Sunday, 18 January 2009

Rhubarb and apple streusel

Serendipity – happy coincidences – isn’t just a rather weak romcom starring John Cusack (not that it’s stopped me from watching it about six times – like everything else John Cusack’s in) it actually exists in real life. “How so?” I hear you ask; well a week ago I was walking around Borough Market in my lunch hour and saw some beautiful forced rhubarb. I didn’t buy it because I didn’t have a recipe. Then, during the week, I came across this one so went back and bought my rhubarb!

I hate the name forced rhubarb, as it sounds a bit violent – I always wonder what the poor rhubarb was forced to do. Of course, I’m being silly; “forced” in this context means that it is grown out of season and indoors - it is also the most glorious shade of pink imaginable. Usually all my cakes are made with garden (free range?) rhubarb which is a summer crop.

This is an interesting cake as there isn’t actually any ‘cake’ part to the dish! It’s fruit sandwiched between crumbly streusel, the bottom layer of which bakes down into a base that is part cakey and part biscuity and totally delicious. You can see what I mean in these photos:

As it bakes the fruit releases juices into the bottom layer of crumble. In order not to lose any of these I used a cake tin liner which is an all in one liner i.e. no joins or gaps. It’s a good idea to use one of these not only to catch all the fruity juices but also because this type of cake is always quite fragile until it has cooled and a liner makes it easier to pick up and move.

The other curious thing with this cake is that it’s bigger going into the oven than coming out – which is the opposite of practically every other cake. Going into the oven the cake is piled up to the top of the tin, but as it cooks the fruit breaks down.

The cake is so packed with fruit you can see it trying to burst free in this photo:

The tart acidity of the rhubarb teamed with the sweet apple and almond crumble is a delightful combination. You could serve the cake warm with custard for dessert or at room temperature with whipped cream. I added a little custard to my cream as rhubarb and custard is a classic that must be adhered to whenever possible.

Rhubarb Crumble on Foodista

For the fruit:
4 eating apples, peeled, cored and diced
300g rhubarb
80g golden caster sugar

For the streusel:
250g plain flour
125g ground almonds
125g golden caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, diced – use it straight from the fridge, the colder the better

To serve: custard or cream

How to make:

- Preheat oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/ Gas mark 5.
- Line a 20cm round springform tin.
- Chop the rhubarb into approximately 3cm chunks and place in a bowl with the diced apple.
- Sprinkle over the sugar and stir through the fruit so all of it is coated. Put to one side.
- Put all the ingredients for the streusel into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. It is vital that the butter is cold otherwise you will get a dough rather than a crumble. If this does happen, all is not lost – simply refrigerate and then grate.
- Press a smidgen over half of the streusel mix into the prepared cake tin.
- Place the rest of the streusel in the fridge – I found this stopped it getting warm and clumpy.
- Tip all the fruit on top and then, using the palm of your hand, press down quite firmly. There is a lot of fruit and you need to compress it in order to fit the rest of the streusel on top.
- Scatter the remaining streusel on top. It should come up to the very brim of the tin.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour or until the top is golden and crispy and you can see juices bubbling up. Mine took a little longer at 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
- Serve either at room temperature with some whipped cream or warm with custard.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


J.Danger said...

I LOVE streusel. Especially the kind with fruit. Mmmmm.

Soo said...

That looks AMAZING!

Margaret said...

What a wonderful dessert. The pink rhubarb looks beautiful.

Dee said...

I'm so glad you explained what the rhubarb was forced to do :) The fruit trying to burst free is priceless, as is the recipe.

Rhubarb is ridiculously expensive here; 14 ringgit a pop!

CookiePie said...

WOW - that looks really delicious. I love rhubarb (and don't mind it being forced... into my mouth), and what a perfect way to use it!

Cakespy said...

Oh my. Streusel and John Cusack got me hooked on the post, but the custard/cream put me over the edge!

Sam said...

That looks gorgeous! I haven't seen any rhubarb in the shops yet, I'll go rhubarb hunting tomorrow!

CakeItaly said...

Wow fantastic ideas for my next lunch with my friends.

Bye from Italy by - A taste of Italian sweets

If you want you cant add your blog in my blogroll All your recipes

Gena in Dallas said...

I think I gained 10 pounds looking at the pictures and reading the recipe!!!!

glamah16 said...

I am basking in the glory. The streusal makes it look so light.Great dessert.

Abby said...

I've never had rhubarb, but I'd love to try it someday. It's such a beautiful color!

And one of my fave movies of ALL TIME is High Fidelity. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Rosie said...

What an amazing dessert and I adore the colour of your pink rhubarb.

Sorry I've not called by for a while due to illness. Playing catch up with your wonderful creations :0)

Rosie x

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wowsie - that looks like it's set to become my favourite winter dessert. Just like that. Fabulous.

Maria said...

The streusel looks wonderful! I love rhubarb too!

Sara said...

This is really beautiful. I have a bag of rhubarb in the freezer, I need to try making this soon!

Foodista said...

Ive made something like this months ago, now you just reminded me how good it is, and I really need to bake one again :) This is sooo good!

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Sarah said...

I've been looking for a recipe like this for a long time! There is actually a little bake shop that has something similar but the bottom is almost like a shortbread and then a layer of strawberries with a crumble mixture on top. Simply delightful!

Jenny Beck said...

I finally got around to making this at the weekend and it did not disappoint! Delicious warm with some clotted cream, mmmmmmmmmm.

Thank you!