Sunday, 30 March 2014

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb

Not much activity here lately, for two reasons. One is our continuing struggle with excess weight, which means less baking, as carbs are restricted, and the second, more worryingly, is the departure of my baking fairy. I've had a couple of baking disasters recently, which means I've had nothing to post about. One disaster was a silly mistake - picking up plain flour instead of self raising - but the other was trying a new recipe which just didn't work very well on several levels.

I tried this rhubarb self-saucing pudding, after it was published in the "Cook" section of the Guardian newspaper, and it just didn't hit the right buttons. There was very little 'sponge' on top, resulting in far too much sauce, and I didn't like the combination of rhubarb and a creamy, orange flavoured, sauce. I'm not sure if the recipe proportions are wrong, or if I should have cooked the pudding in a more shallow baking dish rather than a deeper casserole dish, but the batter was very thin and had to be poured over the fruit, rather than spooned and spread.

Anyway, to compensate for a less than perfect dessert last weekend, I made a rhubarb crumble this weekend. It worked perfectly, and as a bonus, I think I've found the perfect thickening agent for excess fruit juices in puddings of this sort - ground rice! It mixes easily with the fruit and sugar and you need very little to thicken the juice. I used 2 teaspoons of rice with roughly 500g of fruit, and could have used less, as there was no excess juice after baking. I think rice absorbs much more liquid than cornflour or ground almonds, which are often suggested as thickeners.

My crumble mix, for 4-6 portions, is 100g each of plain flour, sugar (any kind will do, I used white caster this time but often use light muscovado), rolled oats and butter. I put all the ingredients into a bowl, then rub in the butter, which makes a rougher crumble mix than rubbing the butter into the flour before adding the sugar and oats. Sprinkle on top of raw fruit, sweetened to taste, and bake at 180 - 200C until golden brown - around 35 - 50 minutes depending on oven temperature.

Sometimes, you just can't better something as simpler as a fruit crumble! The rhubarb in the top photo was just roasted with a sprinkling of caster sugar, for about 15 minutes at 190C - the best way to ensure the fruit keeps it's shape.


Katie said...

That rhubarb looks such a wonderful colour. Shame the pudding didn't live up to expectations.

thecelticcookinshanghai said...

I so sympathise. This looks delicious. Sadly I cannot buy rhubarb here in Shanghai and this made me realise just how much I miss it.

snowy said...

Love rhubarb crumble, and yours looks delicious. Great tip about using ground rice. Sorry the 'Cook' pudding didn't turn out well - I've had a couple of disasters from Ruby's recipes. Bring back Dan and Hugh!

Choclette said...

Was going to make rhubarb crumble last night, but didn't manage it. Seems an age since I ate one. Fast day today, but maybe tomorrow!