24 May 2011

Easy peasy dessert : Spiced Rhubarb Crisp

Ruby : overflowing her planter somewhat!
I had been pondering over what to do with the rhubarb when hubby decided to crop Ruby, our Timperley.

One bagful has definitely got to go to my parents, as we forgot to give them the last one!

Other than that, I needed to think of something yummy - and something out of the ordinary (for me!) that would showcase the rhubarb in all its glory.

It was too soon to do the Pork & Rhubarb dish, and I wasn't feeling like anything savoury with it anyway.  So a sweet dessert was what was on the cards.

Hence when this last weekend, hubby decided to strip poor Ruby down to all but four leaves (although she has got a whole heap of baby leaves coming along!), I was halfway there with a recipe.

I had seen photographs of a dessert dish that a friend of mine over in the States had done, called Apple Crisp.  I couldn't remember the details of how to make it, but that was what provided the inspiration for this.

I'm afraid I have no idea how much rhubarb went into it - "three long sticks and three short sticks" doesn't really describe it terribly accurately for you.  However, the important thing with the rhubarb is that it is laid in one flat layer in the bottom of whatever dish you're using - which is why I used a Lasagne dish.  The object of the exercise is that the rhubarb doesn't dissolve into mush, nor does it produce so much juice that the breadcrumb topping dissolves.  Put in one layer like this, the juice can (pretty much) evaporate before it soaks the breadcrumbs.  Equally so, it is important not to put too many breadcrumbs on top.  You don't want to be ferreting around under breadcrumbs, looking for your rhubarb!

Another point worth mentioning is that the breadcrumb topping is the focus of where the sweetness is.  As such, you don't want to over-sugar the rhubarb.  Let is retain a lot of its tartness so that the change in texture from soft, tart rhubarb to crisp, sweet breadcrumbs is really apparent.

This is definitely a dessert dish to be eaten hot, straight from the oven.  Allow it to cool and you allow the breadcrumbs to soften as they absorb the juice from the rhubarb.  Also, it's very good with double cream!  So naughty - but so nice!


Ingredients :

Enough rhubarb to cover the bottom of a Lasagne dish in one layer of pieces chopped to around 1cm.
2 tbsp & 4 tbsp granulated sugar
Two dry crusty bread rolls, grated to breadcrumbs (food processor does this in a second)
20g soft butter (room temperature)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice.

Method :

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180deg C.

2.  Lay the rhubarb into the bottom of the Lasagne dish, making sure it is all flat.  Sprinkle the 2 tbsp sugar over.

3.  Put your breadcrumbs into a bowl and add the spices and remaining sugar.  Mix them in with your fingers, then add the butter and rub that in like you would for crumble.

4.  Once everything is combined, tip the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the rhubarb in an even layer.  Do not press it down, it wants to remain lightly laying on top.

5.  Bake in the oven for some 25-30 mins or until the top is browning and the rhubarb juice is just beginning to become evident.

6.  Serve straight from the oven.


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