Let’s play a game called “If you had been in my house for dinner last Saturday.”
I’ll tell you about the dinner and you have to guess what made it particularly noteworthy, ok?
Right, here goes.
If you had been in my house for dinner last Saturday:
- You would have had homemade gnocchi with a garlic cream and sage sauce, washed down with some lovely wines.
- To go along with that, you would have had some swiss chard stir-fried with yet more garlic.
- You would have also savoured a few pieces of melt-in-the-mouth roasted courgette sprinkled with lemon juice and salt.
- For afters, you would have had a slice (or maybe two) of this rhubarb torte, served with a goodly blob of crème fraîche.
- Later, and after yet more wine, you would have munched on some cheese ‘n’ crackers, with your choice of onion relish or green tomato mustard pickle on top.
- Eventually, you would have called a taxi, poured yourself into it and left.
By which time you would have forgotten all about the dinner game, but possibly realised in a haze the next morning that the noteworthy feature of the evening was that all of the vegetables had been variously dug, pulled, picked and generally harvested from Spud’s own back garden. There were the Duke of York potatoes that had bucked the otherwise low-yielding spud trend. The chard that got a head start before the slugs discovered its whereabouts. Courgettes from one of the few squash plants to get past the germination stage. The most fragrant garlic from a lone garlic bulb, the only one of many planted that grew. An almost lemony sage from the herb pots out on the deck. Rhubarb which had decided to engage in a little end-of-season spurt of growth. Red winter onions, good for relish and more. And even an appearance from last year’s crop of green tomatoes, in what is now a well matured pickle. Yes, a bounteous spread indeed and probably worth getting somewhat pickled yourself for.
Rhubarb Cinnamon Torte / Cake / Whatever
If you were to leaf through the contents of my cookbook stand, chances are you would find this recipe for rhubarb cinnamon torte on a little piece of card, handwritten by my mother. Mum got the recipe from Big Sis #1 and I have no idea where she got it from. Resident Sis, meanwhile, is in the habit of making it whenever there is rhubarb about and it’s always a good day when she does.
Now, as to the name, a torte is not actually a high-falutin’ name for a tart but, rather, a cake of central European origin involving many eggs and usually ground nuts. So I guess that this is indeed a sort of a torte. Or a cake. Or just something nice to have with a cup of tea. Whatever.
A note on the mixing method: The original instructions simply say to mix all of the ingredients (except the rhubarb) together, ’til it forms a ball. They don’t elaborate on any particular method of mixing. Sis says she has used the creaming method, creaming the butter and sugar, then adding the wet and dry ingredients, though last time she says that she just melted the butter, added wet ingredients to dry and the results were entirely lovely. That’s the method I’ve tried myself and included here.
- 170g butter
- 170g ground almonds
- 170g caster sugar
- 170g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 390g rhubarb, cut into small chunks
- icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
You’ll also need:
- 20cm round, loose-bottomed tin – mine is about 3cm deep. The tin should be greased and the base lined with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Melt the butter over a gentle heat
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg and egg yolk.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground almonds and sugar. Add a pinch of salt if the butter you’re using is unsalted.
- Pour in the melted butter and mix to combine, then pour in the beaten egg and mix together to form a ball.
- Using half of this mixture, cover the base of the tin and spread the mixture just slightly up the sides. Press down with a spoon, making a smooth layer, with no gaps.
- Now pile the rhubarb on top, just away from the edge of the tin (and, yes, it will look like there is rather a lot of rhubarb).
- Spread the rest of the cake mixture on top of the rhubarb – don’t worry if there are some lumps poking through the top.
- Bake for around 1 hour, until well browned. Cool for at least 10 minutes in the tin, then carefully slide onto a plate and (if you like) dust with icing sugar
- This is a very moist cake, lovely sliced and served with some yoghurt or a big blob of crème fraîche.
- The cake is very moist and rhubarby – if you prefer a little more cake and a little less rhubarb, you can go ahead and reduce the amount of rhubarb used by about a third or so.
- I rather fancy trying this with ground hazelnuts in place of the ground almonds.
- Technically, this constitutes dessert for about 8 people. That assumes that you’re happy to share it with 7 other people though.