Rhubarb sponge, almond cream and lemon crème fraîche

Rhubarb sponge, almond cream and lemon crème fraîche

By
From
Everyday Seafood
Serves
8

More like a French financier or madeleine than a traditional sponge, this is a versatile recipe that can take all manner of spices and pretty much any fruit. Rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits to bake and is delicious with the almond cream and sponge. All that richness and nuttiness is brought back to earth with the zingy crème fraîche. I like to serve these puddings warm from the oven, but you can let them cool down before eating if you prefer.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the sponge

Quantity Ingredient
2 vanilla pods, split lengthways
225g unsalted butter
225g egg whites, (5–6 large)
225g caster sugar
90g ground almonds
90g plain flour
8 pieces rhubarb, about 10 cm long

For the almond cream

Quantity Ingredient
90g ground almonds
65g caster sugar
300ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

For the baked rhubarb

Quantity Ingredient
1kg rhubarb, cut into 8–10 cm pieces
250g caster sugar
1 orange, zested and juiced
100ml water

For the lemon crème fraîche

Quantity Ingredient
600ml full-fat creme fraiche
100g icing sugar
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Line 8 individual moulds, about 8 x 4 cm, with baking parchment.
  2. To make the sponge, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pods and set aside. Put the pods into a saucepan with the butter and place over a medium heat. When the butter has melted and starts to brown, remove from the heat and allow to cool, then discard the vanilla pods.
  3. Meanwhile, make the almond cream. Put the ground almonds, sugar and milk into a heavy-based pan with the vanilla. Place over a medium heat and cook, stirring often, until thickened; this will take about 15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, bake the rhubarb. Put the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest and juice, and the water into a deep roasting tray. Cook in the oven until the rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the liquid.
  5. When the almond cream is ready, remove from the heat, discard the vanilla pod and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming.
  6. To make the sponge, whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a large bowl for 1 minute. Add the ground almonds, flour and vanilla seeds and mix well. Finally, whisk in the brown butter, ensuring it is all incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared moulds. Lay the 8 rhubarb pieces on top of the mixture and bake for 12–14 minutes.
  7. For the lemon crème fraîche, whisk the crème fraîche, icing sugar, lemon zest and juice together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  8. To check if the sponges are cooked, insert a small knife into the centre of one; if it comes out clean, it is ready. Turn out the sponges and place in shallow bowls. Serve warm with the baked rhubarb, almond cream and lemon crème fraîche.
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