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Rhubarb Crumble – a Classic Dessert with Ten Variations

Classic Rhubarb Crumble.

Pudding | 14th April 2020 | By

One crumble recipe, eleven different desserts. This recipe for classic rhubarb crumble is made with only four ingredients. But in case you want something a little fancier, you’ll find ten easy ways to add variety and flavour.

Rhubarb crumble is a classic British pudding and everyone seems to have their own version of it. It’s absolutely delicious served warm with custard, although cream is good too.

Classic Rhubarb Crumble

Sometimes, you just want a basic recipe with no frills and furbelows. And this classic rhubarb crumble pares things right down to the basics. It contains only four ingredients and is really quick and easy to prepare. It’s also absolutely delicious.

I adore rhubarb and always look forward to the season. This is the first year for many years that we’ve harvested our own and it’s really quite exciting. With the first of the crop, I just want to make a rhubarb crumble.

The crumble takes a little while to cook, but the hands on bit only lasts for ten minutes. All you need to do is chop some rhubarb. Place it in a greased oven proof dish and sprinkle some sugar over the top. Then rub butter into wholemeal flour along with a bit more sugar and spoon over the rhubarb. And bake! So simple, so quick, so easy.

Don’t worry too much about quantities. After all, this is your crumble and you should make it exactly how you like it or according to how much rhubarb you have. If you’ve got a bit more rhubarb, so much the better. Maybe you’ve got less, that’s fine too. If you prefer to have less or more crumble, just decrease or increase the amounts accordingly.

Classic Rhubarb Crumble.

A good crumble falls into three distinct layers, sometimes four. There’s a rhubarb layer at the bottom, then a layer where the rhubarb juices soak into the crumble as it cooks. That’s the best bit I reckon. Then you have the crumbly top. You can also get a crunchy top layer, but you’ll need to look at one of my ten variations for that.

Homemade rhubarb crumble and custard in a bowl.

Rhubarb crumble is best served warm. Leave it for five minutes or so after it comes out of the oven. Because if it’s too hot it’s likely to burn your mouth. Serve it with warm custard, pouring cream, ice-cream or for a special treat, clotted cream. ‘Ansum.

Sugar

Rhubarb is quite sour, so depending on how sweet you like your puddings, you may want to add a little more or a little less than the stated amount of sugar in the recipe. I don’t like my fruit to be too sour, but nor to I like overly sweet puddings.

Homemade rhubarb crumble with custard in a bowl.

You can use any type of sugar in this classic rhubarb crumble. Each one will give a different taste and texture. I like to use demerara sugar with the rhubarb as it just seems to work well with it. But I prefer golden caster sugar for the crumble. It’s easy to mix in, doesn’t colour the crumble and the flavour isn’t as overt as most of the others. Muscovado will give varying degrees of caramel notes, depending whether you use light or dark. Other brown sugars will do much the same thing.

How Do You Make Vegan Rhubarb Crumble?

The humble crumble is a particularly easy pudding to veganise. All you need to do is swap the butter for solid coconut oil or a vegan butter. I use coconut oil as it doesn’t have any additives and it also gives a nice coconutty flavour.

Can you Make Gluten-Free Rhubarb Crumble?

Yes you can. Similar to the vegan version, all that’s needed to make this classic rhubarb crumble gluten-free is a simple swap. Use your favourite gluten-free flour instead of wholemeal wheat flour. I really like The Free From Fairy’s gluten free wholegrain flour.

Ten Variations on Rhubarb Crumble

At the start of the season, I always like to go for this basic rhubarb crumble recipe. There’s elegance in simplicity. And I really appreciate that lovely bracing fresh rhubarb flavour. However, when rhubarb becomes more abundant, I like to jazz it up a bit. So here are ten variations you can make to this classic rhubarb crumble if you so wish. You can also mix and match and use several of the variations in one dish. The permutations are endless.

