Rhubarb and elderflower charlotte

A summery spin on this traditional treat

  • place PRE
  • place COOK
  • place SERVES 6
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Elders flower in May, June or July, depending on where they grow. Their tiny white flowers add a fragrant sweetness to sour fruits such as gooseberries and rhubarb. You can add them to all manner of baked puddings, such as this updated easy charlotte. In a classic charlotte, a mould is lined with buttered sliced bread, filled with fruit, topped with more bread, and then baked until crisp and golden. It is then turned out of its mould.


Recipe adapted from National Trust Book of Baking, published by National Trust Books

  • Preheat the oven to fan 180°C. Trim the rhubarb and cut into 2.5cm lengths. Dip the elderflower heads into a bowl of cool water, shake off the excess water, and strip the tiny flowers from their green stems. Discard the stems.
  • Melt 55g butter in a wide, non-corrosive saucepan over a low heat. Add the rhubarb, elderflowers and 115g sugar and mix thoroughly. Stir occasionally until the rhubarb begins to soften and release some juice. Sweeten to taste if necessary, then tip into a 20 x 30cm oval baking dish.
  • Liberally butter the bread on both sides, then cut off the crusts. Cut each slice into four triangles. Arrange over the fruit in overlapping rows and press down so that the bread can soak up some of the juice as the rhubarb cooks. Sprinkle the bread with 1 tsp sugar.
  • Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the bread is golden and crisp and the fruit is bubbling and soft. Serve warm or at room temperature.

1.1kg rhubarb, trimmed

3 elderflower heads

55g butter, plus extra for buttering the bread

115g granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling6 medium slices good white bread

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