Rhubarb Crumble – a British dessert with some great health benefits!

Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble

When buying fruits and veggies in our local supermarket in Wichita, I often buy things that the person on the checkout doesn’t recognize.

This happened a short while ago with rhubarb, a favoritefruit of mine which looks a bit like red celery but that has a sweet, tart, flavor to it when cooked (can’t say I’ve ever eaten it raw).  So I thought I’d share my favorite recipe for rhubarb crumble with you, the recipe itself is a British/US fusion too (much like my children!).  🙂

British people and fruit crumbles – often eaten after our roast dinner on a Sunday – that’s why you see us out walking it off!

Most British people who cook know how to make a crumble using different types of fruits.  I see crumble mixes over here in the US, but it really is easy to make it yourself and very few ingredients are needed, most of which you’ll probably have in your cupboard anyway.

I use organic butter if I have it, and non-enriched or unbleached flour.  My mum used to use left-over breakfast cereal sometimes (the end of the packet) which would add a sweetener to the topping without extra cost.

I found this recipe in the May 2009 edition of the Oprah Magazine.  The addition of vanilla extract makes a huge difference in taste and results in requiring less sugar (a good thing IMHO), so I adopted the vanilla from this recipe.  And sometimes strawberries go in too…

The recipe for Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb cut up into 1″ pieces – can’t say I used a measuring tape, though

  •  2 pounds rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups) – if any of the rhubarb is stringy, just peel off the stringy bits and don’t use them – also don’t use the leaves, cut them off – the roots and leaves contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous.  My mum used to put them on the compost heap though.
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar (original recipe says 1 and 1/3 but I think that’s too sweet and too much sugar – adjust to taste) – you could also try a natural sweetener like agave
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (organic, preferably)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (again, organic preferably)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  To make filling, put cut-up rhubarb, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup flour and vanilla extract into a 9″x13″ baking dish.  This looks pretty but my dish is 9″x 9″ and works just as well.  Stir well to combine and set aside.  The juices in the rhubarb come out and make the flour and sugar thicken into a very nice syrupy finish.

Use one hand to crumble the butter into the flour and sugar mixture – if making larger amounts, the rule is half the butter to the measurement of flour, and sugar to taste


To make the crumble topping, put remaining 1 cup flour, light brown sugar, butter and salt into a large bowl and toss well.  Take your rings off first, ’cause this can get messy.  I use a knife to ‘cut in’ the butter into small pieces first, then continuously crumble all the ingredients together with one hand until they look like breadcrumbs.

The US version of rhubarb crumble is to squeeze these breadcrumbs into handfuls and then sprinkle on the fruit.  My mum always just put the breadcrummy mixture on just like it is, so take your pick.

Bake until rhubarb is very tender and bubbly and crumble topping golden brown, about 3o minutes.  You can serve by itself, (rhubarb plus the sugar does get very hot, so be careful) with vanilla ice cream, heavy cream (US) or double cream as we say in the UK – or as my mum used to with custard.

Not my favorite though.  IMHO the best part about rhubarb crumble is eating it cold for breakfast the next day, that is, if there’s any left!

Rhubarb Crumble is a ‘British’ thing, but it is a healthy fruit, I found the health info on www.livestrong.com I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Ta-da! The finished product :-))

Rhubarb is a different taste if you haven’t tried it before.  I was delighted when the first house I bought in the UK came complete with a rhubarb patch.  They can take a while to get established, but once they do, you have a regular supply.

My mum used to make rhubarb jam (sigh) and a lot of people enjoy rhubarb wine – and children often buy rhubarb and custard ‘penny chews’ (although I doubt they cost a penny any more).

As John Cleese says in his ‘Rhubarb Tart Song’ – “Eternal happiness is a rhubarb tart”. 

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About Sarah Lawrence Hinson

A Mom On a Spiritual Journey! Sarah writes about modern spiritual practice and alternative wellness. Check out the podcasts too. She offers Akashic Records Readings, Energy Work and Intuitive Work via Skype at 'NewWorldEnergetics' or phone at 316 247 4144.

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