Poached rhubarb is one of winter’s great pleasures. Sticky, almost earthy in flavour, it’s divine with bircher muesli, buttery cakes and old-fashioned crumbles – and it lends itself to an array of flavours, from delicate rosewater to bold ginger and orange notes. After stocking up on ruby-hued rhubarb, apples and oranges from the Fresh Fruit Centre at South Melbourne Market last weekend, I whipped up this spiced crumble, laced with cinnamon, fresh ginger and star anise. And rather than let the vivid pink rhubarb syrup go to waste, I used the sweet-tart liquid as a base for Campari cocktail. Yep, that’s my winter weekends sorted.
1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed, chopped
2 tbs raw sugar
1 tbs butter
2cm ginger, grated
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon quill or piece of cassia bark
1 star anise
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, chopped
2 tbs maple syrup or brown sugar to taste
Natural yoghurt sweetened with maple syrup, to serve
1-2 tbs butter
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup muesli
Arrange the rhubarb over the paper in a single layer, sprinkled with raw sugar and squeeze over the orange juice. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender and syrupy.
Meanwhile, heat the butter, ginger, cinnamon and star anise in a small saucepan, stirring until butter is melted. Add the chopped apple, stir to coat in the spice mixture, then cover and cook for 5-10 minutes until the apple has softened (but isn’t yet mushy).
Remove the rhubarb from the syrup (reserve the syrup to make the killer cocktails below), then gently combine with the spiced apple. Divide the mixture among ramekins or little baking dishes.
To make the crumble coating, rub the butter into the flour and sugar to form a chunky mixture, then stir through the muesli. Pile this crumbly mixture on top of your fruits, then bake for 20 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden. Serve with ice cream, custard or a drizzle of maple-spiked yoghurt.
30ml reserved rhubarb syrup
60ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker until chilled and well combined, then strain into a martini glass and serve. Don’t be fooled by its pretty pink complexion – this little lady packs a punch. The herbal, tart notes of the Campari are balanced with
the sweetness of the juice and rhubarb syrup, making this the perfect aperitif.