Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Crumb Treat For Father's Day

Even though it's crumbly, it's not a crumby treat. (I just read Catcher in the Rye. That word was way overused in it.)

Yesterday, I bought a couple pounds of rhubarb at the farmer's market, and now I'm finding ways to use them (and the strawberries, which overnight turned to mush. Uh-oh!). The big crumb coffee cake and strawberry rhubarb pecan loaf on Smitten Kitchen both seemed like good ways to use them, as did the rhubarb and strawberry compote from Bon Appetit that I was going to make last night but didn't. The crumb cake seemed like a decadent father's day breakfast, since we normally have eggs prepared in one of a multitude of ways with lots of fresh veggies. Our usual breakfast "treat" is significantly healthier.

However, I couldn't resist, and I had a feeling that eggs and rhubarb wouldn't be the tastiest idea (maybe waffles with a rhubarb compote, but been there done that, well not with strawberries... never mind).

Unfortunately, as per usual, there was a little glitch. Cool completely before serving. Oops. So after eating half of the crumb topping waiting for my parents to get up so it would be super fresh and in the oven while we went for a walk, I noticed that sentence.
And then it started to pour. No, really. The kitchen got all dark and I had to turn on the light for the first time today at 7:30 in the morning even though they'd been off since I'd gotten up.

So off I went to assemble my crumble, and put it in the oven, though it was missing half of its topping.

Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake
adapted from Deb's adaptation at Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6-8
I ever-so-slightly improved the nutritional profile of the recipe. It now features whole grains! But it would still be better for dessert than breakfast.

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 to 3 tablespoons water

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 4 pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For easier removal, you can also line with overhanging parchment. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. Add water so that flour is not dry, just enough for it to come together. It will look like a solid dough.

To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and oil. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

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