:: Rhubarb is a most unexpected source of happiness.
Whoever first thought to harvest the sour, stocky, crimson-coloured stalks, throw them in a pot and boil them down with a heap of sugar clearly had an eye for potential, because it’s not until you do so that rhubarb reveals its culinary worth.
Admittedly, there are a couple of stumbling blocks for those with less adventurous palettes – one, is its distinct tartness that does need tempering with a certain amount of sugar and two, its stringy texture which some don’t find particularly appealing.
This is unfortunate, as rhubarb makes an excellent accompaniment to many sweeter fruits and its tartness cuts through desserts which would otherwise be too rich.
This rhubarb, raspberry and coconut crumble really is one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted (that is, outside my preferred cheesecake-and-lemon-tart duopoly). Jammy, tangy fruit medley contrasting with golden, crumbly coconut streusel and finally, vanilla ice cream melting over the top of the whole affair… What’s not to love?
Adapted slightly from the recipe in June 2004 issue of Australian Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
1 large bunch rhubarb (8 – 10 stalks)
1 box frozen raspberries
2 cups plain flour (or rice flour if you’re cooking gluten-free)
½ cup powdered coconut milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
125g unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup dessicated coconut (plus ½ cup coconut chips is you’re a coconut fan like me)
Preheat your oven to 180°C and brush a large oven-proof dish with melted butter. Trim the leaves from the rhubarb, wash well to remove any grit and cut the stems into 8cm lengths (or so that you can place two lines of rhubarb stalks down the length of your dish).
Sprinkle half a cup of dark brown sugar over the stalks, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the raspberries, then cover and place back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
To make the crumble, sift the flour, coconut milk powder and baking powder into a medium mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar, stirring so that everything is combined, then add the chopped butter.
At this point it’s far easier to throw everything in a food processor than to sit there rubbing it in manually with your finger tips. Whilst I find many other aspects of food prep therapeutic (kneading dough, peeling potatoes, even shelling prawns), this task is numbingly tedious and messy. Unfortunately my kitchen is not yet home to a food processor (Christmas present, anyone…?) but those of you who own one, TRUST me – bring it out now.
Once the flour and butter mix is thoroughly combined, add the dessicated coconut and coconut chips. Spoon the mixture over the rhubarb and raspberries and bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the syrup from the fruit starts to come through the crumble.
Serve hot with plenty of vanilla ice cream.