Normally if you were eating seasonally, you wouldn’t be able to make this at this point in July. However, due to the cold spell in April, the rhubarb in the garden is still good. If like me you have rhubarb that needs eating, this is an excellent way to serve it. This recipe is entirely mine and uses more butter than most conventional crumble recipes use.
I find that not everyone likes rhubarb. I think this might partly be due to the fact that for at least a couple of decades, we have got used to buying all manner of fruit (especially soft fruit) out of season and so there has been less of an incentive here in the UK for people to become familiar with and eat what are traditional British fruits. Which while it is understandable, is also a great pity, because although traditional British fruits like gooseberries and rhubarb might be tarter and benefit more from cooking, they don’t really require very much more effort to prepare. And… of course, they taste fantastic!
So, even if you’re not mad keen on rhubarb I can’t urge you strongly enough to try this recipe and if you are determined not to use rhubarb, just make the crumble topping and stick it on top of some other fruit of your choosing and I won’t be offended at all!
- For the crumble topping.
- 300 grams organic plain white flour - plain wholewheat flour can be used very successfully if you prefer.
- 225 grams salted butter
- 150 grams demerara sugar (although if using fruit like raspberries, blueberries etc... I would suggest caster sugar instead)
- For the crumble filling.
- 1.400 kilograms rhubarb sicks, washed, stem whites cut off and leaves discarded
- 1 tablespoon orange oil or extract
- 150-200 grams light muscovado sugar - please note that I am making this on the slightly less sweet side, so you may wish to add more sugar at the table.
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 140mls orange juice or water if using late rhubarb and reduce to 80mls if using rhubarb in April or May
Preheat your oven to 190 Degrees Centigrade or 170 Degrees Centigrade for a fan oven.
Using your hands or a food processor (I use my Magi Mix), rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs, then with your hands mix in the demerara sugar. Don’t worry if your mixture is more like dough rather than breadcrumbs, just make sure that the sugar is evenly distributed throughout. Put onto one side while you prepare the fruit.
Chop the rhubarb into chunks of about 1.5 cm wide and place into a large saucepan with the water, orange oil, ground ginger and muscovado sugar. Give everything a good stir to coat the rhubarb with the ingredients. Place the saucepan onto a moderate heat and cook stirring occasionally for about ten minutes.
When the ten minutes or so are up, or when the rhubarb juices have started to run and the fruit started to soften, take off the heat and place into a rectangular baking dish sized approximately 22cm X 26cm and spread the crumble mixture on top. As I have already said, don’t worry if your crumble mixture seems quite doughy, just make sure you don’t leave any gaps covering the fruit as completely as possible.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes until the top has browned and the juices are bubbling gently.
I like to serve this with double cream or natural greek yoghurt.