Sunday, 7 August 2011

Fruit That Holds Its Own: Rhubarb Spice Crumble

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I'm in San Francisco right now (so please pardon the iPhone photos and potential long silences), taking a wee break from the mad scene of Londontown, but have no fear – I'm still baking!  I don't get as many opportunities when I'm home (mostly because my mother glares at me every time I place something buttery/sugary in front of her), but last weekend we had new neighbors coming over for brunch and my mom actually asked me to make something for dessert.  Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

My mom had brought home rhubarb from the farmer's market, and I didn't have many ideas of what to do with it.  I'd made a delicious rhubarb coffee cake before, and I thought about doing a muffin version, but I'm also kind of on a health kick while I'm in the land of fresh, amazing produce, and I didn't want to load the dessert with butter and sugar.  So I decided to do a crumble.

Crumbles have a lot going for them: they're easy peasy, thrown together without much of a recipe, and they showcase whatever fruit you use just beautifully.  And since I wanted the rhubarb to speak for itself, and I didn't want to take up the kitchen for too long with a complicated recipe, it was the perfect solution.  I used basic crumble proportions and didn't even need a recipe at all.  All I added to the usual suspects were a bunch of spices, because I can't stay away from cinnamon and the ginger was begging to dance with the rhubarb.

The reason I didn't want to take up the kitchen for too long?  These two gorgeous quiches my mom made:

The brunch was great – the new neighbors are lovely, the quiches were delish, and the heirloom tomatoes with burrata were to die for.  And then, after much face-stuffing, there was a relatively healthy, fairly light (minus the cream poured over the top), sweet and tart dessert.  Not too shabby!

Rhubarb Spice Crumble

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Butter a medium sized baking dish.

Chop up, toss with a little sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon, and place in dish:
     3 cups of rhubarb

In a large bowl, whisk together:
     3/4 c brown sugar
     1/2 c flour
     1/2 c oats
     1 tsp cinnamon
     3/4 tsp nutmeg
     1 tsp ginger

Rub in with fingers:
     1/3 c (  g) butter, cut into small cubes

Top the rhubarb with the crumble mix and bake for 30 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden.  Serve warm, with cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.

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