Since Saturday I have been told that rhubarb has been at the market, but it’s still very new and in scarce quantities. Lazy bones that I am it’s always noon-ish or later before I get to Union Square from the Lower East Side and by then it’s gone. I love rhubarb. When I was a little boy in Hamilton, Ontario Canada my brother and I used to live in with our Grandparents in the Summer, they had a small house on a dead end street with a neighbor whose back yard opened up into this unkempt abandoned lot, rhubarb grew there like a week. My favorite thing to do was to pick as much as I could carry and bring it back to my grandmother, she give me a jar of sugar and sit down and put one end of the rhubarb into my mouth to make it nice and wet then dip it into the sugar, biting off the sugary coated part, loving the pooh pooh platter of mouth water sour rhubarb juxtaposed to the granular sweetness of the white sugar.
For the last several weeks I’ve been craving Rhubarb crumble with Strawberry Ice Cream, so in advance of actually getting my hands on some rhubarb and probably several weeks before we see a strawberry here’s some recipes to to get you ready for that magic convergence that will soon be upon us.
(This is an update from an earlier posting – I’m obsessed)
Chop 4 cups of rhubarb into roughly 1” sections, add 1 cup sugar and 2 T unbleached all purpose flour , toss together until the rhubarb is well coated, put into a 2 quart baking dish. Place 1 cup walnuts (or pecans or even almonds in a pinch) in a food processor and process until the nuts are ground, but still have a diverse texture. Add 1 cup wholewheat flour, 6 T brown sugar and 2 T white sugar, 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t salt and mix, using your hands incorporate: 12 T unsalted butter a few tablespoons at a time. This mixture is very moist. Spread it over the rhubarb and bake in the middle of a 375° oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling and thick around the sides. I love to serve this with unsweetened whipped cream or with a few tablespoons of crème fraiche – go ahead and add some sugar if you like it sweeter and, depending on how sour the crumble, this might be a good tack for those at your table who prefer their crumble sweeter. You can find my favorite Strawberry Ice Cream recipe here.
Serve with Rhubarb Crumble.
*The reason I like to add a small amount of alcohol to ice cream is because it prevents it from getting really hard and gives it a nice reliable texture.