Crumble is a classic dessert here in England. It’s one of those things that is incredibly simple to make and you can do what you want with it – I chose rhubarb as the fruit but you can use a wide variety. A basic rule to follow is if it grows in England, you can put it in a crumble! Apple crumble is the obvious choice, but you could use blackberries or gooseberries too. You can also mix your fruit, with apple and blackberry being very popular. You don’t have to use oats if you don’t want to – if not, just double the amount of flour. Crumble is really easy and, if you’re making it for friends or family, can be prepared the day before. I find it’s best served with vanilla ice cream; the combination of hot and cold is something I really like, but you could also serve it with custard or cream.
600g fresh rhubarb
120g soft brown sugar or golden caster sugar
80g unsalted butter
80g plain flour
1. Chop the tops and tails off the rhubarb and slice it into chunks (around 1 inch/3cm long). Place in a pan with 40g of the sugar, cover and cook on a low heat for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from the heat when the rhubarb has stewed – there should still be some chunks left, but it should have started to go stringy.
3. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/160C. Place the oats, flour and butter into a mixing bowl, and combine using your fingers.
4. Continue mixing the oats and the flour with the butter until you have a crumble consistency and there are no lumps of butter. Add the remaining sugar and mix well.
5. Spoon the rhubarb mixture into an ovenproof dish (if the rhubarb has released a lot of liquid, drain some of it away – you don’t want the fruit to be swimming in its juice!).
6. Evenly sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top – if your dish is slightly smaller and you find there is too much crumble mixture, it can be frozen and saved for next time. If you are preparing the crumble in advance, refrigerate at this point and follow step 7 40 minutes before you serve the crumble.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for around 40 minutes, checking occasionally to see the topping isn’t burning. Remove from the oven when the crumble is golden brown and bubbling.
Serve warm with ice cream, custard or cream and enjoy!