  1. Crunchy Top. Sprinkle a tablespoonful of demerara sugar over the top of the crumble prior to baking.
  2. Ginger. The flavour of ginger pairs really well with rhubarb. You can do one of two things or even both. Chop some stem ginger and add it to the rhubarb along with some of the syrup. Or add some chopped crystallised ginger. If you prefer your ginger in the topping, then add a teaspoonful of ground ginger to the crumble ingredients.
  3. Orange. Orange is another classic rhubarb partner. Squeeze the juice of the orange over the rhubarb before covering it with crumble. Then grate the zest into the crumble topping.
  4. Strawberries. Rhubarb and strawberries isn’t an obvious pairing, but it’s an old one and a good one. Replace 100g of the rhubarb with strawberries.
  5. Rose. Unless you’re a regular reader of Tin and Thyme, rhubarb and rose is a little known but effective partnership. I always use my homemade rose syrup, which is incredibly easy to make. But you can use rose water instead. If you use rose syrup, add two tablespoonfuls to the rhubarb prior to adding the crumble. But reduce the amount of sugar to 20g. For rose water, simply sprinkle a teaspoonful over the rhubarb.
  6. Honey. Rhubarb and honey is another lovely combination, as I know from these rhubarb honey cakes. Just swap the sugar in the rhubarb part of the recipe for three tablespoons of honey.
  7. Cardamom. Although many know about ginger, cardamom is another spice that complements the flavour of rhubarb. Cardamom is quite powerful, so it’s best to er on the side of caution. You can either add a ¼ of a teaspoon of ground cardamom to the rhubarb or to the crumble.
  8. Nuts. Nuts are lovely in a crumble topping. You can either use ground nuts or chopped nuts. Swap 50g of the flour for ground nuts. Or just add 50g chopped nuts after you’ve rubbed the butter into the flour. Ground almonds or chopped walnuts are my favourite nuts to use.
  9. Oats. The addition of rolled oats makes for a chewy crumble topping with a subtle oaty flavour. Use 25g less flour and stir the oats into the crumble after you’ve rubbed the butter into the flour.
  10. Deconstructed Rhubarb Crumble. If you’re entertaining, you might want to serve something a little fancier than a humble crumble. Try roasted rhubarb with a crunchy topping tossed over the top. Cut the rhubarb into slim finger length batons. Sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb and roast in the oven at 200℃ (400℉, Gas 6) for about ten minutes or until the rhubarb is soft, but still holding its shape. 

For the crumble element, use the recipe in this apple crumble and custard cakes. Bake on the lower shelf of the oven whilst the rhubarb is roasting. You’ll need to stir it about half way through to make sure it doesn’t burn. Alternatively use the “base” recipe in this apricot whisky honey cheesecake. Sprinkle over the rhubarb just before serving. Or you could allow guests to sprinkle it on for themselves.

Other Rhubarb Puddings and Dessert Recipes

And for even more rhubarb recipes take a look at my rhubarb category.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this traditional rhubarb crumble, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Rhubarb Crumble. PIN IT.

Classic Rhubarb Crumble.

Classic Rhubarb Crumble – The Recipe

Classic Rhubarb Crumble.
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5 from 7 votes

Classic Rhubarb Crumble

This recipe is for a basic rhubarb crumble and it's made with only four ingredients. But in case you want something a little fancier, you'll find ten easy ways to add variety and flavour in the blog post.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: crumble, pudding, rhubarb
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 309kcal

Ingredients

  • 400 g trimmed rhubarb (6-8 sticks) (14 oz)
  • 40 g demerara sugar (1½ oz)
  • 120 g wholemeal flour (4 oz)
  • 60 g salted butter - cubed (2 oz)
  • 40 g golden caster sugar (1½ oz)

Instructions

  • Chop the rhubarb into 2 cm chunks and place into a greased ovenproof dish.
  • Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top.
  • Place the flour and sugar into a large bowl. Then add the cold butter cubes. Rub between your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Spoon the crumble over the rhubarb and bake in a preheated oven at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for thirty minutes or so. The top should be golden and the rhubarb juices bubbling up around the edges.
  • Serve warm with custard, cream or ice-cream.

Notes

To make a vegan version, swap the butter for solid coconut oil or vegan butter.
For a gluten-free version, swap the wholemeal flour for gluten-free flour.
You can easily half or double the quantities of this crumble. You'll need a bit less cooking time for a smaller crumble and about ten minutes more for a larger one.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 397mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 477IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 1mg

Sharing

I’m sharing this simple rhubarb crumble with Lost In Food for #CookBlogShare.

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28 Comments

  1. Danielle

    14th April 2020 at 5:32 pm

    You inspired me! After I got this email I lept up and its just gone in the oven!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      14th April 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Oh how lovely. Think it will be a while before I can pull any more. Are you making it plain or adding something? Enjoy.

      Reply
      • Danielle

        15th April 2020 at 11:24 am

        It was all very plain but no less delicious 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration!

        Reply
        • Choclette

          15th April 2020 at 1:09 pm

          Yay! I’ve decided I quite like it plain. Made it twice now and no fancy additions second time around either.

