Monday, 27 February 2012

In praise of Rhubarb

I'm not a big pudding person, preferring most times to follow a main dish with cheese and an apple. The exception is crumble. I always keep an eye out for discounted fruit - berries and stone-fruit reaching the end of their brief shelf life, fully ripe pears and the like. What may be past table fruit is perfect for crumble. The mix of flour, butter and sugar to cap a 9" iron gratin dish is as memorised as a batter mix, and takes five minutes to make and chuck in the oven. Perfect for two.

Now of course is the time of year when forced Rhubarb from the Wakefield triangle hits the market and this is the one filling I pay top dollar for; with a little ground ginger, and not too heavy on the Rhubarb, one gets a dish fit for the Gods. I can't begin to describe the light lemony zingy tartness of this dish, the perfect mouthfeel, the sophisticated top-notes that fade slowly and the perfect combination with ginger that creates an entirely new flavour that is neither Rhubarb nor ginger. Try it.

15 comments:

Neddy Seagoon and the gang said...

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb .. etc

rightofcentre said...

That article you link to must have been written by one of Wakefields most ignorent cast-offs, I was a miner in 1984, and even I wouldn`t try to blame the state off Sandal Castle on Lady Thatcher, (it was ruined in the 15th century.
Stupid Girl, stupid article.

DeeDee99 said...

I like rhubarb crumble with a generous dollop of fresh vanilla custard. Goosberry crumble is terrific as well - but you seldom see goosberries now. They seem to have gone out of fashion. When I "retire to the country" I shall have to plant a bush.

Anonymous said...

Shredded stewed rhubarb in strawberry jelly is my favourite, it seems to fizz on the tongue like sherbert.

I'll have to wait a while though, the first buds are only just showing through the soil.

Rose

Elby the Beserk said...

Poach in orange juice, and if you have it in the garden, sweeten with Sweet Cicely. Rhubarb - the one good reason for the existence of Yorkshire (says this Lancy manqué )

James Higham said...

Interesting about the crumble - I tend to get the rhubarb one too.

meltemian said...

Stop it!!!
Oh how I long for rhubarb....can't grow it here, only option is frozen which just doesn't do it.

Radders the Younger said...

During our time in Nigeria, both Rhubarb and Apples were impossible to find, so we substituted Pineapple - which was of course plentiful, cheap, and fresh.

With the requisite cinnamon and demerara sugar added to the mix it produced a delightful combination which has now become our favourite.
A lot sweeter of course, but very Yum-yum.

Rootar said...

When I was a lad I used to be given a stick of raw baby rhubarb from the garden and an egg cup with sugar in. I would peel back the pinky strands to reveal the green core. Dipped in the sugar it was an exquisite sweet and sour experience. Too much though would give you gut-ache.

Anonymous said...

Im inclined to think the juice from cooked sweetened Rhubarb would make an excellent drink and so far seems to have been ignored by commercial drinks companies.

Span Ows said...

Yes, rhubarb crumble, gift of the Gods, along with cheese.

DeeDee, me too, I grew up with a garden full of gooseberries, plus blackcurrants, raspberries and apples; bloody hell we ate well.

Tamianne said...

Rhubarb crumble is one of my favourites, but all my attempts at making it have failed. I'm OK with the crumble, but the rhubarb always turns out bitter and grainy. How do you turn it into 'food for the gods' Raedwald?

Raedwald said...

Tamianne -

Use young, pink tender Rhubarb cut into 1.5" pieces, line the bottom of a heavy enamelled iron gratin dish completely with them and sprinkle with Demerera sugar and ground ginger. Layer should be about 1" thick. Top with crumble about 1.5" thick and bang in the oven; when pink sticky juice bubbles up the side of the crumble, and the top is light brown, remove. It's never failed for me.

Tamianne said...

Thanks Raedwald - I'll give that a try!

auralay said...

I have started to see recipies for, of all things, Japanese knotweed crumble! Apparently the young shoots (around May) are like rhubarb but even tastier. So the dreaded weed is actually good for something. I cant wait to try it. Incidentally 'She-who-is-never-wrong' makes crumble with flour/porridge oats/brown sugar and of course butter. Delicious