Friday, May 14, 2010

Rhubarb Mango Pistachio and Amaretti Crumbles

 Rhubarb Mango Pistachio and Amaretti Crumbles (0010) by MeetaK  

We pulled up on to the gravel path of the deserted gas station and as I stepped out of the car, stretching after the long ride, the pebbles crunched under my shoes. It was dark. The only light coming from an old, dusty lamp above illuminated a shanty looking shed with a bedraggled sign above it.  The moth bouncing off the lamp, wings fluttering in haste, caught my attention for a minute. 

I took a few steps then turned around as if to make sure they were still there before I ventured into the dark. Soeren looked peaceful, eyes shut, safe in his make believe dream-world. Safe from the harsh truth of reality. Tom was staring out of the window, his usual sturdy and proud posture drooped, his silhouette looking meek and tired. With a heavy heart I walked towards the shed. The door creaked loudly as I opened it and the bells above announced my arrival to who ever had the graveyard shift. It was a makeshift looking shop offering the usual ware a gas station shop would offer.

A chair scraped against the wooden floor in a room behind the counter and as the person shuffled and heaved into the room I quickly tried to pull myself together and put on the brightest smile I could muster.

I walked out of the shed again, clutching the brown manila envelop tightly against my chest. Getting back into the car I waved it towards Tom with a slight smile on my face, feeling relieved we had managed to get this far. Just a few more minutes, a few more meters and we could finally rest, finally begin to repair some of the damage. Tom punched the address into the navigation system and as it calculated the route, I tried to make out the faint outlines in the horizon. But my eyes were heavy and my shoulders were feeling the weight of the past few months. All I wanted to do was sleep - endlessly sleep.

Rhubarb Mango Pistachio and Amaretti Crumbles (0021) by MeetaK

Soeren stirred a little in the backseat "Are we there yet?" Both Tom and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. We laughed loudly. Before Soeren came into the world Tom and I would discuss that if we ever had kids the first thing we had to teach them was not to say "Are we there yet?". We love road trips and have spent many great vacations traveling the roads of Europe, from Spain to Greece, from Italy to Denmark. Both of us even re-discovered the West Coast on our first vacation to the US together. It was vital to us that our child be just the kind of travel fanatic we were and enjoy each element of the journey true to the German saying "Der Weg ist das Ziel" - the journey is the destination!

It was good to laugh. We hadn't for a long time.

It was a feeling of anxiety and excitement that encased me as I opened the door to the cottage. My senses were playing crazy. I inhaled the salty air, my cheeks tingled as the gentle breeze caressed them and each time I heard the splashing of water against the shores my heart skipped just a little more. Inside, it was slightly musty and the air was stuffy. As Tom began bringing the suitcases inside, I opened the brown wooden shutters, worn from years of use. The distinctive smell of paint wafting into my nostrils told me they had been recently re-painted. I did not have time to really register what was beyond the windows, just my senses telling me there was plenty to discover come morning. I quickly made up the bed for Soeren in his temporary room for the next 14 days, while Tom undressed him. Eyes half shut, I think he hardly registered anything. With Soeren in bed I made up our beds and simply collapsed on it. Staring at the white wooden ceiling, the monotone sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks beckoned me into a doze.

Rhubarb2010 (0037) by MeetaK

Jerked out of it by the sound of the T.V. I forced myself up, my body begging me to snuggle deeper into the mattress, and followed the babbling into the living room. Tom held a glass of wine in his hand and pointed to one on the table with the other. "We're here!" he announced.

Yes we were. We had left everything behind just as it was and fled. Taken only a few belongings, packed the car and drove away. The boxes still packed cluttered the house but that was not an issue anymore. Ten hours later we were here. We had run away. We are not the type to run away - but we did this time. We had to.

The next morning I was awakened early by the unusual sounds. It took me a moment to focus and remember I was in a new bed with new surroundings. Then I remembered - the waves, the salty air, and quietly got out of bed tiptoeing into the kitchen. The house was still and as the first rays of light danced their way into the conservatory I gasped at the view beyond it. Grabbing the blanket from the armchair I walked out barefooted into the garden, green from the summers warmth and moist from the morning dew.

Not a single ripple broke the mirror-like surface of the fjord. The orange sky reflected off the liquid mirror with such clarity I felt as if I was in two heavens. The water itself was a kaleidoscope of colors, blue, purple and orange. Walking through the iron gates, I twitched as I felt the hard pebbles under my feet. But I walked on and as my toes dipped into the cool water I felt some of the turmoil inside me wash away.

I do not know how long I stood there in my pajamas, looking into the horizon and standing with my feet in the waters of this Danish fjord, but soon I felt Tom's presence next to me. He offered me a big hot mug of a caramel-y, smoky cup of brown goodness. I looked up to him and smiled.

