Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Old Love, Crumbled

A few days ago I caught up with someone who was once a very special person in my life. Years have gone by since we last conversed but she's still the same striking, unconventional, deeply intelligent and self-possessed woman that I remember. It's strange - even after so much time apart we met again with the same comfort and ease. Amidst the frantic pace, I'd resigned myself long ago to the thought of never seeing her again. Together in the silences, sitting close enough to trace her hands, her face, her lips; I wanted so much to cast off my remaining inhibitions and blurt out "I've never stopped loving you".

Somewhere on the journey home I realised that occasionally a taste is required to remind ourselves of the things that we've always loved and momentarily forgotten.

After a long leave of absence, rhubarb crumble made a reappearance at the dining table to much delight, and perhaps, even a little surprise. It's been a while since I've given a humble crumble the time of day. I've come to consider it as a "fallback dessert" - possible to whip up with minimal ingredients and the most meager of tools.

Perhaps it was the crimson rhubarb, stems snipped from their crowns under drawing dusk; maybe the apples with their blanket of floral perfume were to blame, the mandarins, just fallen from their bowing branches; or the Madagascan vanilla, so sweet and seductive; that brought me back to appreciate this simple dessert.

Baked in the oven with a sprinkling of rapadura sugar for a boost of extra caramelisation and served while still warm with a zealous dollop of cold and tangy sheep's milk yoghurt, some old loves are truly worth pining for.

Rhubarb Crumble

a dozen stems of freshly picked rhubarb (20cm long)
1 fuji apple
2 mandarins, zested and juiced
castor sugar
unsalted butter
1 vanilla pod, split & scraped
all-purpose flour
a sprinkling of Murray River salt flakes
rapadura sugar
lots of sheep's milk yoghurt
Give the rhubarb a rinse and dry.
Finely slice stems and place in a small pot.
Dice the apple into small cubes and add to rhubarb.
Add mandarin juice to pot and cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then until apples have collapsed.
Add castor sugar to taste and cook for a few minutes until jammy.
Stir through mandarin zest and spoon into a ceramic dish.
Rub about half a cup of diced cold butter with a large pinch of castor sugar, a small pinch of salt, scraped vanilla seeds and enough flour to form a clumpy, breadcrumby consistency.
Sprinkle this over the rhubarb in a thick layer.
Sprinkle a little rapadura sugar over the crumble topping.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180ºC or until golden and bubbling.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with a generous amount of yoghurt.


  1. Rhubarb crumble is my favourite :-) I'm looking for a way to contact you about a recipe - how is best?

  2. i've included a basic recipe in my post :)

  3. Sorry, I wasn't very clear! I've made a dish using one of your recipes as a base but tweaked it to suit what I was doing. I always link back where I've based something on someone else's recipe but I noticed that you have no derivative works notice so I wanted to check first (macaron recipe).

  4. oh sorry! :P feel free to link to whatever you like. i'm not fussy about this sort of thing. i like sharing things that i've learned and just hope others do the same! :)

  5. I am very fond of crumbles, particularly rhubarb. Yours looks beautiful! Thanks for sharing with Grow Your Own.

  6. I love seasonal fruit crumbles...they always stir up emotion =) Yours sounds delicious!


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