Rhubarb Crumble Grumble

I love crumble. A decent crumble is a series of contrasts. Texture, taste, tone – all three are complemented by the addition of a bit of creme fraiche which brings temperature and luxury to the party. My grumble with crumble is that so many of them skimp on the crumble and don’t do contrast. If you make a crumble with rhubarb and ginger, you can afford to leave the base mixture pretty tart. To contrast that, the crumble can be nice and sweet. The crumble has to crumble too. That could be another grumble.

So, when I’m making a rhubarb crumble, I make lots of crumble. If you are adventurous enough, you will see the wisdom of using jumbo oats in the mixture too. A crumble is a real crowd pleaser. Don’t over-sweeten it.


  • 220 gms of flour
  • 160 gms of jumbo oats
  • 160 gms of brown sugar (see side note)
  • 160 gms of butter
  • 10 stalks of rhubarb
  • 20 gms or so of additional sugar for the rhubarb
  • 8cm / 3″ piece of root ginger

It looks like a lot of ginger. It is a lot of ginger.

Slice the ginger up nice and small. I prefer to leave it cut into small pieces rather than mincing it for this as I like the little ‘heat surprises’ that they add to proceedings. Slice the rhubarb as shown in the top picture. Add it, the ginger and some sugar to a saucepan.

Don’t overdo the sugar. We want contrast!

Add a splash of water and place it on a medium heat. Simmer it until the rhubarb is broken down somewhat. Don’t wait until it becomes a complete mush.  I might have let it go a minute or two too long. No harm done.

There is still a deal of texture in the rhubarb.

While the rhubarb is stewing away, filling your home with delightful aromas, mix the sugar, oats and flour. Chop up and blend in the butter.

This qualifies as the “Before” picture.

When you are finished, your hands will be covered in a very snack-worthy mixture. The crumble mixture will mostly be in the bowl.

This is the “After” picture.

Side note on sugar: I nearly forgot to do my side note. If you are lucky enough to have a range of brown sugars in your press, use dark Muscovado sugar for this recipe. It has a lovely richness and adds to the range of contrasts in the dish. 

Place the rhubarb mixture in a roasting dish. Let it cool. Pour the crumble mixture over. Put the lot in a 180ºC/350ºF oven for twenty five minutes. The top of the crumble will have gone a nice golden colour. This will be a lovely contrast of the stuff I mentioned at the beginning of this post. If you do that, you will not have a crumble grumble. Give it a go.

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Latest comments
  • For my last meal on earth, I’d be wanting roast lamb, peas, new potatoes, and for dessert, rhubarb crumble and clotted cream. After all, I wouldn’t need to worry about my arteries any longer… From which you’ll gather that rhubarb crumble is one of my all-time favourites, closely followed by gooseberry. Love the addition of the ginger, which as well as adding a warm glow, would add a subtle perfume to the mix. Yum, yum, yum.

  • Great rhubarb pouring shot. Kees might grumble, as he is not too keen on rhubarb. But I think he’d like this. Our Swedish friend Tina prepares a rhubarb crumble with strawberries added in. She puts it in the oven longer at a lower temperature, and thus can skip parcooking the rhubarb.

  • That looks delicious – I love tart puddings. I’m sure the ginger and oats work beautifully. The problem with most crumbles and pastry is down to people buying premixed inedible rubbish from the supermarket. Real butter, lard (plus olive oil for Spanish pastry) and other good quality ingredients are essential!

  • Crumbles are my favourite desert will definitely be giving this one a go 😉

  • *smile* Have not gotten past numerous first and second courses for thirty years perchance . . . .never ever get to a dessert menu . . . . used to love rhubarb as a child, love oats, have muscovado sugar . . . perchance I should try . . . .

  • I have never made crumble, funny innit? I know it has appeared in France after I have left, known as “Le Crumble” or ” Du Crumble”… I must make one with the rewards of early Autumn. I love the idea of fresh ginger in your recipe, very nice!

  • I grow ruhbarb in the garden. It’s so good. One of my favorite desserts/ I like the ginger addition. Very nice! 👩‍🦰

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