Thursday, 11 March 2010

Rhubarb, apple & strawberry crumble

Rhubarb is a fairly new addition to our seasonal home cooking endeavors. Until about a year ago, whenever I heard rhubarb I mentally added compote and immediately lost interest. Something screamed 1980s and dull. So last spring, after being consciously bombarded with rhubarb recipes in cookbooks and cooking magazines - throw in few gentle nudges by my lovely wife - I finally did it. I cooked rhubarb. A rhubarb pie. And what a fine piece of delicious pie it was. I was hooked on rhubarb and immensely sad when the season was suddenly over.

It's a new year now. And according to the stock in the supermarkets, it's the beginning of rhubarb season. I wanted to do last year's pie recipe again. But as I'm trying to lose a bit of my winter insulation, I opted for the - slightly - healthier option: a rhubarb crumble. With apples and strawberries added... for good vitamin measure.

  • 500g rhubarb, ends discarded, then diced into 2-3cm pieces
  • 250g strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 large apple (about 200-250g), peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 100g golden caster sugar
For the crumble topping
  • 150g wholemeal spelt flour (you could use any other flour as well)
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 150g butter, diced
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Mix the rhubarb, apple, sugar and orange juice and zest in a medium-sized saucepan and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the rhubarb has softened a bit
  3. Add the strawberries and cook for another 1-2 minutes until they have softened as well
  4. Pour everything into a pie dish and set aside
  5. To make the crumble, mix all ingredients - except for the butter - in a bowl until well combined
  6. Add the diced butter and rub together with your fingers to make coarse crumbs (you could also make the crumble topping first and store in the fridge until ready to be used )
  7. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture in the pie dish and bake in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the crumble is a dark golden color and the juices start bubbling at the sides
  8. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving warm as it is or with a side of good-quality custard or vanilla ice cream

    Tips for adapting this recipe
    You can easily vary the combination of fruits in this recipe. Use rhubarb alone, in combination with pears, just apples or apples with strawberries... the options are endless.

    The crumble topping can also be easily adapted to suit your own tastes. In addition to the flour, sugar and oats - which in my opinion represent the backbone of each crumble topping - you can also use crushed cereal, rice krispies, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, dessicated coconut, etc. You can even add orange zest to the mixture.


    1. I also recommend rhubarb and ginger crumble - made one while in the UK a couple of weeks ago.

    2. Did you use fresh or pickled ginger?