Recipe

Root to fruit: rhubarb and spelt clafoutis

by Tom Hunt

A seasonal dessert to kick off Tom Hunt’s new recipe series, themed around whole foods

In this new recipe series, I’m determined to banish once and for all the notion that whole foods are heavy, unpalatable and just for health nuts. I’ve created these recipes to be flavour-packed, vibrant and light. My hope is to inspire you to cook from root to fruit, eating whole foods from the whole farm and indulging in seasonal foods that are tasty, nutritious and inherently restorative for ourselves and the planet.

This recipe takes advantage of a seasonal marriage between rhubarb and elderflowers. Field rhubarb comes into season in April, taking over from the earlier forced rhubarb varieties. As field rhubarb is grown out in the cold, it grows slowly, developing a complex, sour flavour that works very well with elderflower’s sweet floral perfume. My cooking style, which I call ‘root to fruit eating’, means cooking and eating whole foods and ingredients that help regenerate our environment. Spelt—used to make the pastry in this recipe—does just that. It is a primitive form of wheat with long sturdy roots that help create good quality soil. It also has a rich depth of flavour and is incredibly nutritious, full of vitamins and minerals like manganese. The earthy flavour of the spelt acts as a great carrier for the aromas of rhubarb and elderflower.

Ingredients

400g field rhubarb, cut into 3-4cm long pieces
2 elderflower heads
150g brown muscovado sugar
Knob of butter, plus extra for greasing a baking dish
3 large eggs
70g wholegrain spelt or wheat flour
250ml whole milk
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
120ml full fat cream to serve 

Method

Place the rhubarb pieces in a saucepan with 1 elderflower head, 50g brown sugar and a knob of butter. Place on a medium heat, then when it starts to bubble place a lid on top and cook for 2 mins. Remove from the heat and put to one side.

Butter a large shallow enamel dish (or two small ones). Place the cooked rhubarb into it, keeping the butter and rhubarb juices to add to the batter, having removed the elderflower.

To make the batter, beat three eggs lightly with the remaining 100g of sugar. Stir in the flour until there are no lumps. Gently whisk in the milk and leftover butter and rhubarb juice.

Pour the batter over the rhubarb and leave to rest until 30 mins before you are ready to eat. Place in the oven for about 20-30 mins, until golden and inflated. Serve immediately with a dollop of cream and some elderflowers sprinkled on top.

If you have any leftovers (which is highly unlikely), clafoutis keeps well in the fridge for five days, delicious cold or reheated.

Recipe & images: Tom Hunt