This strawberry and rhubarb crumble is the perfect summer dessert, especially when served with vanilla ice cream. Rhubarb, which is actually a vegetable rather than a fruit, can be a little on the tart side, and this puts off many people – especially small children. Strawberries are the perfect fruit to serve with rhubarb as their natural sweetness helps the rhubarb to taste less tart without the need to add tons of sugar.
Crumble toppings usually include a lot of sugar. I played around for ages trying to perfect a sugar free crumble topping but I’ve come to the conclusion that it does need a little sugar. You can add a little maple syrup or honey if you want to use unrefined sugar, but my preference is to add 2 tbsp caster sugar, which is still considerably less than is usually added. The sweetness of the strawberries more than makes up for it.
We tend to eat crumbles quite a bit. They’ve always been one of my favourite desserts – or puddings as my mum would say – and we often had them while I was growing up. My dad grew a lot of fruit and veg at home and we had rhubarb, gooseberry and berry crumbles a lot. Dad often used to eat these with custard AND ice cream! I also remember apple crumble featuring all through the year, but as we didn’t have an apple tree I think the apples probably came from my Grandad, who was a greengrocer.
When my son stopped eating any fruit at the age of 18 months I found that a crumble was one of the ways that I could get him to eat fruit. We had a blackberry and apple crumble the other day and I watched him pick up a whole blackberry on his spoon, consider it thoughtfully and then eat it. He’s now seven and hasn’t eaten any raw fruit for years. I don’t see this changing – until he decides to change it. So to see him enjoying a crumble in the full knowledge of what he is eating makes me very glad! Especially if it doesn’t contain too much added sugar.
Here’s how to make strawberry and rhubarb crumble:
- 400g rhubarb, cut into rounds
- 200g strawberries, hulled and chopped if large
- 75g butter or dairy free spread
- 75g plain flour, white or wholemeal
- 75g oats
- 75g chopped nuts (I used almonds)
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup or caster sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6.
- Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a lightly greased oven proof dish.
- Rub together the butter and flour with your fingertips, or in a food processor, until you have the texture of breadcrumbs.
- Stir though the oats, nuts and maple syrup or sugar.
- Pour over the top of the fruit and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the fruit is soft and the topping is crisp.
- Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.