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Apple and rhubarb crumble perfection

December 5, 2010

I finally found a bunch of rhubarb worth getting at the farmers market last week – they weren’t just that brilliant pinky red, but they were solid and fresh, not at all like the sorry limp things that most places try to fob off. There was plenty to go around, and so I made this crumble multiple times. The immediate difference I noticed was that the red section has a very different flavour to the green part. While the green part is sour and a little grassy, the red section has hints of berry (and no, this isn’t just because I added a couple of strawberries to the mix). If you’re trying to make an easy but impressive dessert, the red bits will also tint everything a very pretty pinky red.

I realise everyone has a crumble recipe they stick to religiously, and sometimes that’s because they’ve trialled just about every method and ingredient combination out there, which is understandable. But if you’re looking something that takes crumble to the next level (because boy have I tasted some that needed improving), this is totally worth a try. These are not words I type, er, lightly… Having parents with three apple trees that explode every fall means that I’ve had plenty of opportunities to try out different things. Due to how often I have to make crumble, this method is super straightforward, and is a fairly stripped down version without being boring.

If you’re wondering what makes this recipe “stand out”:

  • I let the fruit cook in the oven with some sugar whilst making the crumble, which means less time is spent waiting and the super juicy granny smiths don’t end up being soupy or undercooked
  • I make the crumble with my fingers, which results in less “floury” dry bits because the flour is properly married with the butter. If you’d prefer not to get your fingers buttery, beat the softened butter and sugar, then mix the flour and oats in with a fork.
  • I add a pinch of ground ginger, which puts the crumble topping over the edge. Serzly, do this even if you brush off the other reasons

Apple and rhubarb crumble

serves four, but makes enough crumble for two lots – freeze the rest of the crumble for “crumble on the fly” next time

  • 3-4 granny smith apples, cored and cut into chunks – no need to peel, the skins won’t be leathery once cooked
  • a generous handful of chopped rhubarb (pref the red bit)
  • enough sugar to coat generously (raw or white) like this:


  • 100g butter, cubed (salted is fine – if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt to the mix)
  • 1/2c brown sugar (packed)
  • 1c flour (you can use some wholemeal if you want)
  • 1c quick cook rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 200C (400F) whilst prepping fruit. Toss fruit with sugar in a ceramic baking dish, and pop in the oven on the top third of the oven. Let cook for about 20 minutes until fruit is soft. Meanwhile, place the crumble ingredients in a bowl (start with 3/4c flour) and massage the mixure until the butter lumps are mostly gone and the butter has been incorporated into the flour so that you can squeeze bits of the mixture and it stays together unless prodded. It’ll look like this:

Once the fruit it cooked, sprinkle over half the crumble mixture on an even ish layer. Let bake another twenty minutes or until the top is golden brown.

There will be a rim of almost black caramelised bits bordering the crumble, this is normal.

Serve with ice cream – my favourite combo is with Kapiti gingernut ice cream.

Or if you’re a fan of the sour punch of rhubarb, by all means have this on its own. Also makes a decadently delicious breakfast with yogurt or sweetened whipped cream.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2011 11:51 pm

    These look so pretty. I’m a big fan of fruit desserts. Will try modifying it to make it gluten free:)

  2. January 31, 2011 11:51 pm

    These look so pretty. I’m a big fan of fruit desserts. Will try modifying it to make it gluten free:)

  3. Christine permalink
    September 27, 2012 3:21 pm

    Was an easy dessert to prepare and well received by everyone, yummy

  4. September 27, 2012 3:33 pm

    Glad to hear Christine, thanks for dropping by to say how it went :)

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