Rhubarb Crumble Sous Vide – At Peace With Myself

I like to post my cooking victories here. I love that people see me as a cut above when it comes to home cooking. Having sous vide in the armoury really helps in that perception. This was a delicious crumble. It was elegant, flavoursome and had the perfect balance of softness to crunchiness. The addition of the Grand Marnier added a layer of sophistication that I could use to elevate my reputation. But, I have to be at peace with myself when I go to bed at night.

You see, the usual way I prepare a crumble is to roughly chop the rhubarb, add it with a splash of water and a judgement of sugar to a saucepan and let this reduce until the rhubarb is starting to break down a bit. FI I want to get fancy, I add a nice amount of finely chopped root ginger. While that is going on, I blend flour, butter, dark sugar and jumbo oats together to make the topping. Then the lot goes into a 200ºC (400ºF) oven for about half an hour. Simple. Simple AND delicious. Anyway, I have come this far, so here are the ingredients.

Ingredients for the rhubarb

  • 2 bunches (8 stalks) of rhubarb
  • Zest of an orange or two
  • 3 measures of Grand Marnier
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Ingredients for the crumble

  • 125 gms of brown sugar
  • 140 gms of butter
  • 125 gms of jumbo oats
  • 175 gms of plain flour

The sous vide method adds complexity. As I was doing sous vide, I decided to add the zest of an orange.

Too fancy for the little bit of added flavour.

I also added a generous glass of Gran Marnier to the proceedings. In fairness, I bought this to prepare Crêpes Suzette some years ago and it has been lurking at the back of the press ever since. It works in the sous vide as it gets trapped in the rhubarb during cooking. But it would be wasted in the stovetop method.

More than I would be prepared to drink of the stuff went into the mix.

The topping remains the same but using the method causes me to think about the size of the rhubarb to fit it into the vacuum bags. Then there is the vacuum bags, more complexity. Then there is the sous videing (very straightforward in fact but not as simple as the regular “throw it in a pot” method).

All fancy on the slicing. Not my style.

After an hour in a 60ºC bath (I did mine in the steam oven), it came out nice and soft but with a decent bit of texture too.

The rhubarb looks very regimental for a crumble.

To make the crumble mixture, do as I outlined in the paragraph further up the post. This will give a foolproof crumble topping every time.

It looks like too much crumble. It isn’t.

The dish needs a generous amount of crumble topping. Don’t skimp on it. I like to have mine looking like this one does in profile, before going into the oven.

When I say plenty, I mean plenty.

Pop this into a 200ºC (400ºF) oven for about half an hour. Keep an eye on it to prevent the crumble burning. We don’t want that. When it comes out, it will have a nice golden colour and will smell amazing.

A top class desert at the best of times.

Yes, I had a small glass of the Grand Marnier with it. It was a really impressive crumble. Very tasty and with a very nice texture. However, if I am cooking a crumble for a regular midweek meal, there will be no “sous vide” in the description. That way, I stay at peace with myself. However, if I invite you over for a fancy sort of bite to eat, expect the be drinking Grand Marnier with the dessert.


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Latest comments
  • This looks distinctly superior, in a very good way. Your crumble topping is smashing, but can I beg you to try a version where there is a waft of ground cinnamon added to the oats and flour, and you bind the dry ingredients with *melted* butter? After baking, you get buttery, biscuity nuggets of crumble which add solid support to any tart fruit – I like a plum or apricot crumble, myself. I am impressed with how well the rhubarb pieces held up to the sous vide process; I’d have thought they’d have gone as limp as canned asparagus.

  • Connor, you’ve combined two of my favorites — rhubarb and crumble. Actually, you had me at rhubarb. 🙂 I’m a saucepan or microwave gal, myself. Never thought to put booze in with rhubarb, though. I have some GM in the liquor cabinet. Hmmmm… I usually use it to macerate oranges, strawberries, stone fruit, etc. I’ve also done an orange/lemon crumble with GM — gotta get creative when the trees go nuts. Kate, I like your technique of using melted butter. Your topping sounds fabulous and I hate cutting in the butter, so that solves all sorts of problems for me! I also add some warm spices and usually some microplaned lemon or orange zest (see previous comment about overzealous citrus trees).

  • Oh dear ! What can one say if one normally does not bale ‘crumbles’ and refuses ‘sous-vide’ ? Pass bye ? But I may want to say ‘hello’ !! Actually was brought up on rhubarb, so shall reconnoitre . . . be well . . .

  • My son would eat this entire thing before you could blink. He loves rhubarb and we are all fans of a good crumble. Delicious as usual.

      • It’s remarkable how much food they can put away. My food budget this year has been busted. He’s not eating a lot of junk and he’s skinny as a pole. Bit jealous of his metabolism!

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