There is lovely fresh rhubarb available at the market down by Waitangi Park on a Sunday, and my flatmate brought some home in her bundle of vegetable and fruit goodies this weekend. I knocked up this dessert very quickly by adding in canned pears and boysenberries, although most sorts of fruit would do. I do think it is a good idea to use something quite sweet (e.g. pears), as the rhubarb is a little tart. If you don’t have pre-made sweet short-crust pastry at home do not worry—a simple crumble mixture of flour, oats, butter and a little brown sugar would be just fine too. I’ve called this pudding-pie, because although it has a pastry top, the way you scoop it out of its dish is more reminiscent of an after dinner treat. Also, puddings are always easier to make than pies, and this is very easy to make.
6–8 Big sticks of rhubarb (discard the leaves—
they are poisonous)
1 ½ Tins of boysenberries, drained
1 Tin of pear quarters, drained and sliced
3 Heaped dessert spoons of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla essence
1 Sheet of pre-made sweet short-crust pastry
Turn the oven on to 180C. Trim any tough bits of the ends of the rhubarb and chop the sticks into pieces about half the length of your thumb (be careful not to include any of your actual thumb). Place these in an oven proof casserole dish, sprinkle over the sugar and vanilla, and give the rhubarb a good shake. Bake the rhubarb for around 15 minutes or until it starts to soften and the sugar has melted. Take the dish out of the oven and add in the berries and pears—combine the different fruits lightly with a fork to make sure they are well mixed. Over this, place the pastry, cutting and pasting it so that it will fit with the shape of the casserole dish. Prick the pudding-pie all over with a fork and bake for 25–30 minutes. When it is done the pastry should be golden and a little crisp, and ruby red juices will be bubbling up the sides of the pudding-pie. My flat had this just as it is, but if you were feeling luxurious, custard, cream or vanilla ice cream would really hit the spot with this dish.