Rhubarb Crumble & Custard – Great British Classic

This entry is filed under Dessert Recipes.


A cosy pudding to give you a hug from the inside

Maybe our cool climate has something to do with it, but us Brits really do excel when it comes to pudding. Name me another country to offer as much variety on the pudding front as we do, especially ones that provide straightforward comfort.

Puddings are hard to resist at the best of times, but as the dreary weather continues, my willpower has vaporised! Quite frankly there’s nothing quite so cosy and welcoming as pudding to keep spirits up when all around is bleak and grey. They are a sweet salve on the gloomiest of days.

I’ve been making puddings a lot lately, the excuse being it’s research for a new recipe book I’m planning (if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments box).

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion a good old fashioned crumble and custard is hard to beat. Rhubarb in particular, with its invigorating acidity tempered with lashings of rich, smooth, creamy custard is a brilliant combination for pudding nirvana.

If you hurry, you can still find new season forced rhurbarb in the shops. You can’t miss it – just look for vivid pink stems shining out like beacons against all the other fruit and veg that look downright dull by comparison.

So what are you waiting for?

A few pointers to cooking the perfect crumble:

1) Don’t stew the rhubarb, it’s too delicate. Instead gently poach it very briefly in a little butter (see below) so it retains its shape and vibrant colour.

2) Make sure you don’t have more than a tablespoon or so of rhubarb liquid in with the rhubarb, before adding the crumble topping. If there’s too much juice, strain it into a cup and serve alongside the crumble when you come to eat it.  Otherwise it will bubble to the surface and create ugly brown patches on your golden crumble topping. Not a good look!

3) The secret to getting a light crisp, crumbly topping is to use a higher ratio of butter to flour like I’m doing here. You can also add ground almonds to the mix. In which case replace 50g of flour with 50g of ground almonds. However, the crumble will brown more quickly so cook it in a cooler oven around 170/Gas 3.

Serves: 4
Preparation & Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Effort Level: easy
Shelf Life: 4 days in fridge

400g forced rhubarb
75g sugar
25g unsalted butter
For the crumble
100g butter
175g plain flour
50g caster or demerara sugar

Frying pan
Oven proof dish  (approx 20cm x 12cm)
Food Processor


Here’s What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6


Rinse the rhubarb, shake dry, then trim off the bases and cut the remainder into 4cm lengths.

Melt 25g butter in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the rhubarb and quickly toss it in the butter. Reduce to a low heat, add the sugar and leave to cook for 5 minutes.

Pour the rhubarb into an oven proof dish and leave to cool while you get on with the crumble.

Tip the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Tip the crumble mixture onto the cooked rhubarb and smooth out the surface by gently tapping the dish on the work counter.

Slide onto the middle oven shelf and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Rest for 5 minutes before serving with vanilla custard.


A sweet salve of sugary comfort


7 Responses to “Rhubarb Crumble & Custard – Great British Classic”

  1. Love the entry. Keep up the good work! Thanks!

  2. amber says:

    I love the look of this!!

  3. Fiona says:

    I had friends for lunch yesterday and made your crumble with custard for dessert. I used plums instead of rhubarb and everyone loved it. The vanilla custard was a great success. No lumps, no burnt pan, just delicious creamy custard, i had no idea it was so easy. Thanks Uma!

  4. Nina says:

    Great post as always – thanks for the tips on the crumble! I especially like the sound of using ground almonds in the mix – good idea.

  5. Nathan says:

    Your rhubarb crumble is making me hungry! A friend of mine Bruce, recommended I visit your site as i love to cook in my spare time. I have really enjoyed reading your recipe posts and have signed up to your feed so I don’t miss anything. Fantastic content!

  6. Janice says:

    I love a bit of rhubarb crumble but will wait for the stuff to come up in my garden, somehow the forced stuff just isn’t the same!

  7. Susan Jeffers says:

    Mmmmmm… the pictures looks divine. I could eat a bowlful right now. I haven’t had crumble in ages and as for custard…..!

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