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The Best Rhubarb Crumble?

It all began with a desperate search for rhubarb last week. Apparently other Philadelphians were also on the hunt for rhubarb because it was selling out everywhere. After two days and four locations, I finally secured my rhubarb at Reading Terminal Market.

I decided to make a rhubarb crumble as a special mid-week dessert. Most of my baking has been sub par to date so I generally go into each new baking experience with my hands over my eyes. I think it is the lingering effects of post traumatic stress syndrome from my mother’s kitchen where baking attempts were typically followed by anxiety attacks.  Hence,  my confidence in the baking department is low. But I persevere – regardless of what obstacles may cross my path!

The recipe was easy enough and the crumble looked great. But then I make a fatal mistake. I leave the room and allow my husband to “warm up the crumble” for us (his idea). I return to a loud crack. to find my crumble (in its baking dish) cracked into three pieces over an open flame. My heart sunk. Then my husband’s eyes popped in fear. Yeah I wasn’t happy. Crumble was destroyed as was my favorite pie dish. I’m not sure if it was out of regret or hunger – but Ryan still helped himself to surviving bits of crumble before the whole thing ended up in the dumpster. He said it was great – but really what was he going to say?

So I’d love to end this blog post with a photo of the evidence, but my bad luck continues and my week’s worth of cooking photos are being held captive by our digital camera right now. But don’t worry, Ryan said he will take care of it!

Enjoy the recipe anyway. It’s adapted from Smitten Kitchen and you usually can’t go wrong with anything that comes from that kitchen blog. She doesn’t have mother/kitchen issues like some people.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

For the topping:

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
  • Pinch of salt

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.

2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (I used an oval dish this time, because they fit better in the bottom of a shopping bag.)

3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. gail #

    Should have warned you more vehemently about your husband’s theory of speeding up temperature change – whether on the stove top or via thermostat – if it’s hot, to cool down a house quickly just set that thermostat at 45 degrees. No matter that it has to pass 72 or 70 or 68 on its way down to 45!! Same theory gets applied to warming something up. If low will heat it to desired temperature in 5 minutes, HIGH will get it there in 5 seconds. NO????? Oops!

    May 3, 2010

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