Rhubarb Crumble

It is that time of year, and at the weekend I made the first batch. This is, quite possibly, my favourite pudding. Especially if served with a really good vanilla ice cream (I do make a rather good Rhubard ice cream, but that’s another story).

There is a Boy’s Family legend that when a babe one of the first real foods me mum put in my mouth was Rhubarb. I appearently scrunched up my face, shivered, then grinned widely and opened my mouth for more. Me mum is quite proud of this story and has told pretty well any one who knows me about it, certainly every girl friend who’s been taken home has heard it. Go figure. Any how, I love the stuff, the beautiful colour, the tart tart flavour that makes your mouth contract. Love it, just love it.

So, when the first Rhubard of the season grows tall enough out in the garden this boy is a happy boy. We have a grand mound of Rhubard. It was inherited from LL’s family home and is of an uncertain providence, but likely is some hundreds of years old. All I know is it grows quite fine Rhubard in perfect quanitities until the early summer.

The following recipe is by no means scientific, but has been developed with great relish, hard work and sweat (none in the dish of course). The ingredients list is rather vague, but I’ll try to explain.

  • Lots of Rhubard stalk cut up into 1 inch lengths
  • About a third a stick of butter – Can be mixed half and half with a good marg if you prefer (I don’t)
  • Enough Plain Flour – Organic only, and preferably Canadian
  • A handfull of Rolled Oats – Organic again, and for reasons I can’t explain Scottish Oats really are better
  • A handful of Light Brown Sugar – Tate and Lyle does a soft light Organic Brown Flour that I prefer. Is packed full of flavour and doesn’t get hard
  1. Put the butter in a big bowl.
  2. Dust with some flour, then with a knife begin cutting up the butter. As the flour integrates with the butter, add more. Keep cutting and adding flour until you’ve got peable sized chunks.
  3. Time to get your hands dirty. Rub the flour and butter together, adding more flour as needed, until it gets to the consistency of light yellow bread crumbs. This is a hard step to describe, and took a fair bit of work until I got the look and feel right. The type of butter and flour you use entirely dictates how much flour you will add, I just keep adding it until the consistency gets right. It should feel like soft grains of sand between your fingers.
  4. Add a handfull of Oats, then a handfull of Sugar and mix up.
  5. This is an optional step, depending on how moist you like the filling. I have experimented with cooking the Rhubard first in a pan. This gets out a lot of the moisture. I pour off the liquid and reserve it for Ice Cream and other things, just leaving a thicker consistency of Rhubard mush.
  6. Put the cut Rhubard into a caserole disk, sprinkle with a bit of sugar (depending on your taste. We leave ours only very lightly sugared as we all like it tart)
  7. Pour on the crumble topping. I like about an inch of topping on mine.
  8. Bake in a pre heated oven at about 180 for at least 40 minutes. The topping should just be starting to turn brown. Don’t overcook otherwise the filling may bubble up around the edges.


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