Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rhubarb, rhubarb everywhere...OH YUM!!! Manchester or Queen of Puddings with rhubarb!!

Ahhhhh...the rhubarb patch and this is only part of it...so much rhubarb so little time!! I love that it just keeps returning in abundance and expects no effort on your part...good little rhubarb!!
So I availed myself of many stalks and proceeded to wash trim and chop...remember the leaves are toxic and must never be used in cooking, throw them away...begone leaves!!...with my rhubarb I just guesstimate the amount of sugar to begin with...here are about 5 goodly stalks and about 1/2 cup of sugar. I don't add any water to my rhubarb as it is very juicy without. Put the pan on a very low heat and stir occasionally...don't let it catch or burn...keep those eyeballs peeled. For this recipe I allowed the rhubarb to break down completely as I wanted a smooth rhubarb compotey thing. When the rhubarb is cooked allow to cool and add more sugar if you deem it necessary..rhubarb sweetness is a very personal thing!!
Ta Dah!!! The first rhubarb delight of the season...Manchester Pudding or Queen of Puddings...your choice on the name...I prefer Manchester as that is where I hail from. Usually this pudding is made with commercial or homemade jam such as raspberry but why not rhubarb compote I asked myself and here we are - a custardy base, a layering of rhubarb and a cloud of heavenly meringue!!
THE RECIPE:
1 imperial pint of milk which equals 20 fluid ozs US
1/2 oz/ 1/8th stick butter
4oz/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs (I do mine in batches in a coffee grinder which works really well)
4 oz/1/2 cup fine white sugar or brown it doesn't really matter
2 egg yolks and 4 egg whites
4-6 goodly tablespoons of delish rhubarb rhubarbiness

1. Pre heat the oven to 350F and butter a pie dish that's about 8-9" round...or do individual ones...whatever your heart desires, this is not a precision dessert.
2. Put milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, breadcrumbs, half of the sugar and allow to sit for about 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs have swelled.
3. Beat the egg yolks and add them to the cooled breadcrumb mixture...if the mix is still hot the yolks will scramble!
4. Now pour the breadcrumb 'custard' into the pie dish and cook for about 30 minutes until the custard is set...I like it when the centre is still a bit wobbly not set hard throughout...makes the finished pud lighter and smoother...so wiggle as you go and when the outside is set and the middle is still a bit wobbly remove from the oven.
5. When it is somewhat cooled spread the rhubarb gently over the custard.
6. Now whip the egg whites to stiff and gradually add in the rest of the sugar beating in between additions...when nice and glossy spoon over the rhubarb and make pretty.
7. Return to the oven and bake 'til browned and beauteous as above.
8. I prefer this dish cool when it seems to have more flavour than straight out of the oven...the custardy part is definitely better cool or cold but not refridgetarted (incorrect spelling but I like it!!)
And here for you, my dear Readers is a spring bouquet from our Maine garden....the weather has been fantastic lately although it is grey and mizzlin' today...the garden abounds and all the flowers are early!!
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