          Reply
  2. Courtney

    14th April 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Yum! I have never had rhubarb before but this post has really made me want to try it. I love all the variations that you included.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th April 2020 at 6:24 pm

      Rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits, although it’s not really a fruit of course. And so good in the spring when not much else is available.

      Reply
  3. angiesrecipes

    15th April 2020 at 5:03 am

    I can’t resist anything with crumble or streusel! This looks terrific and perfect for the season.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th April 2020 at 6:25 pm

      Yes, I’m with you on that Angie. I’ve had this rhubarb crumble twice in the last week.

      Reply
  4. sherry

    15th April 2020 at 6:59 am

    i haven’t had rhubarb for years – since my grandmum made it. And i’ve almost never had it as an adult. maybe i should give it a go one day soon? hope you’re keeping well.
    cheers
    sherry

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th April 2020 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks Sherry. I’m fine thank you. Hope you’re well. It’s rather worrying times for sure. But the rhubarb is cheering me up. Not sure if it grows in Australia.

      Reply
  5. Jen

    15th April 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for including a gluten variation. Absolutely delicious!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th April 2020 at 6:27 pm

      This is one of those puddings that’s just so easy to adapt to gluten-free.

      Reply
  6. Janice Pattie

    15th April 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Love all the variations on your rhubarb crumble, so delicous.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th April 2020 at 1:52 pm

      I’m so excited at harvesting our own rhubarb again after all these years, that all I want to do is eat rhubarb crumble.

      Reply
  7. Uma Srinivas

    15th April 2020 at 8:10 pm

    Rhubarb crumble looks so delicious. I loved your variation ideas. If I get fresh rhubarb when I go to the market, I am definitely going to try this with oats.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      16th April 2020 at 9:55 am

      Good luck with your rhubarb hunt. It’s so good, I can’t wait until there’s enough to pick the next lot.

      Reply
  8. Sisley White

    16th April 2020 at 9:32 am

    I’ve not managed to find rhubarb this year yet and I am craving this so much.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      16th April 2020 at 10:00 am

      I’ve been craving rhubarb for a while, so I was delighted when we were able to harvest some. I’m surprised it’s not available in the shops though.

      Reply
  9. annette

    17th April 2020 at 5:59 pm

    just thinking about making something with my rhubarb when you recipe turned up.Perfect quantities ( I’ll maybe make just a smidge more topping next time!) but the sweetness was just how I like it -not too cloying. I normally struggle to get my crumble toppings right -often make them too ” worthy ” by adding too much in the way of oats or nuts.Followed your recipe to the T with just 25 g of oats and it was absolutely delicious.Plenty of rhubarb left for another go despite having made some rhubarb jam this morning !

    Reply
    • Choclette

      18th April 2020 at 8:02 am

      Oh good, so pleased the quantities and sweetness worked for you. You made me laugh with the maybe needing a bit more crumble topping though, I was worried mine might have been too much. I’ve never tried making rhubarb jam but it sounds delicious.

      Reply
  10. Rosemary

    18th April 2020 at 10:05 am

    This is such a great recipe and it is really good to have all the variations as well. I love rhubarb (have a huge plant in our garden) and am always looking for new ways to cook it. I like cardamon with rhubarb and also sometime use star anise which I think is good too.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      18th April 2020 at 10:52 am

      Oh good call, I’d forgotten about star anise. I’ve made rhubarb chutney with it before, but never tried in a crumble.

      Reply
  11. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    20th April 2020 at 3:08 pm

    LOVE rhubarb crumble, but I haven’t had it for yonks as no-one else in my house likes rhubarb *sob*. Eb x

    Reply
    • annette

      20th April 2020 at 3:17 pm

      oh you can make it for yourself -you know you’re worth it !! 🙂

      Reply
      • Choclette

        20th April 2020 at 4:32 pm

        Well put Annette. CT hates beetroot, but it doesn’t stop me cooking it for myself.

        Reply
    • Choclette

      20th April 2020 at 4:32 pm

      I agree with Annette. Make some just for you. It’s ever so quick and easy. You could make a small one for you and a tinned peach one or similar for the rest.

      Reply
      • annette

        20th April 2020 at 4:38 pm

        oh im sure if she loves rhubarb she wont have any problem eating it all !!
        we all need to treat ourselves dont we -now more than ever 🙂

        Reply
        • Choclette

          21st April 2020 at 3:48 pm

          Very true. And rhubarb is quite uplifting somehow.

          Reply

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