It’s peak rhubarb season and this one’s a simple classic, rhubarb crumble. Rhubarb varies a lot, by type and season. Some is thin, sweet, and pink (early Timperley, which I grow, for example). Others thick green and tart. I like the large greener stalks for crumble as the tart contrast with the sweet topping works best.
For the thinner rhubarb cut it into 3cm lengths. For the thicker rhubarb, I cut into 1.5cm chunks.
Getting the sugar in the rhubarb right is one of those wonderful guesses. I think the cooked rhubarb needs to be sweet enough but still have a background tartness. This gives a lovely contrast to the crumble topping.
Using the ground almond really helps the topping in my view. Also, chilling it for a bit helps it to form crunchy, crumbly, clumps. When cooked the clumps have an almost biscuity crumble to them. This topping gives the right balance of soggy under-bottom to crispy top.
I use a dish that is 23cm square, and about 6cm deep. The topping quantity just covers the dish but is thick enough.
- 600g rhubarb sticks
- 40-60g demerara sugar, more or less spending on your rhubarb
- 150g plain flour
- 75g ground almonds
- 170g chilled butter, in 1cm cubes
- 75g demerara sugar
- A pinch of salt (only needed if you’ve used unsalted butter)
- Chop the rhubarb and put it in the bottom of your dish
- Sprinkle the sugar over and distribute it around the rhubarb
- To make the topping add all the topping ingredients to a mixing bowl
- Either blend with your fingers, or a food processor, or a KitchenAid until you have integrated the butter
- The topping will form clumps, or even consolidate to almost one lump (because of the butter content) and this is a good thing
- Chill the topping in the fridge for 30 minutes or about 15 minutes in the freezer
- Preheat the oven to 180C fan
- Add the chilled topping to the top of the crumble, breaking up any bigger clumps till it just covers the crumble. Clumps of 2-3cm are not a problem. Don’t worry about bits of rhubarb peeking through. Some bubbling up is welcome.
- Cook the crumble in the oven until the rhubarb and topping are cooked, this will be 30-40 minutes depending on the depth of the dish. The topping needs to be golden but not too dark.
Once the rhubarb crumble is ready take it out of the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes so it is warm but not too hot. Serve with your preferred accompaniment – custard (hot or cold), creme fraiche, cream.