Rhubarb recipes are a real summer favourite. The natural association, of course, is with crumble, paired with lashing of vanilla custard, cream or ice-cream. It's a dessert that rose to popularity in the Victorian era. From the 17th-century onwards, rhubarb was cultivated and cross-bred in Western Europe. This lead to the pink stalk variety we are familiar with today. Rhubarb became so popular by the end of the 19th century, there was even a special rhubarb train, bringing forced rhubarb from Yorkshire to Covent Garden Market for eager London buyers.
Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire is the home of the national rhubarb collection. An amazing 130 varieties grow here. We’ve dug out a few of our favourite National Trust recipes from the new Comfort Food Cookbook and Book of Scones. Don't miss all our recipes on our dedicated hub page.
Grow your own rhubarb
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Easy to grow, rhubarb is also a popular choice in kitchen gardens, providing a glut of produce for minimal effort. The bright pink stems also add welcome colour throughout the colour months. However,remember to stop pulling stalks by late July to ensure a good crop the following year. Get more practical tips in our guides to planning a kitchen garden and growing your own.
1. Rhubarb Cinnamon Bake
Makes 12 portions (9 inch baking tin)
250g light brown sugar
250g plain flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
250g soured cream
1tsp baking powder
200g fresh rhubarb, cut into 2cm batons
1. Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon together and rub in the butter until you have a sandy texture – you can speed this step up by using a food processor if you have one available.
2. Spread half the mixture into the bottom of the lined baking tin, pressing down slightly.
3. Whisk together the sour cream, baking powder and egg.
4. Add this to the remaining flour mix, and stir together until just combined but with a few lumps remaining.
5. Pour this mixture over the base in the tin and spread evenly.
6. Scatter the fruit over the surface and place in the oven at 160°C for around 30-35 minutes or until golden.
2. Rhubarb and Stem Ginger Scones
Makes 10 large scones
750g self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
185g caster sugar
185g butter, cubed
200g rhubarb, peeled diced
1 piece of stem ginger in syrup cut into very small dices
300 ml milk
Recipe from the National Trust Book of Scones
Featuring 50 sensational scone recipes from blogger Sarah Clelland along with crumbs of National Trust history. The book is available to buy from the National Trust Shop
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the rhubarb and ginger, then about two-thirds of the milk and mix until you have a soft, slightly wet dough, adding a little more milk if need - it’s important not to overmix.
3. Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 3 – 4cm thick. Stamp out using an 8am round cutter and place on the baking sheet.
4. Brush the top of the scones lightly with milk.
5. Put the scones into the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden.
3. Apple and Rhubarb Crumble
Prep 20 minutes
Cooking time 25 to 30 minutes
375g/13oz cooking apples, peeled, quartered, cored, diced.
250g/9oz trimmed rhubarb cut into 2cm/ 3⁄4 inch slices (the Victoria variety is great for a crumble)
25g/1oz caster sugar
15g/ 1⁄2 oz plain flour
For the topping
125g/41/2 oz plain flour
25g/1oz caster sugar
80g/2 3⁄4 oz butter or soft margarine diced
1 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
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1. Preheat the oven to 180°C /350F/gas mark 4. Add the apples and rhubarb to the base of a 1.2ltr/2pt ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the sugar and flour and mix together.
2. To make the topping, add the flour, oats, sugar and butter or margarine to a bowl with the ginger. Rub the fat into the flour with fingertips or an electric mixer until it resembles fine crumbs.
3. Spoon the crumble over the fruit in an even layer then sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is golden. Spoon into bowls and serve with hot custard.
4. Cook’s Tip – The crumble topping freezes well in a container, and can be used straight from the freezer. There’s no need to defrost first – just add an extra 5 – 10 mins to the cooking time.
4. Rhubarb Shortbread and Ginger Cream
Prep 30 minutes
Cooking time 26 to 34 minutes
100g/31⁄2oz plain flour
50g/13⁄4oz caster sugar
70ml/21⁄2 fl oz red wine
70ml/21⁄2 fl oz water
70g/21⁄2oz caster sugar
3⁄4 tsp ground ginger
340g/12oz rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 4cm/11⁄2inch lengths
For the topping
300ml/10fl oz double cream
150g/51⁄2oz natural yogurt
Recipe from the National Trust's Comfort Food cookbook
Inspired by the recipes from their cafés, this book make the best of our delicious British seasonal produce with over 100 recipes for casseroles, soups, stews, pies and hot puddings. The book is available to buy from the National Trust Shop
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Add the flour, cornflour, sugar and butter to a bowl and rub in with fingertips or a mixer until fine crumbs. Continue to mix and squeeze the crumbs together to make a ball then lightly knead.
2. Roll out thinly. Try placing two boards either side of the rolling pin to ensure an even thickness. Trim to a rectangle 30 x 10cm/12 x 4 inch. Cut into six rectangles, each 7.5 x 5cm/3 x 2 inch.
3. Transfer to a baking sheet, prick the biscuits with a fork and bake for 20–25 minutes until straw coloured and firm. Neaten the edges with a serrated knife if needed, then leave to cool.
4. To make the compote, add the red wine, water, sugar and ginger to a small frying pan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rhubarb, cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and leave to cool and continue cooking in the liquid until just softened but holding their shape.
5. Place a sieve over a bowl, tip the rhubarb mix into the sieve then pour the juices from the bowl back into the frying pan and reduce until thickened and syrupy and you have about six tablespoons.