Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Rhubarb crumble x 2

TS Eliot said that April is the cruellest month but for a fruit lover in Melbourne, I protest that it is August. This is the time of year that we are deep into winter and even the cool weather fruit such as apples, pears and rhubarb are past their best. I am looking forward to spring with the bounty of wonderful fresh fruit. Meanwhile fruit crumbles are a comfort.

When I have stewed fruit, I think about either making a sponge pudding or a crumble. But when it comes to health, it seems that it is the difference between eating fruit with cake and eating fruit with muesli. I like a buttery cake with fruit but much prefer some texture and roughage.

I love a bunch of rhubarb in crumble and have been experimenting with a few different fruit combinations lately. A few weeks back I was inspired by Astra’s Cranberry Blueberry Crumble and threw some of my frozen cranberries into a rhubarb and apple crumble. I think I got the balance right. It was delicious with some fruit yoghurt (see top photo).

Then on the weekend I was inspired by 101 Cookbooks to try a
Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble. The flavours were quite floral and pink, if there is such a flavour. I found it quite intense and preferred it with a blanketing of custard. E thought it had too much fruit. Sylvia loved it though she didn’t ask for a third helping like she did with the Rhubarb Cranberry and Apple Crumble.

I have long resisted the rhubarb-strawberry combination. Here, rhubarb is a winter vegetable and strawberries taste of summer. It seems wrong to put them together unless you find very cheap strawberries from Queensland at the market. I liked it but don’t know it is a combination I want to return to. The baked strawberries were vastly inferior to the raw ones and compete with the rhubarb rather than support it.

The first time that I posted a rhubarb crumble I tried baking it in the crumble without any pre-cooking and it was not quite soft enough. I noticed that recipes such as the one on 101 Cookbooks suggest this method but I have wised up. I simmered the rhubarb briefly and it could have had a bit more cooking. Perhaps the end of season rhubarb was a little tough. Or perhaps Heidi’s baking dish is more wide and shallow than mine.

Never mind! I am getting more comfortable with make crumbles through trial and error. I often refer back to
previous crumbles that I’ve posted. They are a favourite winter dessert in our house. It gets a good range of grains and fruit into Sylvia. It has inspired E to make custard (from powder).

I am noticing myself having my own way of making them. Not much sugar. Lots of oats and not too much flour. Throw in some ingredients from the pantry such as wheatgerm that needs to be used. Best of all, they will keep us eating fruit through the rest of winter.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year:
Chocolate Caramel Slice
This time three years ago: Turning Winter Roasts into Salads – genius or marketing?

Rhubarb, cranberry and apple crumble

Serves about 6

  • 4 apples
  • 3 large stalk rhubarb
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • juice of 1 large orange
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 2 dessertspoons of brown sugar
  • ½ a ripe banana, mashed


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ¼ cup wheatgerm
  • ¼ cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar (or maybe a little less)
  • 80g butter, chilled

Place apples, cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, cinnamon and mixed spice in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Check for sweetness and add brown sugar and banana (f you have any) as required. Transfer the fruit to an ovenproof dish.

Rub butter into the crumble ingredients and then scatter over the fruit. Bake at 180 C for about 30 minutes or until crumble topping is golden brown and crispy.

Rhubarb and strawberry crumble
Loosely adapted from
101 Cookbooks
serves about 6

  • 350g rhubarb, chopped
  • 300g strawberries, diced
  • juice of half an orange
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar


  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup pinenuts, lightly toasted and chopped
  • ¼ cup wheatgerm
  • ¼ cup wholemeal flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 80g butter

Place rhubarb, orange juice, maple syrup and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Then leave to cool while preparing the crumble.

Place all the crumble ingredient in a bowl and rub the butter into the ingredients with your fingertips till it is incorporated into a crumbly moist (but not wet) oaty mixture.

Add strawberries to the rhubarb and toss so they are combined with the syrup. (NB Heidi added cornflour to thicken the fruit mixture.) Taste the syrup to check it is sweet enough. Transfer the fruit into a baking dish

Bake at 180 C for 30-60 minutes. Heidi baked hers at 190 C for 35-40 minutes but I baked mine at 180 C for 30 minutes, took it out of the oven and then returned to the oven for another 20-30 minutes. Serve with custard. cream or yoghurt.

On the stereo:
Colour of White: Missy Higgins


  1. yum yum yum. i love me a crumble. both of these look delicious. What is a crumble without custard? Perfect winter food :D

  2. oh my - you have just given me the biggest craving for stewed rhubarb!!!

  3. I feel the same way about putting rhubarb with strawberries... it just seems kinda wrong! Plus, I don't much like the smooshy gloopy texture of cooked strawberries :P

    Your crumbles, however, look divine, and make me crave my mum's apple rhubarb crumble, which is one of the only ways I don't mind walnuts...

  4. I'm very pleased to see that there's a generous amount of the crumble topping! MY favourite bit! :P

  5. I love your characterization of "fruit with cake" or "fruit with muesli"--ha! So true. :) In this case, I'd say muesli was a perfect choice. And so many rhubarb dishes (would have been great for the last SOS!). My own crumbles tend toward more oatmeal (more "muesli" in general) and less sweetness, too. Great for breakfast, that way. ;)

  6. I love crumbles, especially strawberry rhubard crumbles with lots of crumble! YUM

  7. I think I prefer my crumbles with 60% crumble, 30% custard/ice cream and 10% fruit! I love how you're always trying out different combinations of things. I'm too scared of things tasting terrible and having to eat the leftovers because I hate throwing out food!

  8. Thanks Vegiebug - I never had crumbles with custard when I was growing up - cream was always offered but didn't interest me - but now I love the idea of custard on top

    Thanks Lisa - it is great comfort food!

    Thanks Hannah - walnuts on crumbles is definitely a good thing though I am still a bit unsure about giving sylvia nuts so use them less than I would like - though have been thinking about using some almond meal

    thanks Lorraine - it's just not right if the crumble is stingy - but it is a matter of getting the balance!

    Thanks Ricki - that's why I love your recipes so much - because we are able to agree on these things - I love the idea of crumbles with lots of topping for breakfast but I forget

    Thanks Simply gluten free - crumbles are the best aren't they!

    Thanks Ashley - you and E would get along nicely - he would even probably give you his 10% of fruit as his complaint is always too much fruit - I think my experimenting is often gradual in just trying small things as I go

  9. How funny! I made strawberry and rhubarab crumble on the weekend - and it now appears that half the blogosphere simultaneously had the same idea. Both your crumbles look good - I like the oats in yours for a bit of texture - mine has just butter and sugar and flour.


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