fredag 12 april 2013

Rhubarb Crumble

A few days ago I caught up with someone who was once a very special person in my life. Years have gone by since we last conversed but she's still the same striking, unconventional, deeply intelligent and self-possessed woman that I remember. It's strange - even after so much time apart we met again with the same comfort and ease. Amidst the frantic pace, I'd resigned myself long ago to the thought of never seeing her again. Together in the silences, sitting close enough to trace her hands, her face, her lips; I wanted so much to cast off my remaining inhibitions and blurt out "I've never stopped loving you".

Somewhere on the journey home I realised that occasionally a taste is required to remind ourselves of the things that we've always loved and momentarily forgotten.

After a long leave of absence, rhubarb crumble made a reappearance at the dining table to much delight, and perhaps, even a little surprise. It's been a while since I've given a humble crumble the time of day. I've come to consider it as a "fallback dessert" - possible to whip up with minimal ingredients and the most meagre of tools.

Baked in the oven with a sprinkling of light brown sugar sugar for a boost of extra caramelisation and served while still warm with a zealous dollop of cold and tangy yoghurt, some old loves are truly worth pining for.

Rhubarb Crumble

half a dozen stems of rhubarb 
1 apple
2 small mandarins, zested and juiced
white sugar
vanilla extract
a sprinkling of salt flakes
muscovado sugar
lots of yoghurt

Give the rhubarb a rinse and dry.
Finely slice stems and place in a pot.
Dice the apple into small cubes and add to rhubarb.
Add mandarin juice to pot and cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then until apples have collapsed.
Add white sugar to taste and cook for a few minutes until jammy.
Stir through mandarin zest and spoon into a ceramic dish.
Rub about half a cup of diced cold butter with a large pinch of castor sugar, a small pinch of salt,
vanilla and enough flour to form a clumpy, breadcrumby consistency.
Sprinkle this over the rhubarb in a thick layer.
Sprinkle a little rapadura sugar over the crumble topping.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180ºC or until golden and bubbling.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with a generous amount of yoghurt.

Cathy Xiao Chen

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