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The Romance of Rhubarb

The Romance of Rhubarb

Rhubarb and Ginger Mousse

Rhubarb, the glamorous cousin of the dock and buckwheat family, is one of those wonderful productive plants which seem to thrive on complete neglect. It needs little attention, heat, or watering, no pruning other than ‘pulling’ and its enormous leaves, while toxic if eaten, and are an effective weed suppressant. I have ‘Timperley Early’, one of the most popular varieties, which I planted to replace ‘Victoria’ and ‘Albert’. They had been planted so cosily together I’m afraid they spent every summer making only spectacular flowers together, thrown high on inedible stalks, rather than producing actual rhubarb. ‘Champagne’ is the sweetest, and really doesn’t need any sugar adding to it.

If you don’t have rampant rhubarb growing in your garden, there is still time to buy the wonderful ruby stalks in the farmers’ markets and supermarkets, and although it lacks now the neon pink of the early forced rhubarb, it still makes a vibrant and delicious pudding.

I like to combine it with some freshly grated ginger for extra depth and heat, and this recipe, while having several elements, is straightforward and delicious. Even those who aren’t wild about rhubarb seem to love it for its zingy flavour and smooth texture.

We photographed next door, with kind permission of my neighbour, and I’d like to introduce their gorgeous rabbit, Fizzbang.




Fresh rhubarb

300ml Double cream

150ml greek yoghurt

2 leaves of gelatine

Ginger cake and/or crushed ginger biscuits



Slice several sticks of rhubarb into chunks and arrange in an oven proof dish in a single layer, sprinkle with a little water and roast gently in a medium oven until just soft.

Roasting will intensify both the colour and the flavour.

While the fruit is cooling, dissolve 2 leaves of gelatine in cold water then stir into the still warm fruit.

Whip the cream until it starts to balloon and hold its shape, then gently fold in the greek yoghurt, the juice of half a lemon and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar.

Fold the cream and cooled fruit together, adding more sugar if necessary.

Slice the cake thinly and cut circles to line ring moulds, using the ring as a cutter, or line ramekins, or glasses with crushed biscuits and divide the rhubarb cream between them. Sprinkle more crushed biscuits over the tops and leave to set for at least 2 hours.

Serve with fresh strawberries and a strawberry coulis.

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