Rhubarb Crumble with Ginger (and possibly Greengages) as well as Real Custard

Rhubarb & Ginger Crumble

Rhubarb! Yay! Let’s make a crumble. I also very recently learned that rhubarb is used in traditional Chinese medicine, so it feels like the ginger pairing is rather fortuitous now. But lets face it, I had ginger wine in the house and that stuff is like alcoholic nectar of which I only put the fresh ginger in to enhance the booze! So…I’m not sure how overall healthy or medicinal the following dish is, but it is very satisfying to eat, and I even had some for breakfast the following day with cold custard. Not. Even. Guilty.

It’s at this point that I should also mention that I *think* I added some greengage plums to this dish, which was a totally amazing addition as the fruit really held shape and added a lovely bite to the overall dish. But I cannot of yet totally confirm this so I’ll have to come back to this post and edit it later if I ever find out whatever the hell plum-like things I actually did add to this.

Rhubarb filling for crumble:
400 g rhubarb - prepped weight
100 g greengage plums (possibly) - stoned and quartered
3 tbsp ginger wine - generous servings
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger with it's juices
100 g soft light brown sugar

Chop your rhubarb into long 10 cm by 1 cm sticks. Get all the above into a pot and simmer it all at low heat for around 15 minutes. You don’t want your rhubarb too soft. Once that’s done, you’ll probably have a bit too much thin liquid for a nice compote sauce, so sieve the fruit out and rest it in your oven proof dish while you crank the heat up in the pot and boil those fruit and sugar juices into a lovely thicker consistency. Pour this over your fruit and get your oven to 200°C. Move onto the crumble topping.

Crumble topping:
140 g self raising flour
85 g butter - chilled, cut in cubes
50 g soft light brown sugar
50 g walnuts - roughly chopped

With all of these ingredients in a glass bowl, you’ll want to dive in with your fingers and bring it together like course breadcrumbs. Don’t over mix and be too neat and tidy, the rougher the better. In fact. Go with *just* combined with larger odder shapes scattered through. The chopped walnut bits will help with this. Sprinkle this over your fruit mixture and whack it in the oven until the toppings golden brown and the fruit mix is bubbling to the surface a bit. 15-20 minutes maybe?

While that’s going on, lets make some actual proper custard too. This is Mary Berry’s recipe, and honestly, why would I want to change it? It’s pretty perfect. The only thing I did at the end was crank up the heat slightly and whisked it in a glass bowl before serving because I thought it was starting to split. Balloon whisks – kitchen lifesavers.

Mary Berry's "Real Proper Custard":
568 ml whole milk
55 ml single cream
1 vanilla pod - split lengthways
4 egg yolks
40 caster sugar
3 tsp cornflour - level measurements

Get a small pot on the stove and heat you milk, cream and vanilla pod at low heat. You don’t want it to boil.

In a separate bowl, mix up your egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until well blended.

Remove the vanilla pod (then wash and leave it to dry, put it in some sugar: vanilla sugar! Yay for Mary), and slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture – whisking all the time. Once it’s all incorporated, pour your custard back into your pot and slowly stir with a wooden spoon until you reach your desired consistency. Pour it all in a jug ready to serve and sit it in a pot of hot water to keep warm. Maybe put some cling film on top to stop a skin forming. Serve it up with your desert (or breakfast for that matter).

Creme Caramel. Otherwise Known As: Caramel Flan V2

Creme CaramelSo a while ago as I was doing the New Year’s Detox I wrote about this mega easy caramel flan I made for my family over Christmas back in Hong Kong. It went down a treat, but for my Mother and myself it just wasn’t the soft delicious delight we were hoping for. Which made me try rather a lot of creme caramel recipes of late and I’ve been working on one that is not only soft and delicious, but doesn’t liquify upon turning out. It’s probably not *perfect* but it seems pretty fool-proof so far so I thought I’d share it. I made a massive one of these to finish off my Chinese New Year party (and probably my guests too), and I’ve also tried substituting the milk for not only rice milk, but soya as well, and I’m pleased to report that it works superbly.

Makes enough for 6-8 ramekins.

Caramel Flan V2:
115 g caster sugar
1 tbsp water
625 ml milk (or unsweetened dairy free substitute)
1 vanilla pod or 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
100 g caster sugar
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks

Oven at 170°C. Get a heavy bottomed non stick pan on to high heat. Into this add the 115 g of caster sugar and the tablespoon of water. Caramelise your sugar and be careful not to burn it, I like to just let it sit for ages taking in the heat while I work on other things. I’ll only start to stir with a metal spoon right at the end browning process.

While the caramel’s on the stove, put your ramekins in a deep enough tray to use as your water bath. But without any water in it for now, put it in the oven so your ramekins take on a good amount of heat. This is so when we spoon the caramel into them it doesn’t seize up.

Take your tray of hot ramekins out of the over when your caramel’s about done, then quickly and carefully spoon about a tablespoon of caramel into all the dishes. Move them about a bit to evenly coat. Set them aside.

In another pot, bring the milk and vanilla to just below boiling point. If you’re using a whole vanilla pod, don’t forget to slice along it length wise. When at heat remove from stove and set aside.

Get a large glass bowl and mix together all your eggs and the remaining sugar. To this use a fine mesh sieve and quickly whisk and incorporate the hot milk. When it’s all mixed together you may get a lot of foam on your custard mix. I like to place a kitchen towel on top to remove this.

Ladle some custard mix into each of the ramekins. Remove any extra bubbles with the kitchen towel as above. Place all the ramekins in the water bath tray and fill it with some boiled hot water so that it’s at least over the half way point of the ramekins. Now into the oven for 20-35 minutes.

The creme caramels should have some wobble in them still, but set. Some may have a solid skin atop of them. If you’re really fussy (I am) and the top membrane is thick enough, carefully remove this then let them cool and get them in the fridge ready to be served. The longer you leave them in the fridge the better I think because the caramel dissolves more. When you’re ready to serve, run a sharp knife all the way around and turn it out on a plate.

And that’s it! This also brings an end to all the dishes I made that snowy sunday evening to usher in the Year of the Snake. So I’ll be on to regular kitchen experiments from now on.CNY Flan

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