Our latest recipe – Warm from the AGA in Dorset Magazine making the most of Yorkshire forced rhubarb and ideal for the produce from your garden this coming April.
Despite its rugged appearance, the AGA actually cooks very gently. This is due to its radiant heat and means it is perfect for the slow braises that have brought us comfort during the cold winter months. As the days grow slightly longer, I yearn for some punchy, astringent notes to ring the changes and awaken my palate. The appearance of forced rhubarb in the greengrocers could not be timed better. The sight of those gorgeous pink and tender sticks cannot fail to catch your eye. They are grown with meticulous attention to detail within the famous ‘Yorkshire Triangle’. This is the area between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford but now known throughout the world for producing a seasonal vegetable that originated from Siberia.
Perfect partnered with lamb, hold the mint jelly and make a rhubarb puree to serve alongside a rack of lamb. Or cut into equal pieces and poach lightly in syrup to bring a certain decadence to your morning bowl of porridge.
Forced rhubarb will be available until late March and then in early April we can look forward to the first stems from the garden.
Our latest recipe combines rhubarb with blood oranges and a hint of ginger. Create a delicious fruit compote that cuts through this rich baked cheesecake.
For six-eight portions you need:
23 cm springform cake tin greased with butter and lined with baking parchment
225g (8oz) ginger biscuits (bake some for yourself – we’ve shared a recipe on the website)
50g (2oz) butter melted – you will need less if the biscuits are homemade
625g (24oz) cream cheese
225g (8oz) golden caster sugar
3 free range eggs
125ml (4floz) double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pre-heat conventional oven to 140 C or Gas Mark 1
2-oven AGA – slide grid shelf of roasting oven to sit on floor. Ensure plain shelf is cold.
4-oven AGA – slide grid shelf of baking oven to sit on floor.
Break the biscuits into small pieces, place in clean, sealed plastic bag. Crush to form fine crumbs or simply whizz in food processor. Mix with melted butter. Sprinkle on base of prepared tin. Chill for 30 minutes.
Beat cream cheese to soften then carefully combine remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Pour cheese mixture over biscuit base, place on a baking tray and cook in preheated conventional oven for 50-60 minutes.
2-oven AGA – slide on to grid shelf then insert plain shelf over cheesecake and cook for 10-15 minutes then transfer to simmering oven for rest of cooking time.
4-oven AGA – slide grid shelf of baking oven to sit on floor as above but plain shelf should not be necessary.
When cooked, cheesecake should be firm around edges but still have a slight wobble in centre.
Allow to cool and set. Remove from tin when completely cold and serve with compote.
To make compote
Wash and trim two long stems of forced rhubarb. Cut into 5 cm lengths. Place in an earthenware baking dish, sprinkle with light soft brown sugar along with zest and juice of one blood orange.
Cook rhubarb, uncovered on low shelf in AGA or at 150 C or Gas Mark 2, for approximately 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool. Meanwhile wash another blood orange, remove peel and cut out segments. Add to cooled rhubarb with finely sliced stem ginger to taste.
Waste not want not – as Grannie would say!
1 Make a smoothie with any remaining compote. Simply whizz in the food processor with a generous tablespoon of Greek style yoghurt, a teaspoon of honey and some freshly squeezed orange juice.
2 After poaching the rhubarb, reserve the cooking liquor and use as a syrup to serve in a cocktail with your favourite fizz.