Sunday, March 3, 2013

Going Back to the Start with Rhubarb Crumble

I posted a little while ago about how I'm sort of in this rut. I finished my book and after that was done it's been a "now what?" situation. I've not really been spending much time in my kitchen, and when I have I've been making old faithful type food that I've already told you about here on this blog.

I couldn't figure out what to do now that I've finished something big. Then, I got all zen and stuff and realized that what I needed to do was take a breath and go back to the beginning. I needed to go back to my childhood. To something familiar and comforting. I needed Rhubarb Crumble.

Rhubarb is a lot less common in American than it is in England. I rarely see it fresh here, and I've never seen it growing.

Back in England, when we moved into the house that I lived in for the five years before I moved to America I remember my Mother going through and ripping out a lot of the old garden. I helped somewhat, until I accidentally speared a frog with a garden fork. I became quite the indoor girl after that. It still gives me the willies thinking about it.
Anyway, so Mum went and dug up a big Rhubarb plant that she didn't want. She went ahead and put it on a pile of scrap sticks and woody things that would eventually be burned. It was sitting on top of the pile, half hacked to pieces, and the darned thing kept on growing. I think it sat and flourished for about two weeks.
So Mum hacked off all the green parts again and then had a nice little bonfire to burn all the green scrap that wouldn't be good for composting. After the bonfire there was a pile of rubble and a few chunks of unburnt wood that didn't quite finish combusting all the way. And about a week later, this pile was of course growing bright green Rhubarb stalks.

I don't know how the hell is survived. I also don't know how the hell Mum finally killed it. But hey, I've had a soft spot for Rhubarb ever since.

This Rhubarb Crumble is my Mum's recipe. She used to make it here and there when I was young, and I think my Nana used to make it too. It was served frequently with custard or vanilla ice cream, and I recommend you do the same thing!

Rhubarb Crumble

The easiest way to make this is in a pie plate or an 8x8 pan. You can throw in some strawberries as well if you need to use some up. I had a few in the fridge the last time I made this and sliced them over the rhubarb before I layered on the topping.

20oz Frozen Rhubarb
6oz Flour
3oz Butter (cold)
6oz Sugar (split in half)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Take half the sugar and toss the rhubarb in it. Lay the rhubarb in the bottom of a pie plate or other pan, spread fairly evenly.

In a small bowl, work the flour and butter together with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make sure you start with cold butter and work pretty quickly as you don't want it to melt. Mix in the rest of the sugar and spread this topping evenly over the rhubarb.

Bake for 45 minutes until the top has become golden brown.

Eat with a dollop of ice cream, custard or whipped cream while tucked up in bed watching the Top Chef finale.

Makes 12 servings.

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