Yesterday I indulged in the earliest forced rhubarb from Yorkshire, the rhubarb triangle. It was almost a tenner a kilo. January to March, rhubarb is grown indoors, and picked at night by candlelight. Unlike the outdoor version, forced rhubarb is delicate. This vegetable, originally from Siberia, tends to be used in desserts. Tarty in taste and lipstick pink in colour, and ideally with a texture similar to but softer than celery, I looked forward to rhubarb crumble day at school dinners.
1 kilo of forced rhubarb, chopped into long sections to fit in a pan.
100-150g of caster sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
I added a handful of cardomom seeds (optional)
For the crumble:
100g Plain Flour
100g caster Sugar
100g Butter, diced. (salted or unsalted, it’s your choice, I like a little salt even in sweet dishes).
100g Rolled Oats
100g Ground almonds (optional)
Lay the rhubarb in a pan and sprinkle over the sugar.
Bake lightly for ten minutes (not too long as it’ll go too mushy).
I drain off the syrupy liquid for use in champagne cocktails. I leave a bottle of the syrup on the Aga to reduce it.
Then rub the diced butter into the flour so that it ressembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar, oats and almonds.
Sprinkle over the rhubarb, right to the edges, pressing down firmly. According to Delia it’s crispier that way.
Bake for 15 minutes in a medium oven until bubbly and oozing.
Serve with cream or custard or….both.