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Sweet & Tart Rhubarb-Pineapple Crumble

Servings: 6-8
What is a Crumble?

A crumble is a dish of British origin containing fresh or stewed fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of fat (usually butter), flour, and sugar. The crumble is baked in an oven until the topping is crisp. It is often served with custard, cream or ice cream as a hearty, warm dessert after a meal.

Popular fruits used in crumbles include apple, blackberry, peach, rhubarb, gooseberry and plum. The topping may also include rolled oats, ground almonds or other nuts, and sometimes sour milk (e.g. vinegar and milk) is added to give the crumble a more extravagant taste. Brown sugar is often sprinkled over the crumble topping, which caramelises slightly when the pudding is baked. In some recipes the topping is made from broken biscuits (cookies in American English) or even breakfast cereals, but this is not traditional.

Crumbles originated in Britain during World War II. Due to strict rationing: the ingredients required to make the bases of pies contained too much of the necessary flour, fat and sugar to make the pastry. So a simple mixture of flour, margarine and sugar was used to make the top of the crumble. The dish was also popular due to its simplicity, as it allowed women more time to do other tasks.

In some parts of America a very similar dish may be called a crisp. It is also similar to a fruit cobbler (popular in the USA), although the topping for a cobbler is generally smoother and less crumbly.

Source: Wikipedia.com

What is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb, which looks like a pink celery stalk, is botanically a vegetable, but it is used as a fruit, largely in pies and sauces. (In some areas, it is referred to as "pie plant.") The ancient Chinese cultivated the plant for its roots, which reputedly have medicinal properties, and it didn't gain acceptance as a food in the United States until the late 1700s.

The roots and leaves aren't eaten; indeed, the leaves are highly poisonous. At one time, the toxicity was attributed to their exceedingly high levels of oxalic acid, a substance that can interfere with iron and calcium absorption. However, the exact source of the leaf toxin has yet to be determined, since rhubarb stalks also contain significant amounts of oxalic acid (as do a few other foods, such as spinach).

Rhubarb stalks are extremely tart and they require sweetening to make them appetizing. This can increase their Calorie content considerably. For example, a typical recipe for rhubarb pie calls for 4 cups of diced rhubarb to which 1 1/4 cups of sugar are added. This converts 104 calories' worth of rhubarb to more than 1,000 calories. An alternative to this is to sweeten rhubarb with other, sweeter fruits, such as apples.

Field-grown rhubarb appears on the market from April through June or July. Hothouse rhubarb, which is cultivated in California, Oregon, and Michigan, is mainly harvested from January through June. Rhubarb is also available frozen.

In this version of a crumble, I have added a batter to be poured over the fruit, then the topping mixture is sprinkled over the batter. It's a little bit richer then most crumbles, but really not too much different in taste. I think you'll like it.....Diana, Diana's Desserts

For the Fruit:
2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup (or 8-ounce can) crushed pineapple, drained

For Batter:
1 egg, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. self-rising flour
2 tbsp. lemon juice

For Topping:
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) butter, softened

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting top (optional)

Serve with:
Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce (see recipe below)

For the Topping:
Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Lightly grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray a 9-inch square or round baking dish (ceramic or glass baking dish is best).

For the Fruit:
Place rhubarb cubes in bottom of prepared baking dish and spread crushed pineapple over the rhubarb.

For the Batter:
Combine batter ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Pour batter over fruit mixture. Sprinkle with topping mixture.

Bake crumble in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer dish to cooling rack. Let cool, then dust with confectioners' sugar (optional). Serve while still a bit warm or at room temperature. If desired, serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce (see recipe for Vanilla Sauce below). Crumble may be refrigerated for up to 2 days or can be wrapped well, and frozen.

Cut crumble with a knife, then spoon out onto serving plates with a large spoon or spatula.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Vanilla Sauce

1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or double cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine all sauce ingredients except vanilla in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (5 to 8 minutes). Stir in vanilla. Spoon over pudding.

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall ©2007

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: April 14, 2007