Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crumbly In My Tumbly - Rhubarb Crumble

Well, I had the best intentions when I started this off-shoot of Culinary Alchemy.  Alas, it has fallen to the wayside in lieu of pressing personal matters, (Even Culinary Alchemy is suffering from a lack of postage) lack of inspiration and the fact that I have not really been using much CorningWare of late... Lots of quickly tossed pasta dishes, you know.

The rhubarb is in full swing though, so I decided it was time to whip out one of my favorite Goodwill finds from last year and make a crumble.  What is a "crumble", you ask?

Well, it's in the genus of bottomless pies (spoon pies) just like crisps, slumps, cobblers, grunts, pandowdies and even a Brown Bettys.  (they are called "spoon pies", cause you eat them with a spoon, not a fork) Of all the spoon pies out there, the Crisp is the closest relative.  They are kind of like siblings, really. You see, Crumbles are usually topped with, what amounts to, a brown sugar shortbread topping (very similar to a streusel topping, minus the cinnamon).  Crisps are covered with a VERY similar mixture, however, the topping usually has Oatmeal and/or Nuts added as well. Thus rendering a Crisp "crispier" than a "crumbly" Crumble.

Did that make any sense?

Anyway, this blog is not about Spoon Pie semantics, it's about CorningWare...

The reason I love CorningWare is that it's stove top capable.  (Please do not try this with the current stoneware that "World Kitchen" is marketing under the CorningWare name)  This is extremely handy when making a Rhubarb Crumble, since the filling needs to be cooked on the stove prior to baking in the oven.  Rhubarb tends to require a longer cook time than most pie crust (and crumble toppings) can withstand.  Ergo, I partially cook the rhubarb before constructing my final "oven ready" dish of deliciousness.
(a step not really necessary for most other crumbles or crisps)

This particular Grab-It dish is all I need to cook and bake a wonderful Crumble.  OK, I did need separate bowl for the mixing, but you know what I mean.

This is a P-270-B Grab-it 1 1/4 qt casserole dish.....

Complete with a lid.

Which, when finding "finds" at the Goodwill or Salvation Army, is the part that is usually missing.  (Bonus!) 

Rhubarb Crumble

1 CorningWare "Grab-It" Casserole (P-270-B) though the lid is not necessary.
16 oz (500g) Rhubarb (500g is really about 17 oz)
1/3 cup (112g) (4 oz by weight) Orange Blossom Honey
1 TB Grand Marnier
A tiny pinch of Cinnamon
2 tsp Cornstarch

5 oz (140g) AP Flour
1/4 cup (50g)  Light Brown Sugar (or light Muscovado)
3 oz (85g) (6TB) Unsalted Butter
pinch of Kosher Salt

Incidentally, I used my favorite Rhubarb cultivar, Victoria (AKA: Strawberry Rhubarb).  It's nice and tart, without being too astringent and best of all, it kind of tastes like strawberries. Which is why I grew up hearing it called "Strawberry Rhubarb".

Cut the Rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks.

Place in a medium bowl and drizzle with the Honey.

Let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours until it begins to "juice up", then add Grand Marnier and stir.

Add a teeny tiny pinch of cinnamon and stir again.

Drain off the juice into your CorningWare Grab-it Casserole dish.

Whisk in 2 tsp Cornstarch.

Turn up the flame on the stove to medium.

Add the rhubarb and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that everything is all nice and glossy.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F degrees (180 C).
Wash and dry the bowl you used for the rhubarb and begin making the crumble topping.

Combine AP Flour, Brown Sugar, and Salt in the bowl, tossing well to remove any lumps in the brown sugar.

Grate the Butter over the flour mixture. (A nifty trick I learned from my friend Michael, who owns Sunny Day Coffee on NW 23rd and Everett in Portland)

Toss to coat the butter, then begin working it all together until you end up with what looks like a moist golden sand, that holds together when squeezed, but breaks apart easily.

Set aside until the Rhubarb finishes cooking,

at which point, you can remove the dish from the stove....

and sprinkle the crumble topping over the surface evenly.

Grab the dish with potholders (cause it's hot) and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Once it's all nice and bubble around the edges, its done.

Let cool for about 20 minutes.

Serve a big scoop with a large dollop of fluffy whipped cream.

And if there is any left over.....

Simply store in the refrigerator for later.

Where is your Corningware??