Cheer up! Those winters winds can't blow much longer. The sun is in the shine of the air. The farmers' markets have started up again! The first weekend I went made me feel as sheer and sparkling as the bundles of cool, crisp greens that screamed with aliveness. I left with tiny turnips (their greens are, bar none, the best), an unruly bunch of purple mottled mustard greens (that choked my nostrils with their fiery fumes) and, perhaps best of all, the last two bags of Jerusalem artichokes of the season (and only $2 a pound!!).
The next weekend there was rhubarb(!), more turnips, sticky raw honeycomb and some unusual Japanese greens breaking into bright yellow flower. I like going to the market, saying hello. The honey vendor was having an existential crisis as to whether he ought to follow in his father's beekeeping footsteps. The guy who sold me the rhubarb had me pegged when he said I was going to make a crisp with it. He wasn't wrong. I already had the topping waiting for me at home, in the fridge.
My favourite crumble topping. Bold words, but true. I've used it over and over and over again and I never disagree. The first time I followed the recipe to a T - topping apples and pears with its nutty, buttery, chocolatey rubble. Next I made a Spring version using my rhubarb and some frozen blueberries. Once the whole shubauble was in the oven I worried that pecans and pistachios, grassy quinoa and tangy chocolate wouldn't wear well with my chosen fruit. But it turned out just fine, and I spooned it up outside, as is proper, bouts of warmth upon my face interspersed with chill winds down my bones.
I think it might work with anything. On Easter Sunday I covered a pie with it - rhubarb and blueberry again. (That rhubarb was mighty hard to procure! Back roads and half a dozen grocery stores later, David's mom finally found some. Good thing! David, his Dad and I were walking around the community gardens at Colony Farm and nearly every plot had a towering rhubarb plant. I was itching so badly to break off just a little stalk here and just a wee one there.) There were even more deviations that day - almonds instead of the normal nuts, half quinoa and half buckwheat flour, more oats due to a teff flour shortage - but again, the same stupendous results. The crumble pebbles whatever you place underneath it and it is impossible to pick out what is tart, what is chocolatey, what is crunchy. How can something burst with so much character? Sometimes, after I've pinched it all together into rich clumps, I slowly lick my fingers and smile. Even raw it is fantastic! It's the bee's knees, the best of the bunch.
My Favourite Crumble Topping
From La Tartine Gourmande
I'm only including the directions for the crumble topping here. Use it with whatever bottom you like - in a crumble, a top a tart or pie! I'm not giving directions for that business because you can be your own boss there. Keep in mind though that the original recipe had you bake the crumble at 375 F. Don't chop the nuts too finely or they might burn.
3/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3 oz. (85g) dark chocolate (70% cocoa), coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (40g) pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (40g) unsalted, shelled pistachios
pinch coarse sea salt
1/4 cup (50g) blond cane sugar
1/4 cup (50g) demerara sugar
7 tbsp (105g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Combine all the ingredients except the butter. Work the butter in using a pastry cutter (okay), a fork (alright) or your fingers (best!) until a coarse crumble forms. Use as desired.
Makes enough for 6 individual (1 cup) crumbles or 1 pie.
P.S: You may have noticed (and if you haven't you will now) that there is a (new!) recipe index for your perusal!