Friday, June 25, 2010
Brigitte's Rhubarb Crumble
Now that my academic year is over, I'm REALLY going to try to blog more regularly, both to catch up on posts I've been meaning to do for quite some time, and to share some of my summer travels with you! Before I get to the traveling bit, however, I've gotta get this summery crumble into your hungry hands.
This recipe is worth sharing for two reasons: 1. Very little work produces an incredible dish. 2. It was passed to me as a family tradition (a family into which I have been adopted, that is).
This year I have had the pleasure of getting to know the mother of a very good friend of mine: Brigitte is a spunky French woman who knows how to bake a mean dessert, and treats ingredients well in the happy French tradition that honors fresh seasonal ingredients. Through following my blog, she has occasionally offered me her own culinary ideas, and this is one I made almost immediately.
It is one of few recipes I have found that features rhubarb solo; it seems more American to me to pair it with strawberry, whereas in French grocery stores you will find rhubarb jam on the shelf next to the jars of strawberry jam. As a stand-alone flavor, it has a lovely tartness that is a refreshing complement to the sweetness in this dessert. I made this crumble for my sister's graduation from grad school, since she loves rhubarb, and it was a great hit.
The best part about this recipe, however, is that it came to me in a hand-written letter. Although I have Facebook contact with Brigitte, and she could have simply typed up a list of ingredients and instructions in a message, she hand-wrote a letter and told the recipe like a story. I could hear her voice speaking the words with a French accent as I read the recipe, and it made me smile. What a joy to have the privilege of receiving a family recipe, which merited the personal telling of a letter!
May you also enjoy this wonderfully tart/sweet crumble and the family care that comes with it!
Brigitte's Rhubarb Crumble
1 lb package frozen rhubarb (frozen fruit section of supermarket, near the ice cream)
2 T flour
2/3 C sugar
7/8 C flour
1/3 C brown sugar
4 tsp sugar
1/3 C salted butter
Defrost rhubarb in a colander; this may take several hours, so plan ahead. You want it to defrost well so that the excess water has drained away to prevent the crumble from becoming soggy.
Once the rhubarb is defrosted, mix it with the 2 T flour and 2/3 C sugar, and let sit in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Then, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and sugar for the topping ingredients. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the butter is reduced to half-pea-sized pieces.
Grease a 9-inch pie pan and pour the rhubarb mixture in the bottom. Top with the crumble topping, patting it down lightly. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the top is golden and the rhubarb is cooked (it may be bubbling around the edges).
Serve warm or room temperature with a cold crème anglaise, or if you don't want to struggle with the potential of curdling the crème like I did (I just strained it, it actually tasted okay), with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.