I went to the Farmer’s Market last weekend looking for rhubarb, and came away disappointed. Then, at the local supermarket, what should be in the produce section, looking fresh and bright? I scooped up several handfuls of tender, young, red rhubarb stalks and a box of fresh raspberries. A fruit crumble turned out to be the answer to my rhubarb cravings.
A seasonal fruit crumble (or crisp) can be a quick and easy alternative to a fruit pie. If you choose your flavor combos carefully, and get the fruit to crumble ratio just right, you will have a stellar dessert treat. I used rhubarb and raspberries, because I think the rhubarb-strawberry combo is overdone. Seasoned with orange zest, a little candied ginger, and just enough sugar to temper the rhubarb’s bite, the fruit was spread into a shallow gratin dish (all the better for more surface area for the crumble topping). The crumble is made from butter, flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, and sliced almonds. I added ground ginger to the topping, to echo the flavor of the fruit filling.
When you top the fruit be sure to gather small clumps of the topping, and squeeze them together with your fingers, before scattering them on the filling. You want crunch and crumble, not a sandy layer of dry ingredients. This will produce an uneven and interesting texture to the topping. The final touch is a creme anglaise, or simple custard sauce, infused with the flavor of camomile tea.
And, perfection! Warm, tender fruit, crunchy, buttery topping, and cool, rich custard sauce…what more could you ask for? I think another trip to the store for rhubarb is in my immediate future. Happy weekend all!
Rhubarb-Raspberry Crumble with Camomile Anglaise
- For the fruit crumble:
- 1 1/4 pounds rhubarb , trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 1 6- ounce box of fresh raspberries , rinsed quickly and drained
- 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely diced candied ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- A splash of fresh orange juice
- A heaping teaspoon of finely grated orange zest
- 4 tablespoons cold , unsalted butter, plus a little soft butter for the gratin dish
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- A large pinch of Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- For the camomile anglaise:
- 1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 light cream
- 4 camomile tea bags
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter a gratin dish with a little softened butter. In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb, raspberries, sugar, candied ginger, cornstarch, orange juice and orange zest. Spread the fruit mixture evenly in the baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine the cold butter, brown sugar, flour, ground ginger, and salt. Cut the butter in to the mixture, with a pastry cutter or fork, until it resembles small peas. Add the rolled oats and sliced almonds and mix together. Pinch together small portions of the crumble and scatter over the top of the fruit mixture, covering it as evenly as possible.
Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake until the topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Cool until just pleasantly warm, then portion into dessert dishes and top with some of the camomile anglaise.
For the Anglaise:
Heat the light cream in a small saucepan until bubbles form around the edges and it is steaming hot. Add the tea bags and allow them to steep in the cream for at least a half hour or up to 1 hour. Strain the cream through a fine sieve, pressing on the tea bags. Add additional cream, if required, to measure 1 cup.
Set a sieve over a small bowl. Reheat the infused cream to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Carefully whisk a little of the hot cream into the yolk-sugar mixture, to temper the egg yolks. Now add the tempered yolks back into the cream, and cook the mixture carefully over medium-low heat until the sauce coats a spoon. Do not boil or it will curdle. Strain the custard sauce into the waiting bowl, and place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water. Stir until the custard has cooled, then remove the bowl from the ice bath, cover the custard and chill. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve with the fruit crumble, and keep leftover sauce tightly covered and refrigerated.