INGREDIENTS
by Roopa Gulati

This spiced rhubarb crumble recipe is a tasty twist on the classic pudding. Cardamom, orange and cinnamon all lift the flavour while keeping it a classic. Just add custard.

Cakes and baking

Buyer's guide

Forced rhubarb is sold from January until March, when outdoor-grown rhubarb takes over. The latter can become coarse in late summer. Choose pert looking stems and avoid any limp or slimy-looking stems.

Storage

Slice, wrap and refrigerate, if possible. Cooked rhubarb freezes well.

Preparation

Wash and trim the rhubarb stems before use. Discard the leaves as they are poisonous. If using outdoor-grown rhubarb, remove any stringy outer layers. Cut into equal-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.

Forced rhubarb is very fragile so poach or bake only briefly to prevent it from disintegrating into a mush. Use a thick sugar syrup as it releases a lot of juice. Outdoor-grown rhubarb has a sharper taste and more fibrous texture, so requires a slightly longer cooking. Both varieties of rhubarb are good in pies, tarts, fools, jellies and ices. Rhubarb also makes a good jam with grapefruit or ginger, and tastes delicious made into a cordial flavoured with rosewater. Orange, vanilla and lavender all complement rhubarb.