April 8, 2006
in place of cherry blossoms
At about this time last year, I was in Kyoto to see cherry blossoms blooming. This year, since I am at the moment here on the other hemisphere where it seems as if the summer turned directly into the winter, there is no post of cherry blossoms here. Instead, I've got something seasonal in pink at least - namely rhubarbs.
When it comes to an easy fruit treat, one of my usual suspects is crumbles;
And slightly gingered crumble happens to be one of my favorite way to eat rhubarbs. I've got my staple recipe for crumble base, but this time I used one by Delia Smith, which isn't remotely different from my own version anyways in that both uses almonds and ginger, though I left my almonds pretty chunky rather than finely chopping them.
This time I mixed in an apple for a texture, but it made rather moderate difference. I also served it with double cream instead of ice cream, which would be what I usually have with my crumble.
Speaking of rhubarb crumble with ice cream, how about giving a bit of twist to its composition;
Rhubarb crumble ice cream, whose recipe I happened to find when I got the Delia Smith rhubarb recipe mentioned above. It is basically ice cream made by mixing gingered rhubarb puree with cream, with crumble base broken into pieces mixed in, in a manner that you make cookie & cream ice cream. Funnily enough, when I made the rhubarb puree, it smelled and tasted like strawberry puree; and the ice cream did actually taste like strawberry or raspberry one. It was easy to make and very tasty, so I'll probably make this again, although I'd rather top rhubarb ice cream with crumble pieces rather than mixing them into the ice-cream base, because that way I'd get more of crunch from the crumble.
Okay, now here's something NOT crumble-involved;
Champagne-poached rhubarbs with rose water, served with coconut sorbet and fresh strawberries, which may sound rather swankish for something I make. Admittedly, the recipe I found in the March 2006 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller is by Philippa Sibley, an Australian pastry chef currently at a renowned Melbourne eatery Circa, The Prince. So it is certainly a restaurant-dessert type of stuff, specially if I had made sugar-coated rose petals as suggested in the recipe, which I didn't bother. Then what's left was quite simple; all I needed to do was to mix rhubarbs with sugar and a dash of rose water before baking them with sparkling wine, and make lime-scented coconut sorbet, with which I shortcut several steps and simply blended coconut cream, syrup, and grated zest of lime and churned it in an ice-cream maker.
The recipe used a regular white sparking wine, but I used a pink one which I served with the dessert. The dessert itself was quite sublime; the combination of rhubarb and rose was very charming, and I actually smelled and tasted sparking wine; cooking rhubarbs with the wine at a relatively low temperature seemed to manage to reserve the delicate scent of wine quite well. It also worked well in making the texture of the fruits just right; the rhubarb chunks held their shape beautifully, and were tender but not mashy.
Since I liked the scent of rose in rhubarbs, I might try it in something else, such as rhubarb cobbler with rose-scented cream by Claudia Fleming (whose recipes seem to be the flavor of the month among a lot of fellow Japanese food bloggers these days)....
posted by chika at: 4/08/2006 01:50:00 AM