Rhubarb Melting Moments for My Valentine
I cannot believe that its the end of January, the year is off to a flying start. It’s already that time of the year to get romantic and treat the ones we love.
Celebrating Valentines day has become a bit of a cliche over the years, especially with the retailers who completely miss the point and try to milk as much cash as they can from February 14th. I’m actually very pleased that Mr.P does not jump on the band wagon and pay extortionate prices for flowers, he does show his appreciation in his own little ways and I love him for that.
Last week Mr.P brought me a lovely gift of some new season forced rhubarb wrapped in pretty pink tissue paper.
I was overwhelmed with this lovely gift so I felt the need to cook something that we both would enjoy. This heavenly scented rhubarb and vanilla jam made its appearance. I did not like rhubarb as I used to associate it with a browny colour and an earthy taste but this was the outdoor rhubarb. However over the past 5 or 6 years I have started to like forced rhubarb. I must say I like it a lot now, perhaps this means that I have finally settled and became accustomed to the British traditions.
Rhubarb does not contain natural pectin so I had to use pectin rich jam sugar. I’m not generally very keen on using jam sugar but this recipe really needs it if you are expecting your jam to set. Quantity wise, I have used half jam sugar and half caster sugar. I find jam sugar set’s too rubbery for my liking. Another secret to the success of this bright pink jam is the speed that it must be cooked. The longer the jam stews and boils the earthier the taste and browner the colour, cook it quick, be prepared and have all your tools and equipment ready before you start. I cooked a second batch today and it took me 30 minutes from the moment I took the rhubarb out of the fridge until I turned the kitchen light off.This means my jam was cooked, bottled, sealed and the jam pan washed and back in the cupboard. I call that super duper fast jam making, o.k I only made 600g of jam, two small jars but it’s still quick!
I would not recommend to cook this jam in large batches, it will destroy the colour and the lovely fresh fragrance that I get from a small batch. I finished the jam with the juice of half a lemon to refresh the taste and bring out the sharpness of the rhubarb.
I have added vanilla again, I know I did it with my Seville orange marmalade as well, I cannot help it….. I do like vanilla and thought it would set these super decadent biscuits off nicely. I promise next time to try something else, I think that perhaps cardamom will be just as delicious. I know that the pods are very expensive so making the most of the them is a must. Never throw the pods away, there is too much flavour left in them. You can wash the pods after the jam is finished, dry them thoroughly and then pop the pod into caster sugar, you will be amazed on how much flavour they will produce. I recycle my pods several times.
These rhubarb melting moment biscuits are delicious, rich and short. The sharpness of the rhubarb and the zesty lemon butter cream compliments the biscuits richness.
Pack a couple of these rhubarb melting moments into your loved ones packed lunch, it’s guaranteed to put a big smile on their face.
Forced Rhubarb Vanilla Jam
- 400g forced rhubarb
- 200g jam sugar, caster sugar including pectin
- 200g caster sugar
- 1tbs boiling water
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed
- juice of half a lemon
Remove the leaves and wash and dry the rhubarb. Cut the stalks into 1cm pieces.
Place the rhubarb, both sugars, one vanilla pod, seeds and the tablespoon of water into a jam pan or thick based saucepan.
Let the sugar dissolve over very low heat, stir to encourage the sugar to dissolve.
Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up, cook the jam over high heat. Do not stir the jam too often, just every now and then to prevent it from catching.
Wash the sides of the pan down with a clean pastry brush that's dipped in boiling hot water. If you do not do this the jam will crystallize easily.
Cook the jam till it reaches 105°C; alternatively to check if your jam is ready, place a small plate in the freezer, drop a few drops of jam onto the plate, if the jam sets immediately and you can draw your finger through without the jam running it means it's ready. Remember the longer you cook the jam the darker the caramelized colour will become and the flavour more earthy.
Once the jam reaches the correct temperature add the juice of one lemon, stir and remove the jam from the heat.
Let the jam cool slightly before ladling your jam into cleaned sterilized jars.
How I sterilize my jam jars: I sterilize my jam jars by preheating the oven to 100°C, wash the jam jars and lids in hot soapy water, dry and then place them on a baking tray in the preheated oven. Leave the jars in the oven for 25 minutes, let them cool down slightly before you ladle your warm jam into the sterilized jars. Secure the lid immediately and leave the jam to cool at room temperature.
Makes approximately 600g of jam
Melting Moments Biscuits
- 350g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 80g icing sugar
- 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds removed
- 300g plain flour
- 50g corn flour
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with silpats or parchment paper.
Cream the butter, vanilla seeds and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
Sift the flour and cornflour and fold it into the creamed butter mixture. The biscuit dough will be very firm, the softer the butter (not melted though) the easier it will be to work with.
Transfer the biscuit dough into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe one row of biscuit bases 3cm in diameter and one row of tops, a 3cm diameter circle. Leave enough space between each biscuit as they will need a bit of room to grow. Pipe equal amounts of tops and bases.
Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 18 - 20 minutes, make sure that they are cooked through but not brown in colour. They should be pale and light.
Carefully transfer them to a cooling rack leaving the biscuits to cool completely while making the lemon butter cream.
Lemon Butter Cream
- 120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 250g icing sugar, sifted
- 4tsp lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
Cream the butter until creamy and pale in colour.
Add the sifted icing sugar and lemon juice to the creamed butter, whip until the butter cream becomes fluffy.
Fold the lemon zest into the butter cream.
Transfer the butter cream to piping bag with a star nozzle
Assembling the biscuits
Once the melting moments are completely cold, pair them up and lay them out onto a clean work surface. Turn the biscuit with the hole the right way up and dust with icing sugar. The inside of the bases should be facing upwards so as you can pipe on a circle of the lemon butter cream,leave a hole in the centre for the jam.
Spoon a generous spoonful of the rhubarb jam in the centre, place the biscuit with the hole on top to complete your melting moment sandwich.
They are now ready to eat!
They will go soggy if you leave them overnight so I recommend you do not complete the assembly until required. They will remain crisp and good for about 2 - 3 hours.
Makes approximately 25 melting moments