Until writing this I wrongly viewed rhubarb as a fruit. Perhaps you do too. It’s actually a vegetable that’s low in calories (around 20 per 100g), low in natural sugars and high in fibre. With such healthy credentials I wanted to experiment to see how I could use rhubarb as a hero dessert ingredient. So when I saw huge bunches of fresh rhubarb at last weekend’s farmers market I bulk bought.
Here you’ll see a really simple recipe for rhubarb crumble. Taking out the optional ingredients all you need is rhubarb, flour, butter and some sweetener. It takes only 15 minutes to prepare and then 20-30 minutes to cook. And with no added sugar it’s a really healthy dessert – especially if you throw in the optional nuts, oatmeal and spices.
Essential ingredients (makes a good sized serving for four)
- 500g fresh rhubarb (roughly one bunch or 8-10 sticks)
- 150g self raising flour
- 80g unsalted butter – at room temperature and cubed
- Natural sweetener such as stevia or xylitol
- 50g ground oats/oatmeal (reduce flour quantity to 100g if you include oatmeal)
- 50g nuts lightly crushed – almonds, walnuts or mix of both
- 2 tablespoons of port or muscat or lemon juice
- Teaspoon of vanilla essence
- Sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
- Fresh cream, natural yoghurt or custard to serve
1. The rhubarb
Wash the rhubarb and remove any leaves. Cut each stick into 3cm long pieces – around the length of your thumb. Add the rhubarb to a pan on a low heat, with a couple of splashes of port or muscat (optional) and sweetener. Sweeten to achieve the desired level of sweetness – I used one tablespoon of xylitol but given that a similar recipe using sugar calls for up to 100g you may wish to add more. Simmer for around 15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft but not losing it’s structure. Then transfer to an oven proof cooking dish that’s been greased with butter.
2. The crumble
While the rhubarb simmers add the flour and cubes of butter into a bowl and mix together using your fingertips until you have a crumb like consistency. Then mix in any optional ingredients you’ve decided to use – crushed nuts, oatmeal and vanilla essence.
If you’re preparing the rhubarb and crumble mix ahead of cooking then keep both in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook sprinkle the crumble mix evenly over the rhubarb and cook uncovered in a preheated oven at190 to 200C for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve with a good dollop of cream, natural yoghurt or custard.
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