Things are moving very slowly, as we knew they would, but knowing doesn’t actually make it any easier. It’s heartbreaking to see the vegetable patch with only weeds in it and the greenhouse empty. We occasionally drive past our new house, the one we are moving to just a few miles away, and check it’s still there, that it isn’t all just a dream. We expected to have moved by now, had things gone to plan. Unfortunately our buyers “changed their buyers” three weeks into the process so went back to square one and we’re now in a chain of five instead of just three.
Anyway, baking is good therapy and to cheer myself up I picked up this little book by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde the other day. It’s full of recipes inspired by the Chocolat series of novels by Joanne Harris, two of which I have read and enjoyed, the third sits on the bookshelf in our little French cottage, a treat to look forward to on our next visit.
This book has a lot of nice recipes, many of which I am unlikely to ever cook but reading them is a joy. Being short of baking time, books and equipment at the moment reduces my ability to bake much and I have to say, I don’t really have the heart for it either. But when my dad comes for his dinner on a Sunday evening a crumble is the order of the day. He and Nick love a good crumble and in this book there is a recipe called “Roux’s Ginger Crumble” and is described as “Spicy yet mellow, just like Roux” (Roux being a character in the novels.)
The recipe uses apples, pears, stem ginger and dark chocolate. Inspection of my ever diminishing store cupboards revealed no stem ginger but a few spoonfuls of ginger preserve in a jar, a bar of white chocolate, a jar of “gelée de coings” (quince jelly, a gift from a friend in France) and a cooking apple. There were also a few sticks of rhubarb on our plants in the garden. Knowing how well rhubarb goes with both ginger and white chocolate, I decided to have a go at a version of the recipe.
When we move I shall miss the rhubarb plant as much as anything. I still miss the two huge rhubarb plants left behind when my dad moved after my mum died. It has taken several years to get our own plants going and they provide enough fruit for a few crumbles every year. The sticks on our plants are a bit short and young yet but…..I decided we might as well have them otherwise “our buyers” will be the ones to enjoy them.
It’s difficult to make a crumble look like anything other than a splodge of pudding on a plate so I didn’t try very hard. However, it was, without doubt, truly delicious. It got the thumbs up from both Nick and my dad and I will definitely be making it again.
This is my version, inspired by, rather than adapted from, the “Chocolat” recipe:
For the crumble
200g plain flour
75g golden caster sugar
1 tblsp demerara sugar (optional)
For the filling
a few short sticks of rhubarb, wiped and cut into 2cm pieces
1 large cooking apple, peeled and sliced
2 tblsp ginger preserve
1 tblsp quince jelly (optional)
50g golden caster sugar
100g bar white chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6. Grease a suitable baking dish, not too shallow, not too deep.
To make the crumble topping, put the flour and butter into a food processor and blitz to make breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar and pulse briefly to combine.
Put the rhubarb pieces and apple slices into the baking dish, mixing them together in a single, even layer.
Put the ginger preserve and quince jelly (if using) into a small saucepan, add a small splash of water and heat gently and stir until they are all melted together into a syrup. Pour this over the fruit.
Sprinkle over the caster sugar then the chopped chocolate.
Top with the crumble mixture and sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top (if using).
Bake for about 30 minutes until the crumble is golden and the fruit is bubbling up around the edges.
Serve warm with cream, custard, ice cream or crème fraîche.