Sweet Cicely and Rhubarb

DSCF7795One of the earliest pickings from the garden is rhubarb. Technically a vegetable but more often used as a fruit, it’s tart, tangy taste is an aperitif for sweeter fruits to follow, once the days grow warmer. The astringent flavour of rhubarb calls for the addition of a lot of sugar to make it palatable but since I try to avoid using too much sugar I searched for an alternative.

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Sweet Cicely is a culinary herb, traditionally grown in British herb gardens close to the kitchen door, where its pretty fern-like leaves were at hand for sweetening tart fruit such as rhubarb. Used in many savory as well as sweet dishes, it gives a delightful anise flavour and helps to save almost half the sugar needed in a recipe. Its seeds can be used instead of cloves in apple pies, or ground and added to spice mixtures.

Sounded just what I was looking for. So I purchased seeds and added it to my garden.

 

 

Fast forward twelve months and I’m ready to harvest the pretty leaves and take them into the kitchen, along with a bunch of freshly picked rhubarb.

I combined the finely chopped leaves with the rhubarb to make a Sweet Cicely Rhubarb Crumble Cake which I served warm with custard and I’m happy to say that the result was delicious!

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Sweet Cicely Rhubarb Crumble Cake

8oz whole Spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 oz butter
2 oz soft brown sugar
1 large egg
4 fl oz milk

Filling
1 lb rhubarb
1 oz soft brown sugar
4 tbl sweet cicely

Topping
2 oz plain flour
2 oz oats
1 oz soft brown sugar
2 oz butter

Cream butter and sugar together. Whisk in the egg.

Add dry ingredients. Spoon into 8in cake tin.

Mix rhubarb & sugar in pan. Cook for 5 – 10 mins. Drain then stir in Sweet Cicely. Spoon over cake mix.

Rub topping ingredients together and sprinkle over cake.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350F.

Recipe Adapted from Mountain Innovations.

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About Jane Fowler

We are working towards a sustainable lifestyle, homeschooling our children, growing all our own food and creating art. Join us in our journey, learning with us along the way.
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5 Responses to Sweet Cicely and Rhubarb

  1. violicious says:

    I was just looking for a new recipe for all this rhubarb hanging out all over the place around here and while I do not have any sweet cecily I do have fennel seeds which may be a good replacement and the crew of smalls around here love that flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

    Like

  2. nruit says:

    Never knew about sweet Cicely. I will have to look for some!

    Like

  3. df says:

    I’ve never heard of Sweet Cicely, though it looks familiar. What a delightful find and I love your recipe!

    Like

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