Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rhubarb and Strawberry Cheat's Danish

rhubarb and strawberry "cheats" danish

It’s a well-known fact that I am a huge fan of rhubarb. If there’s ever a rhubarb dessert on the menu, I just have to order it. It’s one of my favourite things to cook with, and I just love the sweet-tart flavour and the beautiful pink colour. It reminds me of spring, and with the lovely warm weather we’ve been having in Sydney lately, it couldn’t have been more perfect, especially with a nice cup of tea.

I picked up a bunch of rhubarb recently and wanted to try something a little different with it – I’ve done pies, cakes, ice creams and even drinks! This recipe caught my eye – described as a “yeasted cake” and inspired by a recipe from Stephanie Alexander. I just knew it would be lovely.

rhubarb and strawberry "cheats" danish

Sadly, my version wasn’t as pretty as the photo, but it hardly mattered because it was absolutely delicious. I would liken it more to a danish than a cake, thanks to the rich, buttery dough. But if you consider how long it takes to make a proper laminated danish dough, this is a breeze by comparison.

I decided to replace the pears used in the original recipe with some lovely winter strawberries. It’s hard to beat that combination, it’s one of my favourites in the world. What I really loved though, was the glaze. With a nice hit of rhubarb flavour and a gorgeous colour, it was the perfect accompaniment to the delicious filling. This cake is best eaten on the day it’s made.

rhubarb and strawberry "cheats" danish

Rhubarb and Strawberry Cheat’s Danish
Serves 10
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 120g butter, coarsely chopped
• 120ml milk
• 250g plain flour
• 10g dried yeast
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk

Rhubarb and Strawberry Filling
• 300g rhubarb, finely chopped
• 125g (about ½ punnet) strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 1/3 cup caster sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Rhubarb Glaze
• 50g caster sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 40g rhubarb, thinly sliced
• 160g pure icing sugar, sifted

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add milk and heat until lukewarm (1 minute). Mix flour, sugar and yeast in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the center and then with motor running, pour milk mixture, egg and yolk into the well and knead until smooth and shiny (2-3 minutes).

Transfer to a buttered bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Knock back dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 20x35cm rectangle. Place on an oven try lined with baking paper and set aside.

For the filling, combine ingredients in a bowl and spread over the dough, leaving a 5cm border along the sides. Cut long sides through to the filling at 3cm intervals using a pair of scissors, then fold long ends over to meet in the centre, pressing the ends to seal. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake until crust is golden and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (25-30 minutes). Cool on tray for 15 minutes, then cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, for rhubarb glaze, stir caster sugar, vanilla and 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, add rhubarb and bring to the simmer. Cook until rhubarb is translucent and liquid is syrupy (4-5 minutes), then strain into a measuring jug (discard solids). Stir icing sugar and rhubarb syrup in a bowl until smooth and thin with a little water to drizzling consistency if necessary. Drizzle over yeast cake and serve.

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