Rhubarb Danishes

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This is a lovely way to cook rhubarb, intensifying its flavour and colour. In-season plums are the other fruit we regularly cook in this way; the sugar can be increased or decreased depending on the ripeness of the fruit and sweetness desired. The syrup that the fruit creates during cooking is used to cover the fruit when storing. The syrup can be used to make jelly, or you can simply serve the fruit and syrup with ice cream for a quick dessert. You will need to prepare the rhubarb and crème pâtissière a day in advance.

Ingredients

Roasted Rhubarb

  • 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) rhubarb, trimmed, rinsed and cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) pieces
  • 850 g (1 lb 14 oz) vanilla sugar (see note)

Method

To make the roasted rhubarb, preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Place the rhubarb in two baking trays so that it fits snugly and sprinkle over the vanilla sugar. Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 12–15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes, until the rhubarb pieces are just soft but still holding their shape. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and store in the syrup in an airtight container. Refrigerate until needed.

Take the rested dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a rectangle, about 40 x 85 cm (16 x 33½ inches) and about 5 mm (¼ inch) thick. Rolling the dough may take quite a lot of energy as it may keep springing back to its original size. If this happens, rest the dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes then resume rolling. This resting process may need to be done a number of times. If the dough is becoming too large for the refrigerator simply fold it over and place on a tray before placing it in.

Cut the dough into thirty-six 9 cm ( inch) squares. Place the squares on trays lined with baking paper and place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Remove the squares from the refrigerator and working with one square at a time, fold each corner to meet in the centre pressing down firmly to create a smaller square. Arrange the Danishes back on the lined trays at well-spaced intervals. Place teaspoons of crème pâtissière in the centre of each Danish and top with about 5 pieces of rhubarb.

Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/Gas 8). Cover the Danishes loosely with a damp tea towel (dish towel). Set aside in a warm room (about 25°C–27°C/77°F–81°F) for 1½–2 hours, or until almost doubled in size. Spray the tea towel with water occasionally if it becomes dry.

Remove the tea towel, brush the top of each Danish lightly with egg wash and place in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a deep golden colour. Cool slightly on trays before dusting with icing sugar and serving.