Spice: Layers of Flavour
There are certain ingredients that I eagerly anticipate with the changing seasons; strawberries, asparagus, Jersey royals, cherries and rhubarb to name a few. Rhubarb is one of those superheroes that life would be immeasurably less of a joy without. The sharpness can take your breath away unless balanced with the right amount of sweetness, which here comes from the crumble and the custard.
You Will Need
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
Spread out the rhubarb on a baking tray. Sprinkle with water, the star anise and caster sugar and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, discard the star anise, sprinkle over the ground ginger and mix well. Tip into an ovenproof dish and scatter over the chopped stem ginger and ginger syrup.
Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle over the rhubarb and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and the rhubarb is soft.
Meanwhile, make the custard. Put the cream and milk into a small pan. Use the back of a knife to scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and add these to the pan with the cassia sticks. Place over a low heat and remove from the heat just before it starts to boil.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and light. Strain the infused milk and add about one-fifth of this to the sugar and egg mix, whisking continuously. Slowly add the rest of the milk and cream then pour the whole lot into a clean pan. Stir continuously over a low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Serve warm, with the rhubarb crumble.