"We're going to be OK!" he said and took me into his arms cradling my head on his muscular chest - I thought "My net - always catches me when I fall!"

Yes we were going to be OK and this was the first step towards the healing process. We rejoice with the good times and become stronger with the bad times. This was going to make us stronger. Stronger to unpack the boxes we left behind and pick up where we left off.

The two weeks were spent mostly laughing - the remedy to heal every wound, some crying and a lot of love. The three of us enjoyed picnics by the fjord, bike tours, sailing, island hopping, visits to museums and good food. Each day we felt stronger and better. It would take time to bounce back again, I knew that but I also knew we would manage it.

Rhubarb Mango Pistachio and Amaretti Crumbles (Diptych-1) by MeetaK

Sweet crumbles have been on my mind lately. As the Farmer's Market fill up with delicious fruits my choice for this particular creation fell on sweet mangoes and tangy rhubarb. The topping combines the nutty flavors of pistachios and earthy aromas of the buckwheat flour with an added highlight of crushed Amaretti biscuits. I spice it up with a touch of ginger and cinnamon for the extra warmth. 

Rhubarb Mango Pistachio and Amaretti Crumbles

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

For the fruit
45og rhubarb, cut into 1 cm pieces
2 mangoes, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon muscovado sugar
small piece ginger, finely grated

For the topping
170g buckwheat flour
handful of Amaretti biscuits, coarsely crushed
85g cold butter, cubes
85g muscovado sugar
85g pistachios, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of fleur de sel

 

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly butter 6 individual ramekin bowls.

  2. Make the topping first by putting all the ingredients into a large bowl and using your fingertips rub the butter into the dry ingredients to form a few small chunks of mixture very resembling coarse breadcrumbs. Place this mixture in the freezer while you prepare the fruit.

  3. Put the rhubarb slices in a saucepan with the sugar and 4 tbsp water. Cook over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until the rhubarb just begins to become slightly tender but is still crunchy. It will cook further in the oven.  Remove from the heat and stir in the mangoes and stem ginger. Spoon the mixture into the ramekin forms.

  4. Take the crumble topping from the freezer and with your fingertips sprinkle the topping over the forms. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and the fruit is hot and bubbling. 

  5. Serve warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

 


Verdict

Rhubarb Mango Pistachio and Amaretti Crumbles (0011) by MeetaK

An explosive burst of flavors - the mangoes, rhubarb paired with the ginger offers the perfect combination of sweet, tangy and warmth. The crumbly and crunchy topping adds a new texture and set of flavors giving it body. We enjoyed this warm with scoops of bourbon vanilla ice cream, feet up and reminiscing about our travels and road trips - laughing, joking and positively healed!

You might like these warming dessert ideas from WFLH:

 
Baked Vanilla Infused Peach Risotto Clafoutis - Gooseberry Red Current & Blueberry Clafoutis - Raspberry and Nectarine

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

31 comments :

  1. Such a lovely and thoughtful post. So glad you had a nice time. The dessert looks wonderful!

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  2. Lovely pairing of Rhubarb and Mango. A winning combo! Lovely and moving post. I don't know what it is that upset you folks but whatever it is, time heals everything where every sad moment is replaced with a joyful moment!Have a happy weekend!

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  3. That is an original crumble. A delightful combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Dear Meeta, I'm teary after reading your post, so strongly identifying with that need to escape, recharge, reconnect with the ones who DO catch us, hold us, love us. I hope your spirit continues to recharge and that you all are buoyed by love and hope. The crumbles are lovely. :-)

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  5. With a whole bunch of mangoes on the bottom, how can we doubt that the verdict will be anything else other than "awesome"?? :)

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  6. Looks absolutely yummmmm.. gorgeous clicks :)

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  7. Oh Meeta, you had me from the first line....and now I don't want to intrude by asking what happened (even though I am desperate to know!). It is well - my way of saying, we do heal, painfully, slowly...but surely. Stay well

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  8. a wonderful storyteller you are. thank you for sharing so many specific images and emotions above. as the last thing i am reading tonight before heading to bed... here's to profound dreams of similar experiences - and also sweet dreams of this delicious, attractive and original crumble. i love using buckwheat flour (and always fleur de sel). just made crumbles tonight - but as i suspected, i'll be making them again soon, with your recipe here. thanks again for sharing - your memories, sentiments, beautiful photos and divine creations.

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  9. Such a moving post Meeta! I'm glad you were able to fill your time with laughing-I absolutely love the flavour combination applied here in this crumble...especially the mango part! I hope all is well!

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  10. I have been a ghost reader for a long, long time.. This post of urs made me come out the shell. U moved me into tears while reading this. Just poppping out to tell u that I agree to "We rejoice with the good times and become stronger with the bad times" Stay Well

    Hugs

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  11. Looks like a great Sunday dessert, we just finished late Caribbean breakfast :)
    Have a wonderful day!

