Native from China rhubarb is mostly grown in the U.S, from Maine to Oregon. Alaskans are one of the biggest rhubarb lovers across the world due to its geographical situation. The climate and the sun exposition are the keys factor to see rhubarb growing everywhere there. Rhubarb is assimilated to super food. Rhubarb is a source of antioxidants, calcium (to maintain strong bones), vitamin K and fibre which help your heart, nerves and muscles to function properly. I have grown up with rhubarb when I was a child and as an adult I am still loving rhubarb. A couple of years ago, Jayne and I moved to a place with a garden in South West London. Every year, in the middle of the garden, the rhubarb sticks grow from March to June. During this time, my imagination is endless, tart, crumble, jam, Strudel,….. Today, to start the week, I have decided to bake Strudel. Strudel is a classic dessert from Austria which became popular in the 18th century. I like baking Strudel because the recipe doesn’t need a lot ingredients, effort and even time. The filo pastry flakes, it’s crunchy and soft at the same time with the baked rhubarb running through the silicon of filo. What else do you need? Hmmmm… And what about a white chocolate sauce to make it even more appetising. Dipping each fork of Strudel in the white chocolate sauce will bring you to heaven. A rich and creamy sauce which coats the pastry and infuse your mouth of delicateness. Below the set up.
INGREDIENTS: 1 kg of homegrown rhubarb; 12 filo pastry sheets; 500 g brown sugar; 1 tsp grounded ginger; 1 tsp mixed spice; 1 tsp vanilla extract, grounded almond; 125 g melted butter; icing sugar; 200 g of white chocolate; 2 tablespoons of double cream.
METHOD: Turn the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Wash the rhubarb sticks. Chopped the rhubarb heavenly, it will help to cook it faster and all at the same time. Put the rhubarb in a roasting tray and add the brown sugar, mixed spices, grounded ginger and vanilla extract. Stir and leave it on the side for 10 minutes. It will release the natural juice of the rhubarb.
Bake the rhubarb for 10-15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the rhubarb inside for 5 more minutes. The rhubarb should soak in the syrup on the bottom of the tray. Drain the rhubarb into a colander for 3 hours. What you are looking for at this stage is to make sure that the rhubarb will contain the minimum of syrup, otherwise it will make the Strudel soggy. Keep the syrup separate.
Turn the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. On a chopping board, lay down the first sheet of filo pastry, with a brush spread some melted butter and sprinkle some grounded almonds. I am adding grounded almonds at this stage to make it more exciting. Repeat four times the same operation. Then, spread a decent amount of rhubarb and start rolling the filo pastry, make sure to roll it tight as it will help to keep the shape while baking. Brush more butter on top of it and with a sharp knife pre-cut only the top of each Strudel in equal portions.
Put the Strudel on a non-stick baking tray or silicon paper. Keep the seam on the bottom of the tray. It will prevent the Strudel from opening while baking. Bake The Strudel for 15 minutes. Dust some icing sugar on top of each one.
In a metal bowl, melt the white chocolate and double cream and steam it on top of a Bain-Marie (or in a plastic container and microwave it for a few seconds). Stir it with a plastic spatula until well combined. Cut one portion of Strudel and add one or two spoons of white chocolate sauce in a plate. Enjoy!!