Tuesday, May 24, 2011

rhubarb & pineapple crumble

this crumble was absolutely delicious when we had it warm with vanilla ice cream for dessert last night and it was perhaps even better for breakfast this morning - cold, with plain greek yogurt and rhubarb-vanilla syrup. it is not terribly sweet, and the rhubarb and pineapple play off each other well. the crumble topping is easy and easily customizable based on whatever you have on hand. make it today!

i used about 2/3 of a fresh pineapple (i am on such a pineapple kick these days - weird) and 4 large stalks of rhubarb. basically i was going for relatively equal amounts of each, with perhaps a little bit more rhubarb since it comes first in the name of the dish.

wash the rhubarb and slice into thinnish coins - these were like 1/4 inch, i think.

breaking down a pineapple is sort of like when you cut the skin and pith from an orange or other citrus fruit - remove the top and bottom, then stand it up and take the pointies off in swaths by cutting down around the fruit with a sharp knife. the thinner the swaths, the less you will waste, since you can be more precise. if you end up with good pineapple on the part you cut off, you can consider it a little treat for either you or your dogs - ours love it.

then i cut it from the top down into quarters and cut out the tough center part from each quarter (our dogs like chewing on those, too). then make another cut downward halfwayish between where the tough center was and the outside - that's just to make sure your pieces are similar to the rhubarb bits in size. then put each quarter on its back (like in the above picture) and slice from pole to pole in 1/4 inch pieces, then turn and slice those so that you end up with fairly uniform pieces (as above).

put them in a large bowl together and add brown sugar to taste - for this amount, i used something around 2/3 of a cup (not packed), but the pineapple was pretty sweet and also i don't like things crazy-sweet, so you may want more. let this all stew together for an hour or more so that the pineapple releases some juice and they all get to be good friends.

crumble topping: this is somewhat based on whatever you have on hand.

i used about 1/2 cup flour, 2/3 cup rolled oats (not. instant.), 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup roasted cashews (cashews and pineapple are good buddies, but it's really just because that's what we had - you could use other nuts or leave them out altogether), 1-2 tablespoons of finely cut up crystallized ginger (also loves pineapple and rhubarb. the amount really depends on how much you love ginger. also you can leave this out or could use a bit of powdered dry ginger instead), and a couple of tablespoons of cold butter. i cut up the butter and then smooshed into the dry mix until it was relatively uniform and crumbly. this amount of butter made it nice and crumbly and crispy, but it does not stick together like some crumbles do - if you want a thicker, more toothsome texture, you're going to have to use more butter.

when you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 350.

add a tablespoon or so of cornstarch or the same of instant tapioca to the rhubarb-pineapple mixture - this helps dry up some of the liquid that is released, but is probably not mandatory. put it in the pan and cover with the crumble topping.

stick it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour. mine took around an hour.
the pan i used was about 7 x 10 inches and is about 4 inches deep, so if yours differs you may need to adjust the baking time accordingly. it is really not rocket science, though - just check on it every 20 minutes or so and see how brown the top is and maybe poke a piece of the rhubarb to see if it is soft.

once it's done, you probably should let it set up a bit, so leave it alone (difficult, i know!) to think about the massive changes life has thrown at it lately. once it's gotten its head around those (perhaps 15 minutes), you can serve it up with some of that vanilla ice cream with little speckles in it. or i suppose with whatever kind of ice cream you want. coconut or caramel would be good, i think. ANYTHING will be good, let's face it. eat up!



2/3 of a fresh pineapple

4 large stalks fresh rhubarb

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch or instant tapioca

crumble topping:
1/2 cup flour - either all purpose or wheat or whatever kind you fancy

2/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped roasted cashews, salted or not

1-2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon dried powdered ginger

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