Versatile rhubarb puts some tang in your life
Rhubarb is one of those wonderful crops that keep producing for years after planting.
It's a very hardy plant, but it comes under the not-so-charming category of "gross feeder” which, essentially, means it needs a lot of nutrients to flourish.
If you have a sunny, well-drained spot in the garden, plonk in a rhubarb crown after digging in plenty of rotted cow manure or other organic fertiliser. It will reward you with plenty of bright crimson stalks that are delicious poached or baked.
If you have a taste for the tangy results, you can present rhubarb in many ways. I serve it on muesli for breakfast, alongside roasted or pan-fried duck, or as a dessert with or without other fruit.
This week's recipe has rhubarb and apple (a winning combination) baked into a meringue-topped pie. I don't like to add too much sugar as I love the tart flavour, and the meringue adds sweetness also.
RHUBARB MERINGUE PIE
180g plain biscuits, crushed; 90g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing; 1/2 cup sugar; 3 large free-range eggs, whites and yolks separated; 2 tbsp plain flour; pinch of salt; 1 cup pure cream; 3 cups rhubarb stalks, chopped; 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks; 1/2 cup caster sugar
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 23cm pie or flan dish. Combine crushed biscuits and melted butter and press into pie dish.
Using an electric beater, beat together sugar, egg yolks, flour, salt and cream. Place rhubarb and apple pieces in pie dish and pour egg mixture over. Bake at 180C for 55-60 minutes or until set.
Wash and dry beaters thoroughly and beat egg whites until stiff, then gradually beat in caster sugar. Pile on top of pie. Reduce oven temperature to 160C and bake pie until meringue is golden, about 15 minutes.
Serve with ice cream.