Rhubarb Crumble is a quintessentially British dessert. It is one of my favourite desserts of all time. While I love apple crumble and in the autumn, it always makes an appearance on our dinner table, rhubarb crumble to me, is phenomenally better with its sweet and sour fruit contrasting with the crumbly, shortbread-like flavour of the topping. And that’s before you pair it with custard, ice cream or clotted cream! Heaven!
Take a look at the recipe and you’ll see that making rhubarb crumble really is simplicity itself. There is no need to pre cook the rhubarb; you just chop it up, mix it with some sugar, cornflour and ginger and dump it in the baking dish. Ginger lifts the rhubarb to another level, I almost always add ginger when using rhubarb.
Then you top it with the crumble mixture, which again, is a case of rubbing the butter into the flour, add sugar, and done. My crumble is straight up flour, butter and sugar, I don’t believe in messing with perfection and altering the taste by adding oats and stuff. We add demerara sugar for added crunch. Demerara sugar is just that toffee flavoured coarse brown cane sugar you get in sachets for coffee.
Everything can be done under an hour and while the crumble is baking, you can go wash up, then put your feet up.
Making Rhubarb Crumble Ahead
You can make the crumble topping the day before and place it in a bag and store in the fridge. If you don’t have a food processor, making the crumble can take a bit of time and effort (15 minutes instead of 5!). The next day, get the crumble out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you intend to bake, then just break it all up with your fingertips (keep it light and airy) before topping the rhubarb.
If I’m serving it as a dessert for a sit down meal, I prepare the filling up to 4 hours ahead, cover with clingfilm and place it in the fridge. The crumble will also have been prepared earlier. Then, about 1 hour before dessert is to be served, I pop into the kitchen, assemble the rhubarb crumble and bake it in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, so that’s an additional 15 minutes to make up for the cold rhubarb.
And while I wouldn’t bake it the day before to serve guests, because it’ll no longer be crumbly, I love it the next day, heated up in the microwave oven.
It is a super easy dessert to make, so there really isn’t much to say about it! There is a fine line between too sweet a rhubarb crumble and just right, so that’s always something to bear in mind. The recipe here gives you a lovely balance between the topping and the filling. You may find it a bit heavy on the crumble, because that’s my favourite part! I’m always “exchanging” crumble for filling with the family!
What about you? What’s your favourite part of a crumble? And what do you like to eat it with? I’d love to know.
- 500g (just over 1 lb) rhubarb
- 60g (2oz) white sugar
- quarter tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 200g (7oz) plain flour
- 150g (5 and one third oz) cold salted butter
- 60g (2oz) demerara sugar
- 30g (1oz) white sugar
- Custard, ice cream, clotted cream
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C (Fan 180˚/400˚F).
- Chop the rhubarb into 2.5cm/1" pieces and place them in a bowl.
- Sprinkle the white sugar, ground ginger and cornflour all over and mix thoroughly using your hands. Place in the baking dish and set aside.
- If you have a large chopper or food processor, place the cold butter and flour and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand, then tip into a large bowl. Otherwise, chop up the butter into little cubes and rub into the flour using your fingertips. Don't knead. Do all this in a large bowl.
- Add the demerara and white sugar to the flour/butter mix and using your fingertips, mix it all in. Do not overwork, keep it light, crumbly and airy.
- Sprinkle the crumble all over the rhubarb in an even layer. Don't press it down. This will leave the crumble light and crispy.
- Bake for about 35-45 minutes, until the top is a golden brown, looks crispy and the sides are bubbling a little with the rhubarb. I like mine brown and crispy, so I tend to go for 45 minutes. It's a matter of taste.
- Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes, then serve as mentioned above.