Rhubarb Crumble

I will be honest and say this is the first time I have ever cooked or even eaten rhubarb. This vegetable is not as famous back home in Italy as it is here in the UK, where a rhubarb crumble seems to be the norm, rather than a delicacy. Having only read about it, I had this misconceptions that rhubarb is awfully bitter and, being a sweet-toothed person, I secretly hated it. Not that rhubarb isn’t tart at all, but with the addition of a tiny bit of sugar and the added magic of cooking, this ruby red vegetable can turn into the sweetest and most flavoursome pink mush you have ever tasted. This recipe is not mine but taken from the March issue of delicious., one of the many food magazines I read.

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Ingredients

  •  800g rhubarb
  • 500g cooking apples
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3-5 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 200g cold butter, diced (for the crumble)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g jumbo oats
  • 175g soft light brown sugar (for the crumble)

Method

  1. First, make the topping. Using your fingertips, rub together the cold and diced butter with the flour, sugar and the jumbo oats in a big bowl. The result should be a rough crumble mixture. Set this aside.
  2. Chop the rhubarb into 3cm pieces and put in a large bowl. Peel and core the apples, chop them into chunks more or less the size of the rhubarb pieces and add them to the same bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix to coat evenly.
  3. Put a saucepan over a medium heat and melt the 15g butter until foamy. Add the fruit to the pan and cook gently for about 15 minutes, stirring only occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (fan).
  5. Once cooked, transfer the fruit mixture to a heavy bottomed baking dish and sprinkle the crumble mixture on top. Try to leave it nice and airy and not pack it down.
  6. Put in the middle shelf of the oven for about 40 minutes until nice and golden. If you see the fruit bubbling underneath don’t worry, this is perfectly normal (and desirable for a nicer result).

Tips

  • Crumble recipes are really flexible and easily adaptable. You can try adding ground cinnamon or ginger to the crumble mixture (1 tbsp should do) to enhance the earthy flavour of the fruit, or even grating orange zest into the mixture to make it more zingy. Whatever you feel like doing, go ahead. 
  • If you don’t like apples or only happen to have rhubarb, don’t worry! Just increase the quantity of rhubarb and you will be fine (also make sure to use slightly more sugar to counteract the innate tartness of the vegetable).
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