Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rhubarb and ginger crumble

When I visited Borough market last weekend, I was very excited to see colourful stems of early forced rhubarb from Lincolnshire. I adore rhubarb - that glorious colour really cheers up the winter months. But has anyone ever tried to photograph rhubarb? Knowing my fellow food bloggers, the answer here is probably yes. And not just yes, but 'yes, with great success'. I failed completely - the bright pink colour of the skin appeared to be having some sort of argument with my usually fairly obliging camera. No matter how many shots I took, I couldn't seem to make it look 'real'. As I grew increasingly frustrated, I took a moment to remind myself that this is just a hobby after all and that life is too short to worry about photographing rhubarb.

Fortunately for us all, I had more success when it came to cooking with the rhubarb. Because I don't have nearly enough cook books (!!), I decided to buy another, the other day. Seduced by the gorgeous photos of puddings that I'd actually want to eat (and cook), I bought a copy of Annie Bell's mouthwatering 'gorgeous desserts'. In this wonderfully tempting book I found the perfect recipe for a rhubarb and ginger crumble. Ideal comfort food. All that was needed was the custard (for rhubarb simply HAS to have custard, doesn't it?). I just love a proper British pud.

Rhubarb is brilliant with ginger - I've had savoury dishes which combine the two which have also been good. This was one of the best crumbles I've had in a long time and I can't wait to pick up the next batch of rhubarb.

For the original recipe along with dozens of other delectable desserts, do buy the book. Here is my version.

Rhubarb and ginger crumble
(serves 6)
800g trimmed rhubarb
200g self-raising flour, plus 2 tablespoons
200g demerara sugar
2 knobs stem ginger
100g ground almonds
175g unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Wash the rhubarb to clean and then chop into 3cm pieces. Roughly chop the ginger.

2. Toss rhubarb in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons flour, half the sugar and the ginger. Arrange over the base of a 2 litre ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of water.

3. Combine flour, remaining sugar, ground almonds and butter using your hands* until it ressembles coarse breadcrumbs.

4. Scatter mixture over the rhubarb and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and crisp and the juices are bubbling up at the sides.

5. Serve with custard.

*You can make crumble in a food processor but I have always found that I get a better result when I rub the mixture together by hand. If you do want to keep your mitts clean, then by all means use the whizzer, but take care to stop the blade before the mixture turns to dough.

Notes - this is also superb cold, eaten straight from the dish!


Rosie said...

Hi Antonia, great post!!

I so adore traditional puds as you know and your Rhubarb and ginger crumble looks and sounds the business!! Adore the colour of your rhubarb in your pic, fantastic :D

Rosie x

Pixie said...

You captured the rhubarb perfectly and I hear you when you talk about how this is just a hobby but you can't help but you put so much love into your food you want it to shine through in your blog entry. Personally, I think you do it all the time. Your rhubarb crumble looks amazing and it's one of those dishes on my long list I've been planning to make. Thank you so much for sharing ALL of your fabulous recipes!

Greg said...

Rhubarb already? Oh boy, it is early. Our ground is solidly frozen at -30C right now. No rhubarb for a few more months. Have you ever used rhubarb in a savory dish? I have tried it in stir fries and stews. I find it best to add at the last moment and not cook it to mush. Interesting tang in a savory dish.

Trekkie said...

It looks gorgeous. What kind of custard did you use?

Abitofafoodie said...

Rosie - I thought you might like this one!! It really was delicious.

Pixie - thank you so much for your lovely words! Hope you get around to making it soon as it is the ultimate comfort pudding.

Greg - yes - it is early isn't it? -30C? Now that is pretty cold. Goodness! I've never tried cooking a savoury dish using rhubarb but have been served it in a restaurant on a couple of occasions. Once with duck and once with pigeon - both worked really well.

Lynn - I'm afraid I cheated on the custard and didn't make my own. Just used Birds custard powder on this occasion.

Trekkie said...

Nothing cheaty about it Antonia. Cheating would be if you'd just opened a tin. I hardly ever go the whole hog of using eggs, cornflour, cream etc.

Sophie said...

I think your rhubarb pics are great - it's a tricky one to take pictures of because it's just so long!

Rhubarb and ginger is one of my favourite combinations. I make it into a thickie (like a smoothie) with oats and ginger.

Nic said...

The colour of your rhubarb is amazing, my husband would love this crumble!

Abitofafoodie said...

Sophie - thank you! You didn't see the photos that didn't make the grade though - truly awful.
Your thickie sounds delicious.

Nicisme - thank you. It is a really good combination - I'll definately be making this again.

Cakelaw said...

Scrumptious - my moth is watering looking at this.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Rhubarb and ginger together?? It must taste delicious! Can't wait when rhubarb will be in season here... I'm marking this recipe to try. Thank you for sharing :)


LisaRene said...

What a wonderful combination. I'm used to seeing strawberry and rhubarb but rhubarb and ginger would be heavenly!