Monday, 5 March 2012

Roasted Rhubarb Cake with Candied Pistachios

I can't get enough of candied pistachios at the moment and think they go really well with this zesty and seasonal rhubarb cake. I considered reducing the syrup I candied my nuts in* and if I was just making them to eat on my own, I would definitely reduce the quantity of sugar and water by a third. However I think the extra syrup works much better with a cake as you can spoon it over the top!

* Yes I am aware of the double entendre!

Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 50 Mins (Plus 25 mins to roast your rhubarb and 10 minutes to candy your nuts*)
300g Rhubarb (Washed and trimmed)
25g Light Muscovado Sugar

200g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
175g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 Medium Eggs
100g Ground Almonds
Zest of 1 Medium Orange
150g Self Raising Flour

200g Pistachios (Roughly bashed up)
150g Golden Caster Sugar
150ml Cold Water

There's a few components to this recipe but it's still very easy! Start by preheating the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Chop the rhubarb into 3cm pieces and mix them around in a bowl with the 25g of sugar. When they are nicely coated place the rhubarb on a shallow tray lined with baking or greaseproof paper, spaced evenly apart and sprinkle over any sugar that is left in the bottom of the bowl. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes, by which time the rhubarb will be soft, yielding and starting to release it's juices. Remove from the oven, tip the rhubarb and any juice into a fresh bowl and set aside to cool for about 30 - 45 minutes.

To make the cake itself preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease/line the base of a 20cm loose bottomed tin. Cream together the butter and muscovado sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the ground almonds and orange zest, then sift in the flour and do the same. Fold through the cooled rhubarb and it's juice as carefully but as thoroughly as you can. It will start to break up quite significantly, but that's absolutely fine (In fact you want that to happen). Spoon into your prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed from the centre. When you're happy it's cooked, remove and leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes. By that time you should be able to easily release it from the tin.

Place the warm cake on a wire rack with a plate underneath (This will become clear later). Place the pistachios in a saucepan with the caster sugar and water, then fire up the heat underneath as high as it will go. Bring it up to the boil, then let it bubble away angrily, stirring occasionally until the syrup has thickened and become golden. This should take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pan used. When it's ready remove it from the heat, then spoon the pistachios and syrup evenly over the top of your cake and leave to cool. After about half an hour of cooling you'll find that some of the syrup may have run off of the cake onto the plate, so if that's the case you can spoon it back over the top. Waste not want not!

FINAL NOTE - This cake is even better the day after you make it!!!

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