My my, but it has been awhile.
Unfortunately, I seem to be saying that rather frequently in this space as of late, but this job has been keeping me quite busy. We just finished up a wonderful 3-day class here in Louviers and starting tomorrow we have three classes in two days in Paris.
The week before, my mother came to visit and help celebrate my birthday, and we had a lot of fun. From a degustation in a tiny underground cave to navigating French highways in a stick shift van to drinking a white Languedoc while watching My Fair Lady...well, we did it up right.
We took trips to Rouen and Honfleur, and had many a walk around Louviers, which was showing off by flowering blooms everywhere.
We also managed to do quite a bit of cooking together, with my mother discovering the wonders of pre-roasted beets in salads and broiled mackerel with tangy lime/soy vinaigrettes. I think I also may have created a fellow addict to a phenomenal Turkish yogurt that I get at a little Kosher grocery store in town. That stuff is like yogurt crack.
And as it happens, its perfect complement is my grandmother's famous rhubarb crunch recipe, which we prepared mid-week.
I say famous, because this is one of my favorite desserts of all time, and was a staple in my house growing up. So...I suppose it's famous only in the Douglas household, but it really should be in yours as well.
Adapted from Agnes Douglas
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut into rough cubes
3/4 cup oats
4 cups fresh rhubarb, any leaves removed, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9' X 9' glass pan with butter.
Place the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats into a medium mixing bowl. Use your hands to toss and mix them together. Add the butter pieces and use your fingers to thoroughly incorporate the butter into the oat mixture. To do this, you'll want to squish the butter cubes and dry ingredients between your fingers, rolling them a bit until you no longer have any large butter chunks.
Place the sugar, water, cornstarch and vanilla into a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce has begun to thicken up.
Press half of the oat and butter mixture into the bottom of the pan. Top with the cut rhubarb slices, then drizzle the sugar water over the rhubarb. Layer the remaining half of the oat and butter mixture on top, taking care to evenly cover the rhubarb underneath.
Bake for 1 hour, or until bubbling around the edges.
Serves 2 throughout an entire week. Under normal circumstances, serves 12-16.
Note: You want to try this fresh out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream. Trust me on this one.