Monday, April 25, 2011

easter eats & a tart treat

I have always adored Easter!

Along with the joyous religious celebration of the day, I have always been in awe of the springtime decorations and culinary traditions of the holiday.

Growing up, my mom would always surprise me with a unique Easter basket and chic collectibles to start the morning. This year, she didn't fail to impress with a precious Pottery Barn basket, chocolate bunnies wrapped in golden foil and bright candies nestled all around the house.

Early Sunday morning, I awoke eager to make breakfast before Easter Mass. Thick slices of local challah bread were dredged in a rich egg custard dotted with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla bean and orange zest then finished on the griddle until golden brown.

Organic chicken sausage and thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon drowned in pools of syrup and creamy butter as we devoured our sweet feast.

After mass, I dashed home to make this sweet, tart and nutty crumble perfect for a crowd. This recipe is simple and can be adapted with other seasonal fruits. It took me 10 swift minutes to get this dessert into the oven.

Rhubarb & Raspberry Crumble with Toasted Hazelnuts

yields 10-12 servings

3/4 c AP flour
1/2 c sugar plus 2/3 c
1/2 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1/2 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c hazelnuts
2 t vanilla bean paste
4 c frozen raspberries,
thawed under running water a few minutes
12 ounces rhubarb (bright red), ends trimmed, diced*

To dice rhubarb, first cut off woodsy ends then wash. Slice each stalk horizontally (like you would celery), then line rhubarb "sticks" into two bundles. Slice bundles into 1/2 inch pieces (as shown).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 11 x 7 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Mix frozen raspberries with rhubarb, 1/2 c sugar and vanilla bean paste. Set aside to macerate while preparing other ingredients.

In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts to grind. Larger chunks of hazelnuts are perfectly A-Ok. Normally, I always toast nuts to bring out their inherent flavorful oils. Because the hazelnuts will toast regardless atop of the crumble, you can omit this step.

In a large bowl, add flour, remaining sugar, salt, oats and hazelnuts. Add in cold cubes of butter and combine with hands to the dry ingredients (as shown). Rub butter cubes in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps (small chunks of butter are fine).

Transfer macerated fruit mixture to bottom of buttered glass dish, spreading evenly, then top with an even sprinkling of hazelnut topping.

Bake crumble until fruit mixture is thickened and bubbling and topping is golden brown, approximately 45 minutes. Let cool 15-30 minutes before serving.

After my crumble cooled, we headed off to an Easter celebration for 50 friends and family. Our never-ending food spread centered around a huge smoker and my Uncle Jeff slow-smoking delectable whole chickens, beef, pork loin and the best pork tenderloin I've ever put in my mouth.

I hope everyone had a blessed
(and scrumptious) Easter celebration.

1 comment:

Weekend Cowgirl said...

I think your breakfast sounded fabulous also!!!