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  12. Sweetheart, this was stunningly, achingly beautiful. There is nothing more to say - I have said it in private. xo

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  13. hugs and hooray to a fantastic dessert!

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  14. We have four rhubarb plants, so I am always looking for new rhubarb recipes. Love this one.

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  15. thank you all so much for your comments. as a writer i am of course glad that i was able to move you with my words and love the feedback. for those who have been following this blog for a while will know that last year things did not work out as we had planned. i had written a few of my feelings in my notebook over the course of several months after that and as i recently thought back to last year i was encouraged to tell this story. things change in 12 months so much. i enjoyed writing this because it moved me but positively and reminded me that things always work out for the best.

    also glad you are loving the crumbles - they were truly delicious!!

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  16. Meeta I must so much of last year when I was too sick to read blogs. What ever happened I'm glad it's in the past and life is good again. And you had me at mango.

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  17. Mango and rhubarb is a great flavour combo for a crumble!

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  18. Oh. That Ice cream scoop just made my day! Thanks for posting this recipe! Will definitely try this later at home! I'll put some extra Ice cream scoops!

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  19. It is wonderful to have the time and place (and a great scenic place! ) to reflect and recoup!
    Loved your crumble and all the contrasting flavors too!

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  20. Such an emotional blog post, Meeta. All my good wishes are for you xxx and the crumble iea is just terrific. im thinking of doing a mango, ginger and pistachio

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  21. How amazing - what a bittersweet post! I love the sound of this recipe.

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  22. what a beautiful crumble, I can only imagine the wonderful flavours!! Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt story...you made me feel like I was there!
    Cheers
    Dennis

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  23. Thanks for posting such a good blog. All of these are mouth watering dishes.

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  24. Wow Meeta, you are a brilliant story teller. I felt like I was reading my favourite book. I really love this post! And the lovely recipe on top! YUM! Can't wait to see you in London next week! :)

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  25. Meeta dear,

    this is the first time i am buying rhubarb after seeing them for 6 years:) and what a wise decision i made to make this dessert with indian mangoes. they're amazingly refreshing... very summery and exotic as well.

    i have one question though - the crumble topping after baking doesn't look as 'fest' as in your picture. any clue where i could have gone wrong?

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  26. Oh my word...what an amazing post this is. You are a beautiful story teller/writer Meeta. This is something you should pursue. Heartfelt, warm,so real as to draw the reader into it with you. I remember reading about some of what happened when I visited your blog last year. I am so glad that things turned out well for you and your lovely family after the bad times. It took me back to a time 10 years ago when hubby and I also fled away to a place to heal, in very much the same way as you did. But it wasnt a vacation for us. We had to regroup and get working again to try and sort things and fix things. In fact we took our first vacation since Christmas 1999 last year in May, 10 years later. Thank God we did take it then and not later as we had discussed because Don had that dreadful bike accident at the beginning of July and it took 7 months of nursing to bring him back to health. That wonderful holiday was so what we needed to strengthen us to face what we did not yet know was coming!! It is GOOD to look back and to see where you were and where you are and to see the positives that have come out of life's experiences. And to use those experiences to make us better and not bitter. And this stunning dessert is just so fitting for this story, they deserve to share the same space.. Major big love and hugs from the eye who watches over you :o) xxx

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  27. Oh Meeta, what a lovely post. For once, I have to say I shall choose your story over your crumble and lovely pictures.

    I think I understand what's behind the post. Don't worry, there really is brightness in every bit of darkness even though we do not always see it then.
    And in my experience, with love and support, we will always find the strength from within to get through the most difficult times, as you have. :)

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  28. Thank you everyone for your comments and incredible feedback! so glad you liked the story here! it's just what I was hoping for.

    Latha - it depends on your oven - maybe you should leave it in for a bit longer. In the end the texture should not be extremely hard but have a crispy touch to it.

    Colleen - my word! I need to write you a longer emial!

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  29. I have just discovered your blog today - as a foodie who loves to travel and write (or a traveler who's passionate about writing and food?) I'm finding so much to love here!!

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  30. Dear Meeta, First of all, what a delicious combination- mango and rhubarb. And carbs- yes carbs! mmmmmmm
    I dont know what youre referring to as I have only recently come to know you (thankfully :) but I hope you have come a long way from this difficult period. You write about it so lyrically-and to have shared it with your readers- that's a brave thing to do. I loved reading it, it was so evocative and heartfelt. x shayma
    PS I am also a "ghost reader"; I dont comment but I do read :)

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  31. This is a nice assortment of flavors. I will like to jump into the picture and have some right now.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta