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More Nigella recipes

Rhubarb Crumble

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

When the Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb comes in each year, with its hot pink, slender stems, I feel my spirits lift! Of course you can make crumbles with hardy outdoor rhubarb — indeed, that’s the normal way to make them — but there is nothing quite like a crumble made with the early, tender stuff. For me, it makes the best crumble in the world and thus, arguably, the best Sunday-lunch pudding in the world!

If it makes life easier, you can make the crumble mixture up in advance and leave it in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week or you can just stash it in the freezer for up to 3 months, in which case you don’t need to thaw it before sprinkling it over the softened rhubarb in its dish. Talking of which, you can indeed soften the rhubarb and transfer it to its dish a couple of hours ahead, too, but don’t add the crumble mixture until you’re about to put it in the oven. And when you do take it out of the oven, let it stand for 15 minutes or so before serving, and longer wouldn’t matter. I love this at any temperature so long as it’s not viciously hot, and cold it makes for the most wonderful breakfast I can think of.

It probably doesn’t need saying, but I think you just have to serve this with custard. However, when eating the leftovers cold (and I always make enough for leftovers!) I reach instead for double/heavy cream — or Greek Yoghurt at breakfast-time!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

When the Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb comes in each year, with its hot pink, slender stems, I feel my spirits lift! Of course you can make crumbles with hardy outdoor rhubarb — indeed, that’s the normal way to make them — but there is nothing quite like a crumble made with the early, tender stuff. For me, it makes the best crumble in the world and thus, arguably, the best Sunday-lunch pudding in the world!

If it makes life easier, you can make the crumble mixture up in advance and leave it in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week or you can just stash it in the freezer for up to 3 months, in which case you don’t need to thaw it before sprinkling it over the softened rhubarb in its dish. Talking of which, you can indeed soften the rhubarb and transfer it to its dish a couple of hours ahead, too, but don’t add the crumble mixture until you’re about to put it in the oven. And when you do take it out of the oven, let it stand for 15 minutes or so before serving, and longer wouldn’t matter. I love this at any temperature so long as it’s not viciously hot, and cold it makes for the most wonderful breakfast I can think of.

It probably doesn’t need saying, but I think you just have to serve this with custard. However, when eating the leftovers cold (and I always make enough for leftovers!) I reach instead for double/heavy cream — or Greek Yoghurt at breakfast-time!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Rhubarb Crumble
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Serves: 6-8

Metric Cups
  • 800 grams forced pink rhubarb (or 1kg untrimmed weight) - chopped into 1cm/½ in pieces
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 20 grams butter
  • 2½ teaspoons best-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING

  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 110 grams unsalted butter (cold and diced into approx 1cm/½ inch pieces)
  • 45 grams caster sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 45 grams demerara sugar
  • 2¼ pounds forced pink rhubarb (or 1kg untrimmed weight) - chopped into 1cm/½ in pieces
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2½ teaspoons best-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold and diced into approx 1cm/½ inch pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/375℉, and put in a baking sheet (to sit the pie dish on and catch any drips later).
  2. Toss the sliced rhubarb in a pan on the heat with the sugar, butter, vanilla and cornflour for about 5 minutes, until the butter has melted and everything oozed together. You should end up with a glossy pan of pink gorgeousness.
  3. Tip into a pie dish, approximately 21cm/8 inches in diameter and 4cm/1¾ inches deep. I often do this well in advance. This kind of job is good to get out of the way early, as is the making of the crumbs; in fact you can make these and stash them in the fridge, or indeed freezer, till needed. You don’t need to thaw the crumble topping before covering the rhubarb with it.
  4. Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl (or use self-raising flour), and rub in the cold, diced butter. It should resemble rough oatmeal.
  5. Stir in the sugars with a fork and pour over the rhubarb-filled pie dish, taking care to cover the fruit well right to the edges of the dish so that it doesn’t bubble up into the topping too much as it cooks. Bake for 35–40 minutes on the waiting sheet. Some pink juices will spill over though, despite efficient coverage, which is only desirable; and the top will be scorched brown in parts.
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/375℉, and put in a baking sheet (to sit the pie dish on and catch any drips later).
  2. Toss the sliced rhubarb in a pan on the heat with the sugar, butter, vanilla and cornstarch for about 5 minutes, until the butter has melted and everything oozed together. You should end up with a glossy pan of pink gorgeousness.
  3. Tip into a pie dish, approximately 21cm/8 inches in diameter and 4cm/1¾ inches deep. I often do this well in advance. This kind of job is good to get out of the way early, as is the making of the crumbs; in fact you can make these and stash them in the fridge, or indeed freezer, till needed. You don’t need to thaw the crumble topping before covering the rhubarb with it.
  4. Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl (or use self-raising flour), and rub in the cold, diced butter. It should resemble rough oatmeal.
  5. Stir in the sugars with a fork and pour over the rhubarb-filled pie dish, taking care to cover the fruit well right to the edges of the dish so that it doesn’t bubble up into the topping too much as it cooks. Bake for 35–40 minutes on the waiting sheet. Some pink juices will spill over though, despite efficient coverage, which is only desirable; and the top will be scorched brown in parts.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
The crumble topping can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the fridge until needed. It can also be frozen in a resealable bag for up to 3 months, use direct from frozen. The rhubarb can be briefly cooked in a saucepan a day ahead. Transfer to the baking dish, cover and chill until needed. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Eat cold or reheat individual portions in the microwave.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
The crumble topping can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the fridge until needed. It can also be frozen in a resealable bag for up to 3 months, use direct from frozen. The rhubarb can be briefly cooked in a saucepan a day ahead. Transfer to the baking dish, cover and chill until needed. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Eat cold or reheat individual portions in the microwave.

Tell us what you think

What 1 Other has said

  • This crumble really has the perfect contrast of textures and flavors. The vanilla scented rhubarb is sharp and soft, and the topping is sandy, sweet, and slightly crunchy. I think the use of the brown sugar here really adds something. Serve with some cold vanilla custard, and you are so good to go!

    Posted by joshv41680 on 19th February 2023
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