Sunday, 25 March 2012

Rhubarb! Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

Clafoutis di Rabarbaro, Fragola e Mirtillo
Rhubarb, Strawberry and Blueberry Clafoutis

Rhubarb- pink, tangy and very, very yummy- and best of all- very much in season right now! To be honest, this was my first time cooking with rhubarb- but I think it won't be the last- especially if I stick to this method... it is so simple and works like a dream!

A lot of people have a problem with rhubarb, but I am guessing, as with most things edible, that the reason they don't like it is because they have only ever had it cooked to death and mashed to a sticky pulp. Well- you probably wouldn't be very nice if somebody did that to you now, would you? ;-)

So- what's the big secret? It's simple- you just need to decide when to make your rhubarb compote the night before... so you get a whole night's sleep into the deal and it is sitting there waiting for you, delicious as can be in the morning...

First things first- get your oven switched on at the highest setting and pre-heat it so you will be ready for action in just a few minutes... because it only takes a few minutes to prepare this!

Simply peel away the skin and the sinews from the rhubarb and rinse briefly, then cut it into bite-sized chunks and put it into and oven-proof dish. Add some berries- I chose to use strawberries this time, but raspberries would also work wonderfully. I added the blueberries too for extra contrast... but as I say- you can use whatever kind of berry you like. Sprinkle with cinnamon and either sugar, if you have no problem with that, or Stevia as I did- I simply wanted to try to make this sugar and fat free and see if it works... and of course it did! But if you want to use sugar- not a problem!

If you are making this for adults only, a shot of Cointreau goes with this very nicely- if not, simply add a little water- half a cupful will do. Stir everything well and place into your hot oven for 20 minutes. After those 20 minutes are over, turn off the oven, turn off the light and go to bed. Seriously! Turn off the heat and let the rhubarb and berries continue to do their thing until they cool down. What happens is, that the natural pectin in the rhubarb, binds all of the delicious juices that it and the berries give off during cooking and what you are left with in the morning is a thick, rich berry and rhubarb sauce. The best thing of all is that you have not had any work at all, have not stirred everything up in a saucepan and caused it to become mashed and ugly- and that you are ready to go with making the clafoutis! This is a good start to the morning- don't you think?

I even cheated a little making the clafoutis of course- and why ever not? For a clafoutis like this one in the image, which serves two, you will need only one egg- isn't that amazing and cool? I love the fact that it is possible to indulge like this and be sensible and healthy at the same time. This is how I made it. I separated the egg and beat the egg whites up till they were nice and fluffy (don't forget that pinch of salt!) and beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of custard powder, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 2 tablespoons of cheese curd or yogurt. I added vanilla and cinnamon and again sweetened with Stevia- otherwise feel free to use sugar. I gently folded the fluffy egg white into the yolk mixture and poured it straight into my oven dish. I added half of the rhubarb and berries, spreading them out a little and dropping them into the fluffy egg mix carefully, so that they do not simply fall straight to the bottom of the dish and disappear!

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, then take it out, add more berries and rhubarb on top and bake for a further 5-6 minutes- and prepare to have a wonderful breakfast! You're going to love it!

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