Forced rhubarb is a British ingredient worthy of celebration. It is very much a labour of love. After the first frosts, the rhubarb is transplanted into darkened sheds and gentle heat applied, resulting in accelerated growth. It is harvested by hand in candlelight, and the resulting fruit is vivid red, far sweeter and more tender than the regular variety. In this recipe, it is lightly seasoned with rosewater and made into a crumble. The porridge oats and poppy seeds add a lovely nuttiness and texture here, and the high butter content transforms it into something more indulgent. Pre-cooking the mix effectively results in a crumblier crumble. Cooking the rhubarb separately first to make a compote also gives a better end result than baking the fruit from raw. Feel free to serve with custard or ice cream should you prefer; that decision is always a completely personalized affair and cause for dispute!
300g Forced rhubarb, cut into 2 cm pieces
60g Caster sugar
1/4 Lemon, juice of
100g Rhubarb, forced, cut into 2cm pieces
20g Caster sugar
1 tbsp Rosewater
- Cook the rhubarb with the sugar and lemon juice in a pan on a medium heat for 10 mins, stirring until cooked but not too liquid. Keep the lid on for the first couple of minutes to help produce some steam, then remove it to help evaporate the liquid.
- Mix the remaining rhubarb and sugar together and then mix into the compote with the rosewater
75g Salted butter
75g Plain flour
75g Soft brown sugar
75g Porridge oats, jumbo
10g Poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Mix everything together in a kitchen aid or by hand until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then transfer to a baking tray.
- Bake for 25 mins stirring every 10 mins, until golden and crunchy.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Clotted cream / custard / ice cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Place the rhubarb mix in the base of a gratin dish and spread flat. Sprinkle over the crumble topping.- Cook for 20 mins until hot throughout, then remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins before serving.