Monday, March 25, 2013

A Sure Sign of Spring: Rhubarb

It's still a bit nippy out there. The winds are still whipping by my face in the morning, and I still reach for my pair of fuzzy socks when I'm walking across the cold concrete floors.

But ... spring is definitely on the way. It was warm enough for me to take my hat off this afternoon, the sun peaked at us for more than just a few minutes, and this past weekend, I saw rhubarb in the market. Yup, rhubarb -- those beautiful pinky-red stalks of deliciousness. They are a sure sign of spring. I couldn't resist snatching up a bunch and immediately turning them into something sweet and gooey and tasty. And what could be easier than a crumble?

I mixed my rhubarb with a crisp apple to give it a little sweetness, and added a double dose of ginger -- candied and fresh -- to give this dessert a little spice. It's the perfect mesh of flavours to have while winter melts into spring -- fresh and tangy, warm and spicy. Perfection!

Because I baked this crumble in a smallish baking dish, it ended up being more like a pandowdy -- the top of the crumble topping turned nice and brown and crumbly, but the because it ended up being such a thick layer, the further you went down, the more biscuit-like it turned. Totally fine by me, though. The biscuity parts were tender and tasty and soaked up the rhubarby-gingery juices really well. It was the perfect way to end a meal, and as the original recipe suggests, also perfect served with a dollop of yogurt and alongside a strong coffee for breakfast.

Happy spring!!

Rhubarb Apple Ginger Crumble
adapted from Poppytalk

For the Fruity Part
1 pound of rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
1 large apple (I used a Jonagold)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of candied ginger, chopped fine
juice and zest of a lemon

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large pot and heat gently -- stirring frequently. Let the fruity mixture bubble and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the rhubarb and apple start to get soft and juicy.

2. Pour the mixture into a baking dish -- keep in mind that if you use a smaller (like 6inch) dish, you'll get pandowdy-like results -- biscuity with a bit of crumble on the top. If you more crumble/crisp- like results, use a larger dish.

For the Topping
1 cup of spelt flour
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of candied ginger, chopped fine
1/3 cup of butter (I used Earth Balance)

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1. Mix the flour, oats, sugar and gingers together. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until you get a coarse mealy texture.

2. Add the maple syrup and use a spatula to incorporate into the crumble. Spread the crumble mixture over the fruit mixture.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit starts bubbling up over the top, and the crumble is nice and golden brown.

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