Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Kat vs How to Eat: Apple, Rhubarb and Ginger crumble

To me, crumble has to be the ultimate comfort food. It so vividly conjures up memories of childhood Sunday afternoons, the smell of roast chicken wafting through the house and the promise of lashings of custard (as long as you got to the jug before Pa anyhow), roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings (not all together of course!).

So, in need of a cosmic hug this Valentine's day I decided to tackle what was happily the next recipe up from How to Eat. I went for a run first, as I was fairly sure once I started eating this I might eat the lot and putting a few extra calories in the eating bank might be a wise idea. As it happened my housemate wandered through the door at just the right moment to save me from myself and complete crumble oblivion.

I haven't ever made a crumble before, and had been intending to use exclusively rhubarb to celebrate its return to season. However the first forced pink shoots that have appeared in the shops are still prohibitively expensive so I threw some in (400g) and topped the rest up with some ever reliable Bramley apples (3 - apples, not grams). Unfortunately I hurled myself at the task with such zeal that I had chopped and cored the apples before remembering to peel them, something that becomes a lot harder when they're in small pieces, but I got there in the end!

Given the ever present nip in the air at the moment, I fancied something a bit spicier than any of Nigella's suggestions, so a quick Google around and a look at a few recipes and I decided just to chuck in a bunch of stuff I liked (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger) and hoped for the best. I sauteed the fruit first in a bit of butter as apparently it helps to cook off some of their liquid, meaning your crumble stays, well crumbly and not soggy. I grated in some fresh ginger (2cm) and sprinkled over a teaspoon of both spices, followed by a tablespoon of honey to take the edge off the fruit.

That done I turned my attention to the topping, mixing together 110g self-raising flour (because Nigella doesn't lower herself to stocking ordinary plain flour and 00 gauge is unnecessary apparently.), with 90g cold cubed butter - rubbing together until it 'looked like porridge oats' - before stirring in 3 tablespoons light muscavado sugar and 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar. It all looked fairly crumbly if possible a little over rubbed. Anyway she is very fond of putting things in the freezer so I left the topping in there to chill for 10 minutes before putting the fruit in a perspex dish (must be perspex, otherwise it isn't nostalgic) and dumping the topping on. 30 minutes or so in the (fan) oven at 160C and it was ready and bubbling away.

I STILL hadn't finished the vat of vanilla ice-cream  I made nearly a month ago so I served myself up a frankly startling sized bowl of both and sat down to watch my somewhat dubiously sourced copy of The Taste, starring none other than Nigella herself, as it turns out it wasn't a bad Valentine's day at all!

Kitchen wisdom gained:

  • Peel fruit before chopping it into small pieces.
  • The rhubarb I would have needed for this pie would have cost me £12 had I not added the apple! Wait until proper rhubarb season before reattempting. 
  • DO NOT leave rhubarb crumble out on the side when on a big night out. You will wake in the morning minus said crumble, a stomach ache and no recollection of having eaten it!
Domestic goddess points out of 10: A solid 6. Definitely one of the recipes on the way to Stepford wife.

Final score: Kat 2 - Nigella 1 - I took your recipe and raised you one!

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