I love to eat rhubarb at this time of year. As it's one of the first fruits to appear in spring it reminds me that winter is behind us and summer is on it's way (hooray!). It also has to be one of the easiest fruits to grow too - although it's not the most attractive.
When we had our house in France we had a large rhubarb plant in the garden and although we didn't really look after it at all it would spring to life every year from nowhere, give us tons of fruit and then disappear back into the ground again as the summer went on. This meant we had a short window to use as much of it as possible before the supply ran out. Jams, jellies, tarts, compotes, sauces, cakes crumbles, trifles - you name it and I've probably made it with rhubarb!
I like to stew rhubarb with some sugar and a splash of orange juice which makes a really simple compote to have with yoghurt or rice pudding (or just on its own) but, for me, the most delicious complement to rhubarb is ginger. It doesn't matter if it's fresh, crystallised, ground or bottled, I just love the gorgeous aromatic and tongue-tingling effect of these two ingredients when they're put together.
This recipe for rhubarb, apple and ginger crumble is really simple and produces a lovely crunchy crumble to top off the soft, sweet, fragrant fruit.
Crunchy and Aromatic Rhubarb, Apple and Ginger Crumble
Notes: Serves 4. I've kept this really simple as I don't think it needs anything else but if you want to you could add orange juice in place of water when stewing the fruit. For extra gingeryness (if such a word exists) add ½ tsp ground ginger to the crumble topping.
6 stems rhubarb
3 eating apples
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
1 inch (2½cm) piece fresh ginger (or ½ tsp ground ginger)
100g plain flour
50g porridge oats
100g demerara sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ Gas Mark 6.
2. Cut the rhubarb into chunks approx 1½ inches (approx 3½cm) in length. Peel and core the apple and cut it into chunks approx ¾ inch (approx 1½cm) in size. Peel and grate the ginger.
3. Put the fruit into a medium sized saucepan with the caster sugar, water and ginger. Heat over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and allow the fruit to stew gently for approx 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The fruit should be soft but still retaining its shape. When done, put the fruit into an ovenproof dish.
4. To make the crumble topping, put the flour and butter in a food processor with a chopping blade and process for a few seconds until the butter has been chopped finely and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the oats and demerara sugar until well combined and sprinkle over the fruit to completely cover.