To be tart or not to be tart… that is the question
Rhubarb, you either love it or you hate it. Bewilderingly identified as a vegetable, it is famously used in desserts, and often referred to as the pie plant. Notorious for its tarty flavour, rhubarb naturally prefers a cooler climate, with plenty of water and shade to successfully grow. The peak season in the UK for Rhubarb is late March to early June, however, an out-of-season variety, forced Rhubarb, is increasing in popularity as it grows during the winter months from late December to early March – thriving in a warm dark area, it’s forced to grow looking for the never appearing sunlight.
Rhubarb flavour characteristics are usually described as being between a green apple and fresh celery, however, depending on whereabouts it is grown, the overall profile of the rhubarb may differ – however, forced rhubarb has a slightly sweeter, softer flavour which is impeccable in pies whereas the traditionally grown rhubarb has a more intense tart flavour perfect for more savoury dishes like salsa relish as well as sweet pies.
Full of essential nutrients, rhubarb’s sourness comes from a high level of malic and oxalic acid making it a difficult vegetable to eat raw – due to rhubarb’s low sugar content it is regularly cooked with sugar or sweet fruits, like strawberries, to balance out the tarty profile to make it more palatable.
Composed of 95% water, rhubarb has a misconception to be lacking in flavour. Yet, the market has disagreed as it uses this tarty vegetable to hold its own in a range of powerful flavour concepts – from balancing out the earthy bitter notes in a beetroot and rhubarb ketchup to pickled rhubarb cutting through the naturally rich, smokey nature of meat. Alternatively, Pastry Chefs take on new ways of cooking rhubarb from a deconstructed crumble to rhubarb cooked 4 ways in a sorbet, compote, powder, and broth – really showcasing rhubarb at its best. In the drinks industry, Warners, successfully paired rhubarb gin with ginger beer – time to step up your rhubarb game.
No matter the season, Winter or Spring, House of flavours has a Rhubarb flavour available all year round. For our concepts we picked out our two favourite fresh Rhubarb flavours; Rhubarb 085/22749 providing a sweet red cooked fruity note and Rhubarb 085/22908 a more green, lighter fruity flavour.
Introducing this crumble-inspired cake, containing layers of Rhubarb 085/22749 and Tonka 085/23370 flavoured sponge paired with layers of Blood Orange 085/22280 flavoured buttercream – creating a fully fruity sensational hit whilst still providing an indulgent depth of creaminess. To add a bit of texture a salty Hazelnut 085/21584 flavoured crumble is added to each layer as well as the exterior of the cake equating to a fruit and nut delight. The whole thing is topped with Rhubarb 085/22749 flavoured jelly to really pack a punch!
Taking full advantage of the great Rhubarb and Custard pairing, these Champagne 085/22472 flavoured custard filling buns compliment the Rhubarb 085/22908 flavoured dough to make a fruity creamy sensation that wants you to keep going back for more. The two flavours together create a burst of indulgent fruitiness perfect for an afternoon treat.