Sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. Sometimes you plan to make something and halfway through it goes a bit/a lot wrong and then rather than trying again you decide to just find something else to make. This is the story of what happened this week. It had been my original intention to make pidusai, a quark and rhubarb bun, rolled, like cinnamon buns. I put off doing it a bit because I was fearful. What is quark? Is it okay if it’s not the stuff from Estonia? Answers point to no. The quark I got was like yoghurt, and the more I looked online (after things went wrong), I realised that quark should have some sort of density to it.
One of the things that has eluded me so far during this project is figuring out what the best equivalent to what several Eastern European countries call ‘cottage cheese’, but isn’t exactly like British cottage cheese, or quark, or any other type of cheesy dairy product we have here. My way around this so far has been to avoid recipes with this unfathomable substance in, but this week I thought what the hell, let’s try it! Until I was trying to roll out dough that had been recently folded after having quark spread all over it, and it splurged everywhere, and so I said to myself, “no more!” and I left my quark-covered worktop to find another Estonian recipe that had rhubarb in it. And so, this week, after some delay, we have rabarberikook, literally rhubarb cake, which has turned out far more successfully than its predecessor, and happily contains no quark or quark-equivalents. If anyone has any advice on this strange ingredient, I am open to suggestions as to what I can use instead. I’ve still got quite a few countries to go, and it’s likely to turn up again.
375g plain flour
225g granulated sugar
150g unsalted butter
¼ tsp baking powder
600g rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
8 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp flour
1tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dusting on top
- Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a 20x30cm cake tin. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder and then add to the butter mixture.
- Press evenly into the greased pan. The mixture can be quite sticky so use the back of a wet spoon to make the surface smooth.
- Combine the rhubarb with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently spoon over the top of the base layer (or get your boyfriend to beautifully layer it, as I did (thanks Oscar!)).
- To prepare the topping, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and airy. Add the flour and vanilla extract then pour over the rhubarb filling. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool then sprinkle with icing sugar. Cut into squares and serve with cream.