Crumble before the force of rhubarb

Yorkshire rhubarb was awarded European Union protected status in 2010, the same as Cornish pasty and Parma ham.

The Yorkshire Triangle between Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield is probably the most famous area in the country for growing and producing forced rhubarb.

It’s said that if you are very quiet, you can even hear the rhubarb growing in the vast candle-lit sheds! This year’s crop is under threat because of a lack of frost which is essential if the plants are to store energy for growing.

Originating in China and brought to Europe by Marco Polo, rhubarb is still on a roll and rhubarb crumble is rated as one of the nation’s favourite sweets.

Only the stalks are eaten, the leaves contain oxalic acid that can make you very ill. However, the flesh of the vegetable (yes, it is a vegetable and not a fruit) is good for easing stomach ailments and for lowering cholesterol. As a change, try this pudding for a different sweet.

NB When choosing rhubarb always look for firm straight stems. Prepare by cutting off the leaves and trim the ends, peeling back any strings, just as you would for celery.

Rhubarb and ginger pudding

1 lb/400g rhubarb, chopped into pieces (approx 1in/2.5cm)

3½oz/60g soft dark brown sugar

1 tsp grated fresh ginger (add extra if you wish)

5oz/120g butter

5oz/120g caster sugar

2 eggs

5oz/120g ground almonds

2 tbsp self-raising flour

Place the rhubarb with the ginger in a pan and gently cook until it is just starting to soften, then put in the bottom of an ovenproof dish and add the brown sugar.

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix together the almonds and flour, then gently fold into the mixture. Spread on top of the rhubarb.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Cook in a pre-heated oven (180C/350F) near the top of the oven until golden brown, approx 50 minutes to an hour.

Serve with custard or a nice dollop of clotted cream.