This is a perfect pudding for spring, when you are never quite sure what the weather holds in store and you yearn to eat something warm and comforting on those chilly days that April often offers up. The weather has certainly been very unpredictable in the past couple of weeks. For the past week the warm sun and has made it feel almost balmy, but a cold rainy spell has now set in and the summery foods that I was eating earlier in the week now seem totally inappropriate. What I want is something, warm and comforting and preferably sweet and a little bit self-indulgent. This crumble is just the thing.
I have mentioned before how the rhubarb is almost like a weed in my garden and perversely seems to thrive the more that it is neglected. I love using rhubarb in a range of dishes, but this crumble, based on the recipe that my grandmother used to make, has to be my favourite! I particularly love the way the sticky rhubarb juices bubble around the edges as the crumble bakes in the oven. It never fails to amaze me how such simple things can give so much pleasure.
There are no complex or tricky techniques that need to be mastered here; all that’s required is the rubbing of the butter into the flour, the addition of some sugar and the chopping of some rhubarb… so much easier than making a pie or tart and, in my humble opinion, a far tastier end result.
I baked the crumble in individual sized dish (about 250ml capacity each) but you can also bake it in in a single dish. The crumble should be served warm and cries out for the addition of some warm pouring custard or a generous dollop of lightly whipped fresh cream.
125g caster sugar
1 orange, finely grated zest and juice
270g plain flour
180g butter, cubed
90g caster sugar
Method:1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160/Gas Mark 4.
2. Toss the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and zest together and place into a 1.5 litre baking dish (at least 5cms deep). Place the dish on a baking tray and set aside.
3. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter using your fingers until you have a soft crumbly texture. Add the sugar, mixing through with your hands so that it is well distributed.
4. Scatter the topping evenly over the rhubarb and bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and the rhubarb juices are beginning to bubble up around the edges of the crumble. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving hot with fresh custard or lightly whipped fresh cream.