They are always a great family favourite though and as the first of the season's rhubarb is out and available now this is a good time to start making this dish.
Spiced Rhubarb and Pear CobblerServes: 4
For the Filling:400g fresh rhubarb
3 large pears, peeled
1 tbsp finely-grated orange zest
1/2 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
5 tbsp Demerara sugar
2 tbsp Marsala wine
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
For the Batter:45g (1/3 cup) self-raising flour
2 tbsp plain flour
30g (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp milk
25g butter, melted
For the Topping:60g (1 cup) fresh white breadcrumbs
100g (1/2 cup) Demerara sugar
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
60g (1/4 cup) butter, melted
Method:Wash the rhubarb then cut into 3cm (1 in) lengths (no need to peel). Cut the pears into 2cm (3/4 in) cubes. Combine the rhubarb and pears with the orange and lemon zests, mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice), demerara sugar, Marsala wine and orange juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, or until the fruit are just tender. Take off the head and set aside to keep warm.
For the batter, sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the coconut and sugar. Form a well in the centre then add the egg, milk, and butter all together. Whisk until all the liquid is incorporated and the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
Pour the hot fruit mixture into a well-buttered 1.5l (6 cups) rectangular ovenproof dish. Next pour the batter evenly over the fruit. For the topping, combine the breadcrumbs, sugar, coconut and butter in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle this mixture over the batter.
Transfer the cobbler to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 5) and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the batter emerges cleanly.
Serve hot, accompanied by custard.