubarb purée (400 g rhubarb + 50 g water)
20 + 300 g caster sugar
22 g albumin (can be bought here or here)
(Red food coloring)

Sour Cream Pannacotta – 15 Small (á 25 g) or 4 Big (á 100 g)
1/2 vanilla bean
165 g cream (40 % fat)
165 g sour cream
2 sheets of gelatin
50 g caster sugar

Syrup Poached Rhubarb
250 g rhubarb
500 g simple syrup (250 g water + 250 g caster sugar or the leftover syrup from the sorbet)

Rhubarb Syrup
150 g caster sugar
250 g rhubarbs
100 g water

Rhubarb Sponge Cake
100 g rhubarb
(30 g water, please see instructions)
25 g butter
1 egg (L, 63-73 g)
90 g caster sugar (1dl)
90 g plain flour (1 ½ dl)
4 ml baking powder
(Red food coloring)

Plain flour

Swedish Dream cookies – 25 cookies
50 g butter
130 g caster sugar (1 ½ dl)
1 ml vanilla powder (ground vanilla bean) or 1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cardamom seeds
45 g natural oil (½ dl)
120 g plain flour (2 dl)
½ tsp ammonium carbonate1

To serve:

Lemon balm

Oven: 75 ˚C (meringues), 125 ˚C (poached rhubarbs) and 150 ˚C (dream cookies)

Microwave: 650-750 W

How to do:

Sorbet: Rinse the rhubarb and cut it into 3 cm chunks. In the beginning of the season when the rhubarb is neat there is no need to peel them, in fact leaving the skin on will just contribute to a nice color since most of the red tones come from the peel. Boil the rhubarb in 750 g of water until tender. Strain off the water, but save it for later. Mix the rhubarb in a food processor until you have a smooth purée.

Soak the gelatin in cold water. Make a syrup by boiling 200 g sugar and 200 g of the saved rhubarb fwater from before until the sugar is dissolved. Mix the syrup with the rhubarb purée until lump free. Add lemon juice to taste. Heat the mixture to about 50 ˚C, add the gelatin and stir till the gelatin is dissolved. Let the sorbet base cool down for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight, so the gelatin get a chance to set. Churn the sorbet in an ice cream maker for about 20 minutes or until you have a creamy sorbet. Transfer to a container and store in the freezer. A tip is to place the container in the freezer in advance, by doing this you will prevent the sorbet from melting while transferring it from the machine. If you haven’t got an ice cream maker you can simply put the sorbet base in a bowl, place it in the freezer and stir every 30 minutes.

Meringue: Rinse and cut the rhubarb into 2 cm pieces. Leave the skin on if the rhubarb is neat. Boil the rhubarb for about 10 minutes or until tender. Mix the rhubarb in a food processor. Pass the purée through a sieve to get rid of any lumps. Use a spoon or spatula and push through as much pulp as possible. Use 230 g of the purée and add 20 g sugar. Gently heat the mixture to dissolve the sugar. Let the purée cool down before whisking it together with the albumin in a stand mixer. When the albumin is dissolved and is evenly distributed in the purée it’s time to add the sugar, little by little, under constant whisking. Mix for another 5 minutes or until you end up with a fluffy, airy meringue. If you want the meringue to be more reddish add some food coloring towards the end of the whipping. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag with your choice of nozzle and pipe out small meringues on a tray covered with parchment paper. You can also spoon it out if you haven’t got a piping bag at hand. Let the meringues dry in a 75 ˚C oven for 12-24 hours depending on size.

Pannacotta: Soak the gelatin in cold water. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Bring cream, sugar and vanilla to a boil, making sure all the sugar is dissolved. Take the cream off the heat, squeeze out the excess water from the gelatin and add it to the warm mixture. Let the gelatin dissolve. Lastly combine the cream mixture with the sour cream and stir. The reason for why the sour cream is added towards the end is because it’s non boilable. Pour the pannacotta into bowls, glasses or silicone molds and let them set in the fridge or freezer for at least 4 hours.

Syrup Poached rhubarbs: Bring equal parts of sugar and water to a boil and let it simmer until the all sugar is dissolved or use the leftover syrup from the sorbet. Rinse and slice the rhubarb into 3 cm pieces, cut at an angle. Leave the skin on if the rhubarb is neat. Put the slices in an ovenproof dish and cover with the syrup. Bake in a 125 ˚C oven for 30 minutes or until al dente. Let the rhubarbs cool down in the fridge.

Rhubarb syrup: Rinse and cut the rhubarb into 2 cm pieces. Leave the skin on if the rhubarb is neat. Boil the rhubarb in 100 g water for about 10 minutes or until tender and mushy. Pass through a sieve and push through as much liquid and pulp as possible. Pour the purée into a sauce pan and put it back on the hob. Add sugar to taste and let the syrup boil until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge. Since it contains a lot of sugar it will last for several weeks.

Sponge Cake: Juice the rhubarbs. If you have a juicer at hand it’s perfect, but if you, just like me, doesn´t have a juicer you can boil the rhubarb in 30 g water until tender and mushy and strain it through a sieve. Don´t push the rhubarb too hard because in this case you only want the juices.

Butter and flour 4 ramekins (or other molds that are microwave prof). Melt 50 g butter on low heat. Add the rhubarb juice and let it cool. Whip egg and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Combine the dry ingredients and sieve it into the egg mix. Add the liquid and stir. Fill the ramekins about half way up with batter and cover with clean film. Make a small hole in the clean film allowing the excess steam to sip out. Cook the sponges one at the time in a 650-750 W microwave for about 1-1½ minutes. You might need to adjust the cooking time since different brands have their own range of power; and you may burn the first one or two cakes before you know your microwave.

Swedish Dream Cookies: crush the cardamom in a pestel of mortar or in a spice grinder. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and cardammom. Add the oil, little by little, while stirring. Combine flour and ammonium carbonate and add that to the mixture. Work everything into a dough. Make about 25 balls and place them on a tray with parchment paper. Bake in the middle of a 150 ˚C oven for about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool down on the tray.

To serve: If you stored the pannacotta in the freezer take it out about 30 minutes before serving. Remove the pannacotta from the molds while still frozen. Let the sorbet thaw in the fridge for about 20 minutes to get that perfect scooping texture. Crush some dreams (muhaha!) and put a small pile on each plate. Tear the sponge cake apart and place a line of sponge wads on the plate. Place the poached rhubarb on top of the sponge cake, drizzle over some syrup and garnish with a few sprigs of lemon balm. Scatter 3-4 small meringues on each plate. Fill a jug with hot water and dip a spoon or ice cream scoop in the water. Wipe of the water and use the hot spoon to form a quenelle or sphere. Place the sorbet on top of the crushed dreams and serve.

1 Hjorthornssalt




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