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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Almost rhubarb crumble

There are a lot of rhubarb recipes on other foodblog sites at the moment, all from the northern hemisphere, which surprised me as I've always thought of rhubarb as a winter thing. My mum would make stewed apple and rhubarb on cold winter days, and rhubarb crumble is definitely an Australian winter dish.
I was thinking of making a rhubarb tart for the last SHF, but confused myself so about when I could get it here. Cookbooks from the UK and USA often mention how briefly rhubarb is in season. So I turned to Stephanie Alexander's 'Cook's Companion' as I always do when looking for information on an ingredient and discovered that Australia doesn't have a rhubarb season; it is available all year-round! Moreover Australian rhubarb is always pink, tender and non-stringy. Fantastic news!
So, this stewed rhubarb is the product of using up the bunch sitting in the fridge that wasn't used for my tart. I had imagined I'd need to place the rhubarb in the oven and bake it for a long time, but Stephanie recommended her much quicker method to make a puree.
All you do it chop it into 3cm slices, place in a heavy pot with a lid, strew with a generous sprinkling of sugar (I used 100g) and a few spoonfuls of water. So much liquid comes out of rhubarb that extra liquid is unnecessary. Cover and cook it at a medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, and give it a stir to mix. It should be nearly ready. Cook for a few more minutes, and the puree will be done.
To my rhubarb I added a few bruised cardamom pods and some rosewater, which gave it a more exotic flavour. I also added a little lemon juice at the end, because I don't like things too sweet.
Rhubarb puree - perfect in a crumble, but also pretty darn good with some yoghurt and a handful of home-made granola.


  • Excellent idea Niki. I usually let the rhubarb macerate for a night in the refrigerator, with sugar to help get the water out of the rhubarb, then the next day cook it for about 20 minutes. Will try your way. Saves a lot of time.

    By Blogger Ana, at 6/22/2005 01:48:00 pm  

  • Looks so delicious Niki! I love rhubarb. Great colours in your photo too.

    By Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop), at 6/22/2005 02:19:00 pm  

  • I do nearly the same sort of stewed rhubarb. Sometimes I add apples and partially puree it into applesauce, which I like with plain yoghurt. You're lucky to be able to get it all year, though!

    By Blogger Nic, at 6/22/2005 02:26:00 pm  

  • What, rhubarb all-year-round? Always pink? No strings? Are you joking? Are Australians aware of their luck? Possibly not, we seldom realize how good we have something till we see it otherwise.... sigh.
    Here in Europe, Germany specifically, there is like a two-month rhubarb-window, and even then you have to search long to find some which are pink not only on the outside but the inside as well (usually they are green inside and turn brownish when cooked)and then you have a good deal of cleaning to do as well with all those strings....

    By Anonymous Hande, at 6/22/2005 07:30:00 pm  

  • Ana - I can understand leaving it overnight to bring some of the water out. This puree is pretty liquidy. 20 minutes is not so long really, especially if you get a more solid puree at the end.

    AG - thank you. I was pleasantly surprised by this photo, actually.

    Nic - I very nearly added some applesauce to this myself! But I remember I needed to keep the sauce for another batch of granola I was making. But apple and rhubarb with yoghurt would be delicious.

    Hande - Yes, really! All year round, bright pink and no strings! I didn't realise how lucky we were either! I must admit I was a little surprised hearing about the short rhubarb season in Europe, because I always remember having rhuarb all through the winter, but I never knew we could get it all year round. I'm planning to use it a lot more now!
    Hmm - brown stringy rhubarb doesn't sound so attractive, to be honest. I'm pretty pleased with our Barbie Pink variety.
    I wonder what it is about Australia that means we can get it all year? We have a huge variety in climat around the country, which could be it, but then the USA would also have it available all year round, as they have a similar variety of climates. I really don't know!

    By Blogger Niki, at 6/23/2005 11:34:00 am  

  • Man, you have rhubarb all year long? Lucky. We have two huge plants in our garden, but only for two short months. Sure they're nice and red, but so stringy. I'm so jealous!

    By Anonymous Laura, at 6/24/2005 12:45:00 pm  

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