Sunday, May 14, 2006
Rhubarb Crumbles Are Just Very Small Pies, Too
It's rhubarb season!
Okay, I've never cooked with rhubarb before. But I wish I'd started sooner! I was at the Tompkins Square Greenmarket today (Eat Local Challengers take note - and explore the many wonders of rhubarb!), and there were only three stalks of rhubarb left. I thought, well, if it's so popular, I guess I ought to try it - though there's not a lot one can do with three reject stalks of rhubarb (clearly the other shoppers' discards, too - not red at all, just green and celery-looking). Nevertheless, I brought my three rhubarb sticks home and put together three little individual Rhubarb Crumbles (I made a half-recipe).
These turned out really well - sweet and very tart with a wonderful nutty crunch. The filling turned orange (because of the juice) instead of traditional rhubarb-pink because of the greenness of the stems, but was no less delicious. An added benefit - I got to try out my new food processor on the almonds! No more using my pathetic blender to puree things - hooray!
Things I didn't know about rhubarb before today:
- The leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic.
-The plant is not indigenous to North America (I always thought of rhubarb pie and preserves as very all-American!).
- "Rhubarb" is a word commonly muttered by extras on theatre or movie sets "to cause the effect of general hubbub" (Wikipedia). Wiki also tells us that "[as] a result, the word "rhubarb" sometimes is used to mean "length of superfluous text in speaking or writing", or a general term to refer to irrelevant chatter by chorus or extra actors."
Individual Orange-Rhubarb Crumbles
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole almonds
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
2 pounds fresh rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/2 cup orange juice
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
For topping: Combine flour, 1/2 cup whole almonds and both sugars in processor. Blend mixture until almonds are finely ground. Add butter and process until moist clumps form, using on/off turns. Transfer to bowl. Mix in chopped toasted almonds. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
For filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine rhubarb, orange juice, 5 tablespoons sugar and orange peel in heavy large saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook until rhubarb is tender but intact, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Using slotted spoon, divide warm rhubarb among six 1 1/4-cup custard cups, leaving excess juices behind. Blend 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl. Whisk into juices in saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Divide juice mixture equally among custard cups and stir into rhubarb.
Sprinkle topping over filling, dividing equally. Bake until topping is deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool crumbles on rack 15 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
(Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit at Epicurious.com)