Say cheese for rhubarb

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

(Three posts in a row! It must be the season - I have a spring in my step......;P)

Sometimes, I’m really slow on the uptake. I give you exhibit A: Rhubarb.

I’d seen rhubarb around every winter for the past decade (yes, I did mention the slowness) - and even tried it once but was so unimpressed (too mushy) that I never touched it again. Until last Sunday.

The change of heart came about because the bunch of rhubarb at my favourite market stall looked so beautiful and red I just couldn’t resist.

As usual, I headed straight for The Cook’s Companion – my go-to book when faced with an ingredient I’m unfamiliar with. Following the instructions given (heavy saucepan, medium heat, tightly covered and minimal water), I ended up with lovely stewed rhubarb in less than 10 minutes.

Rhubarb is usually served with custard, but because of the non-custard majority in residence, I opt for a crumble (crisp) instead. There are too many apples in the fruit bowl, so they go into the crumble too.

stewed rhubarb and appleClockwise from top left: Sugared rhubarb ready to cook, Apples and cinnamon (of course), Cooked rhubarb, Not quite cooked rhubarb.

Then I remember a pie crust I’d read about in Leith’s Book of Desserts (Valaria Sisti) that incorporates cheddar cheese in the pastry. Brilliant idea! So I pop some parmesan cheese into my favourite crumble recipe.

I didn’t tell anyone about the cheese until they’d gotten most of the way through dessert. They think I’m joking, then pull the most hilarious “I-can’t-believe-you’d-do-this-to-me” faces. But it’s temporary. They get over it and admit it tastes really, really good.

rhubarb crumbleA spoonful of goodness

The cheese really does lend a richness to the crumble topping, and I’ll definitely be doing cheese again especially when using fruit such as pears and apples, and maybe grapes.

Crumble topping
adapted from the Cook’s Companion (Stephanie Alexander)

100g plain flour
50g butter (diced)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
1-2 heaped tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (depending how cheesy you like stuff)
Stewed/ Poached fruit (drained) – about 2 cups
(I used a mix of the rhubarb and stewed apples spiced with cinnamon)

Sift flour and baking powder together. On a flat surface, chop the butter into the flour, rubbing in any huge bits of butter. Don’t worry if mixture is not entirely uniform. Work sugar then parmesan cheese through the crumble mixture.

Put fruit into a lightly buttered baking dish or individual ramekins. Spoon crumble topping over the top. Place ramekins / dish on a baking tray (to catch drips) and bake in a moderately high oven until topping is golden and filling is bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

more rhubarb crumble


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe well you got there with a great sounding recipe! :) Rhubarb is great when it's in season (but expensive when it is not-ouch!)

isa said...

Your crumble sounds delicious! I love the addition of parmesan cheese - great idea!

Hungry Dog said...

Looks delicious!! The parmesan cheese in the crust is such an interesting idea--I love that you sneak it in on your guests! :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love rhubarb and crumbles! A wonderful treat!



Anh said...

Absolutely delicious. I love rhubarb in dessert. It adds such a nice tart dimension.

Liz said...

This is a genius idea! I love cheese with fruit desserts, but I would never have thought of adding parm to a crumble! Will give it a go next time for sure.

Grace said...

i’ve never been particularly enamored of rhubarb myself, but i daresay that you could put anything beneath that crumble topping and i’d enjoy it. :)

shaz said...

Thanks everyone - Iw as quite surprised at good it tasted. I've been dreaming about rhubarb all week, really hope I haven't bought the last batch of the season - how ironic would that be!

shaz said...

I should go to bed now, I can't even type straight.

Julia @ Mélanger said...

Fantastic idea adding the cheese. I love rhubarb crumble!