Rhubarb Crunch

Sunday 3 March 2013

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I am so excited because the early Rhubarb season is well upon us here in the UK.  Not main crop rhubarb, but those deliciously pink and tender juicy stems of early forced rhubarb that begin showing up in the local shops at this time of year.   It's actually in season from late December on . . . but it is only now that I dare to splurge on it, as it's price has come down.

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This early rhubarb is grown like little jewels under cover ,in long black sheds in an area in Yorkshire which is lovingly known as the infamous Rhubarb Triangle!  Kept from light, these delicately precious little shoots have been grown in  and around the Wakefield area in much the same manner since the 1880's.  This is a method that the keen gardener can also reproduce on their own in the home garden and potting sheds . . . but I am a lazy gardener I'm afraid and I pick mine up at the shops.

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We have a rather large rhubarb patch in our own back garden . . . and it varies in productivity from year to year.   Last year was not a great year, but already now this year those dark red stemmed and greenly crinkly leafed shoots are poking their heads up and I am hoping this year we have a much better harvest.  We do love it so . . .

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I was able to procure a bundle of those early tender pink shoots at the shops this week, and for only £2.  I decided it was worth a little splurge to make us one of our favourite desserts . . . rhubarb crunch.  It's similar to Rhubarb Crumble . . . cept I think it's much, much tastier.

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I love this dessert, which is so very easy to make.  You simply make a crumb mixture, which is used as both a base and a topping.  You cover the base with chopped crisp tender pink jewels . . . and then you cover those little pink delights with a simple thick sugar sauce and finish it off with a final layer of the crumbs.

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Popped into a moderate oven for about three quarters of an hour and you are rewarded with this taste tempting treasure . . .crisply bottomed,  with a wonderful sweet/tart filling . . . and a crumbly buttery topping that goes down a real treat at this time of year.

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A little bit of  spring and summer's bounty, enjoyed early in the year . . . a tempting teaser of what's to come.  Every year I say I am going to use it in something savoury, but . . . every year my sweet tooth gets the best of me and I give in to . . . this.

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The Toddster always enjoys his with lashings of warm custard, but me . . . I prefer my custard in the frozen shape of Vanilla bean ice cream.    You can't argue with that.  Everybody's happy.  What more could you possibly ask for??

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*Rhubarb Crunch*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

An oldie but a goodie.   I don't know anyone who doesn't love this!

100g of plain flour (1 cup)
60g old fashioned oats (3/4 cup)
200g soft light brown sugar (1 cup, packed)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
115g of butter, melted (1/2 cup)
450g of diced fresh rhubarb (about 4 cups)

For the sauce:
190g granulated sugar (1 cup)
2 TBS corn flour (corn starch)
250ml of water (1 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract

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Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Butter a 9 inch square baking dish.  Set aside.

Stir the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon together.  Stir in the melted butter until combined completely with no dry pockets.  Press half of the crumbs into the prepared baking dish.  Scatter the chopped rhubarb over top.

Combine the sugar, corn flour, water and vanilla for the sauce.   Bring to the boil and cook until thick and clear.  Pour this mixture evenly over top of the rhubarb.  Top with the remainder of the crumb mixture, pressing it down gently.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling at the edges.

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Allow to stand for about 15 minutes, then cut into squares to serve.  Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream or custard, or plain pouring cream.


  1. Looks like rhubarb season gold:)

  2. I haven't yet seen any rhubarb in the stores...I must take a close look as I sure don't want to miss out on those wonderful rhubarb crunches!

  3. You've made me want something made with rhubarb...mmmmm....maybe some rhubarb custard pie that my ex-fil used to make!

  4. I'm a rhubarb fan, but we are so far from rhubarb season. I'll just look at your yummy dessert and dream of seeing rhubarb in the stores.

  5. Scrumptious!! I can't wait till rhubarb season here so I can make this! I love rhubarb, but haven't baked with it yet. My mom used to every summer. So yummy looking!
    Hugs, April

  6. I could not resist the pretty ruby coloured rhubarb in the store, so I grabbed some and tried this out for us today. I love rhubarb and I love fruit crumbles, so I knew I'd like this. And I did. For once I didn't tweak the recipe (I did think about some ginger with the rhubarb, but decided to leave it for another time). I followed it faithfully and we thoroughly enjoyed our dessert.

    I had mine with warm custard and my husband had his with ice cream (he's weird like you when it comes to ice cream with warm desserts). We were naughty and had seconds, but there is still plenty for us tomorrow.

    1. This in all honest is one of my favourite desserts Marie. I love rhubarb anything but when it's done this way I just adore it! Thank you so much for trying it and for leaving your experience with it so that others can see! I am so pleased it was enjoyed. Ginger would be a great addition! xoxo


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