Hi folks, it’s time for another crumble. A redemptive crumble, if you will, for this Rhubarb Pecan Crumble helped me to realise a few things.
If you want to get straight to the goods, and make this awesomely delicious summer pudding, please do head on down to the recipe below.
In short, it’s just about everything you could want a crumble to be, bursting with flavour, without tonnes of sugar. It’s simple to make. Rhubarb and pecans make for an incredible combination.
As well as being the vessel for a truly delicious rhubarb crumble recipe, this post is a little reflection on the pieces of my heart that are, and will always be, permanently held by the two main men in my life.
A few weeks ago, you may recall I posted a recipe for a crumble. It was accompanied by some hand-wringing, apologetic splurge about how terrible my photos are (well, that was the subtext). It was a minor breach through the facade. Usually, I confine my overwhelming levels of personal distress about food photography to the back room of my personal life.
Which essentially means I inflict it onto my soulmate (champion, lifetime supporter and flag-waver of all that I do); Dan. My husband, who is generous with his time and patience, even when I am literally crying tears of frustration over photos of food. (How did this even happen? I mean, does it really matter?)
And so, being the champion and flag-waver of all that I do, he surprised me one day last week with a new lens for my camera. Not only that, but a whole strategy for taking pictures with new settings, tripods and the back door open. And it worked. I did not hate the photos anymore.
The following Saturday, my Dad came around for lunch. He brought with him potatoes, courgettes and rhubarb that he had grown in his own garden – the one I grew up in. The one in which I learned how to plant runner beans, harvest poppy seeds, pick gooseberries and bathe a tortoise (really). The one where pet funerals took place under the apple and pear trees, even when it rained.
We sat in the garden talking, laughing and looking at black and white photos my Dad had found; images of ancestors whose faces I had never before seen. Men wearing braces and caps, and women whose features reflected my own. We had sat there for far longer than we knew, and it was time for my Dad to make his way back home.
Spending a day like that for the first time in far too long, I was left with a feeling in my heart that can only be described as intense happiness. It shrouded the thread of memory that collects and holds everything as one. The line that pins together who you were then, with who you are now. The line that took me from crouching on a muddy country path over an animal footprint with half an empty lemonade bottle and a bowl of wet plaster; to drinking rosé and eating sandwiches on a blustery Winchelsea beach (then losing a shoe to the sea); to having a spot in the sunshine with my husband, that we can call our own.
Bobbing along underneath this line are all of the times I haven’t known the way, or have made the wrong decision. But it is still there, keeping me going, and making me so grateful that I have these two men in my life to make sure it always does.
And the crumble? Well, it felt like the perfect way to turn a corner – to start afresh with a gift from both of them: the rhubarb that makes the recipe, and the new camera that captures it.
Even if the house is still dark.
Because there are more important things to think about.
Here’s the recipe!
- 400g fresh rhubarb
- 150g berries (I used blueberries, but raspberries/blackberries would be good)
- 150ml water
- 4 medjool dates (or 8 smaller dates)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 100g rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
- 50g oat flour
- 50g ground almonds
- 100g pecans
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of good salt
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Finely chop the dates and slice the rhubarb into 1cm long pieces. Combine these with the remaining filling ingredients in a baking dish or tin.
- Roughly chop the pecans. Add these to the rest of the crumble topping ingredients in a bowl. If you don't have ready-made oat flour, blitz 50g of oats in a food processor. Alternatively, use another flour of your choice.
- Mix all the topping ingredients together and pour onto the fruit filling.
- Cook for about an hour, and serve with vegan ice cream or cream.
And a free PDF guide to vegan London?