Perfect Summer Delights: Rhubarb Lavender Crumble

25 Jun

Saw a bunch of juicy, thick and crunchy rhubarb at the grocer the other day, and it reminded me of this delicious recipe that’s perfect for summer, family gathering, BBQs, potlucks, or just to share for 2. Love the tarty rhubarb, the sweet fragrant lavender aftertaste, and the crunchy crumble. Pair with vanilla,  strawberry  or homemade honey ice cream (recipe below).

NOTE: The more sugar the better! You can’t say that about most recipes, but this one is fool proof. Use white granulated with some packed brown or golden. You can’t go wrong because it needs to counter the tartness of the rhubarb.

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Rhubarb Lavender Crumble

9×13 pan of rhubarb crumble – serves 4-8

2 pounds fresh rhubarb, leaves removed and discarded
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1 batch of Basic Oat Crumble Topping for Fruit – Softer Version (below)
3/4 cup sliced and toasted almonds
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a 9×13 pan by greasing lightly with butter or with oil spray. Cut the rhubarb stalks into small pieces – about the size of your knuckle. They should be evenly sized. Toss with the sugar, honey, and salt. Rub the lavender between your hands, crushing it into the rhubarb. Stir everything and spread evenly in the baking pan.
  2. Spread the crumble topping over the rhubarb. Melt the butter, toasted almonds, and brown sugar together in the microwave or in a small saucepan, and dot over the crumble topping.
  3. Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then serve with whipped cream or strawberry ice cream.

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Basic Oat Crumble Topping for Fruit – Softer Version

tops a 9×13 pan

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Nuts (optional)
Water or milk

Mix the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter. Add just enough water or milk so that the mix comes together in loose clumps – not too wet. Stir in the nuts, if using. Dot the fruit with the mixture evenly and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.

***

Honey Ice Cream

4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup pure honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups half-and-half
Optional infusions, inclusions* (add-ins) or swirls (see “Four Ways To Customize,” below)

*Infusions are flavors that are infused into the milk or cream; then the flavoring element (cinnamon stick, ginger, etc.) is removed. Inclusions is the industry term for what many of us call “mix-ins.” Of course, “inclusions” simply means “other things that are included” in the ice cream—nuts, chocolate chips, pieces of whatever.

  1. Whisk together eggs, honey and salt in medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring half-and-half to a full simmer with any infusions. Remove from heat. If infusing, cover and let steep 2 hours; strain into another medium saucepan and bring to a simmer again.
  2. Slowly add 1 cup of the simmering cream mix to the egg-honey mixture while whisking (to avoid scrambling the eggs); then return the egg and cream mixture to the saucepan.
  3. Again bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough to coat a spoon and the thermometer reads 170°F to 175°F, about 4 minutes (do not boil).
  4. Strain into a clean bowl and allow steam to escape before covering and chilling until cold (at least 3 hours and up to 1 day).
  5. Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions; add soft add-in ingredients half way through freezing or chunky ingredients during the last 2 to 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a bowl or tub, add any desired swirls and serve, or cover and freeze until firm—at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

Four Ways To Customize Honey Ice Cream

  1. Switch your dairy: Replace up to 1 cup of the half-and-half with heavy cream, plain yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream.
  2. Infusions: Infuse the cream base with 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite herbs (such as lavender or mint), spices (crushed sticks or cloves), botanicals (grated citrus rind or chopped ginger root), a split and scraped vanilla bean or a few saffron threads.
  3. Inclusions (Add-ins): Halfway through the churning process, add up to 1 cup of fruit orvegetable purée, soft cream cheese or blue cheese. Or, during the last 2 to 5 minutes, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of juicy berries, chunks of ripe fruit, nuts, bits of pure honeycomb or chocolate pieces.
  4. Swirls: Immediately after churning and before serving (or packing in freezer tubs), swirl in whatever creamy, thick confection that tempts, such as caramel or chocolate sauce.

Yield: 1 Quart

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