Trendy Rhubarb-Apricot Crumble

4 06 2008

Maybe it’s just the season, but it seems like everyone is cooking with rhubarb these days.  Not that I am complaining.  I love the distinct tartness it brings to desserts, making them feel suitable for breakfast, somehow.  It is great in combination with berries or stone fruits, but also makes a refreshing foil to fish dishes.  I bet it would make a decent tamarind substitute, and would add a seasonal zing to barbecue sauce.  Foie gras with caramelized rhubarb?  Camembert with rhubarb compote?  It is one of the ingredients that inspires me the most right now, and I expect to see more of it on restaurant menus in sweet, savory, and palate-cleansing applications.

At any rate, the increasing proliferation of rhubarb at the market has been tempting me, and I’ve been trying to wait until the stalks were good and rosy before buying a bunch to play around with.  When I mentioned to Nick to be on the lookout for good rhubarb, his first reaction was, “So you can make me a crumble?”  How could I let him down?  Besides, I love a good crumble myself.

Top golden, filling bubbly

Searching the internet in an attempt to figure out the approximate proportion of rhubarb to sugar to flour or cornstarch was ultimately an exercise in frustration.  Trying to reconcile grams (my scale) and cups (the recipes) can be, well, trying.  I ended up just winging it, as I so often do these days.  But I think it’s making me a better cook in the long run. 

The apricots were a last-minute addition, as I noticed that the ones I had bought a few days before were ripening swiftly, so into the mix they went.  It turned out to be a good flavor combination – less expected than strawberries with rhubarb, the apricots gave the filling a subtle, musky sweetness which married nicely with the bright tartness of the rhubarb.  If I’d had any cream in the house, I might have done something wacky like infusing it with the apricot kernels to make crème anglaise, but then I just would have been frustrated that I don’t have an ice cream maker here.

Recipe after the jump.  (Yes, it’s done by weight.)

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