I’ve made ribbon out of rhubarb! Well, its not often I get to start a post with that sentence. What next? Oh hello, I’ve created shoelaces from tofu?
What brought on this madness? Well, I was inspired by the charming Mr P of delicious,delicious,delicious and his ‘Re-inventing the Lamington’ challenge. Having lived in Melbourne I am well acquainted with these moist little squares that are traditionally dunked in chocolate icing and encrusted with desiccated coconut, but I have never seen so many unique variations as those who joined in Mr P’s challenge. I particularly liked the Cherry Ripe version ( Cherry Ripe’s are an Aussie choc bar – kind of like a dark chocolate bounty that has glace cherries mixed in with the coconut fondant…. and I miss them! ). I was too late to join in the competition but decided to have a crack at pushing the lamington boundaries none the less.
I really wanted these little cakes to have an authentic English slant, hence the rhubarb and custard and when I stumbled on the idea of candied rhubarb on the internet, I knew this would finish the lamingtons of perfectly.
The recipe below only yielded 6 large lamingtons. If you wish to make more you could make them smaller or make double the quantity of sponge etc.
This recipe is still a bit of a work in progress so please bear with me. I am planning to do a more in depth post on making the candied rhubarb bows with lots of pictures so you can learn from my mistakes (not waste the huge amount of rhubarb that I did when it all either stuck to the baking paper or was over cooked and crumbled) and your mind stays intact.
Rhubarb & Custard Lamingtons
Sponge ( Recipe adapted from Dan Lepard )
125g unsalted butter, melted
300g caster sugar
250g sour cream
3 tsp vanilla extract
50ml sunflower oil
5 medium eggs
300g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
Creme Patissiere Filling
125 ml full fat milk
125 ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
20g plain flour, sifted
White Chocolate Ganache
400g white chocolate
400g double cream
Candied Rhubarb Ribbon
400g rhubarb, the deepest in colour you can find!
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp water
Rhubarb Jam to fill
Desiccated Coconut to coat
Grease and line the base and sides of a 34cm X 24cm rectangular tin with non-stick baking paper.
Pre-heat the oven to 170C/150C fan.
Pour the melted butter into a mixing bowl with the sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract and oil, beat for a minute or so until smooth, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well before adding the next.
Sift in the flour and baking powder, and mix well. Pour and spoon the batter into the tin, leveling with the back of a spoon. Place in your pre-heated oven until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean. Cool the cake in the tin, covering the top with clingfilm or foil as it cools, this helps to keep it moist.
While the sponge is cooking you can get on with the Creme Patissiere.
Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a heavy based saucepan. Remove from the heat and set aside. Beat the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla extract until creamy, stir in the sifted flour until smooth. Whisk in your hot milk and cream until smooth. Pour this mixture back into your saucepan and place back on the hob on a low heat, stirring all the while until the custard thickens. Leave custard to cool in a bowl and top with a disc of grease proof paper or some clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming.
For the White Choc Ganache simply heat the cream until close to boiling, take off the heat and stir in the chunks of chocolate. Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted. Leave to cool.
When the sponge is cooled level off the top so that you have a nice flat piece of cake. Trim 5mm off the edges to neaten. Cut the sponge in half so that you have two pieces that are roughly 23cm X 16cm. Spread one half with some rhubarb jam and then with a thick layer of Creme Patisierre. Top with other half of sponge, bottom side up so that you have a nice flat top. Cut into equal sized cubes – my lamington were quite large – 6cm X 6cm.
Place the filled sponge cubes onto a metal rack. Place some baking paper underneath to catch any drips and spoon on the ganache. You can also use a pastry brush to help you coat all the sides. Next, fill a dinner plate with desiccated coconut and place a chocolate soaked lamington onto the plate and toss in the coconut until it is completely coated. Repeat with the remaining cakes.
Now for the Rhubarb Ribbon! This isn’t particularly difficult but it does require patience, time and nimble fingers. I made the bows a day before and kept them in an air tight tin. The ribbon around the lamington seemed to work best when still a little warm so that it was ‘set’ in place.
Pre-heat the oven to 100C/ 80C fan forced.
Wash and dry the rhubarb. Using a peeler or mandolin cut the rhubarb into 1-2mm thick ribbons. Heat the sugar and water in a large saucepan until all the sugar is melted. Turn off the heat and take a few ribbons of rhubarb and soak in the syrup for 30 seconds. remove from the saucepan ( I used tongs ) and try to shake off excess syrup. If your fingers can bear it squeeze the ribbons between thumb and forefinger ( be extremely careful though as the syrup will be really hot at first ). Lay the glossy strips onto a baking sheet lined with good quality siliconised grease proof paper. If you have one do use a silicone mat – I had to throw a whole batch away as it got stuck to some under par paper.
Place the rhubarb laden tray into your pre-heated oven for 40 mins.
While still warm wrap the ribbon around the lamingtons and make little bows to finish off, you can dab a little of the sugar syrup to fix the bows in place. If you feel so inclined, you can also wrap the candied strips around a round object to create spiral shapes.
If you do have a bash at these, please let me know how you get on!
Love Lemony x