Sorry that Noelle and I have been MIA… when the coming issue of the magazine is due in to art for production, we get a bit overwhelmed and run out of time to post fun stuff. We know you forgive us. Friends are like that.
We also know that many of our friends have different climates and growing stages, but here in North Jersey, we have just harvested the first cutting of rhubarb. A sour vegetable (yup, not a fruit!), I challenged myself to make something yummy out of the stuff. My inspiration came from the book Cobblers & Crumbles by Maxine Clark, published by Ryland Peters and Small, Inc.
We reviewed this book (from my not-so-private collection) in a previous issue of Create & Decorate. Noelle and I are drawn to cookbooks, not just for the yumminess promised within, but for the photography, too. There are many wonderful recipes included and this book is a terrific addition to any dessert lover’s cookbook collection.
The following recipe isn’t exactly prepared as published in the book. As with most desserts I make, I adapted it a bit.
Rhubarb, orange and strawberry crumble
1-1/2 fresh rhubarb, chopped
1 large orange
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
a pinch of ground ginger
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup ground pecans
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and set a baking sheet on the middle shelf to heat.
Trim the rhubarb, chop into medium sized pieces and place in a large saucepan. Finely grate the zest from the orange and add to the rhubarb. Stir in the ground ginger and sugar and cook over a gentle heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb begins to release its juices but is still holding its shape. Pour the rhubarb into a strainer set over a bowl to catch the juices and reserve these for later. Remove the pith from the orange with a sharp knife, then cut out the segments between the membrane. Add to the drained rhubarb, along with the sliced berries, and set aside to cool completely.
To make the topping, put the flour, salt, ground pecans, and butter into a mixing bowl and blend until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. Stir in sugar. Spoon the rhubarb, oranges, and strawberries into a large ovenproof dish or 4 individual ones. (I divided my recipe and dropped off a dish to my friend, who sent me home with vanilla ice cream to top it with!) Lightly sprinkle the pecan crumble mixture evenly over the surface, mounding it up a little towards the center. Place on top of the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until crisp and golden on top.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and juices. Definitely use the reserved warmed juice. The flavor combination from the ginger and orange zest is terrific. Yum!