GF Rhubarb crumble
Free-from Rhubarb Crumble
A gluten-free, dairy-free take on the classic dessert. Serve topped with dairy-free custard to get through those cold winter evenings, or with fresh yoghurt or cream for a summertime twist. If you don’t have any rhubarb on hand, simply swap it out for any other fruit of your preference.
PREP TIME: 15 MINS
COOK TIME: 45 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR
For as long as I can remember, my family has been in the habit of growing and cooking our own fruit. Growing up, supermarket-bought jam or bread was a rarity in our house, and we always seemed to have jars of home-bottled marmalade and elderflower cordial stacked in the cupboard.
Although in recent years we’ve lost the allotment that used to supply endless boxes of raspberries each summer, we do have a few things growing in the back garden. One of them happens to be a rhubarb plant, which is finally producing a multitude of large, vibrantly coloured stalks.
As yesterday marked the first day of fresh rhubarb in the house, it was felt by all that turning it into a crumble was a completely justifiable way to spend the evening.
I’m a big advocate for recipes with minimal ingredients that are simple to prepare, and this one doesn’t disappoint. There isn’t any separate cooking of the filling, so it barely leaves any washing up to do either. It’s literally as simple as:
- Chop up the raw fruit and place in the baking dish
- Sprinkle some sugar and spices on top
- Tip in all the crumble topping ingredients into a separate bowl and mix together to form breadcrumbs
- Spoon the topping over the fruit in the dish
- Bake for 45 mins
How to make the topping (using oats)
This recipe uses a mix of gluten-free flour and jumbo rolled oats for the crumble topping. This is mainly because the oats give it a nice texture, but also because GF flour can taste a bit funny in large quantities. I find the mixing up the two gives you a nice, traditional crumble texture.
Be sure to use rolled jumbo oats too, rather than instant ones. Jumbo oats blend in so well with the flour that you wouldn’t know they were there. I haven’t attempted a version with different kinds of oats, but I’m imagining the texture would be a bit boring if you used puree-like instant oats.
Is crumble healthy?
This particular recipe does have some added sugar to combat the natural tartness of the fruit. However, as with anything, you can enjoy it as the occasional one-off here and there without hindering your weight-loss efforts or otherwise impacting any training.
To reduce how much sugar you need, try swapping the rhubarb out for a fruit which is naturally sweeter. Certain types of apple for example, don’t need much extra sugar at all. In fact, a crumble that I made a while back using Pink Lady® apples (the actual variety is called Cripps Pink) didn’t need any extra sugar in the filling at all – just a bit to liven up the topping.
Advance prep tips
Crumble is a fantastic dessert to prepare in advance. This is because none of the raw ingredients need any separate cooking before you put the whole thing in the oven. All you need to do is chop up the fruit, prepare the dry crumble topping and assemble it in a dish. Then cover with clingfilm or tin foil and leave in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking.
Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. You can reheat the crumble with a quick zap in the microwave or by oven-heating it at 180°C / 350°F degrees for around 15 minutes, until heated through. If, however, for some crazy reason you still have some leftovers, you can quite happily freeze this crumble and defrost it within 2 months. Just put back in the oven and bake until thawed all the way through.
- Mixing bowl
- Oven-proof dish
- 450 g or 2.5 cups (approx. 3 large stalks) fresh rhubarb
- 55 g or 0.3 cups soft brown sugar
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 fresh orange, juiced
- 180 g or 1.5 cups Doves plain gluten-free flour
- 90 g or 1.5 cups gluten-free jumbo rolled oats
- 140 g or 1.6 cups dairy-free margarine or butter
- 60 g ¼ cup soft brown sugar
Make the filling
- Preheat the oven to 185°C or 360°F
- Chop the rhubarb into large chunks (or smaller if you prefer a more pureed texture) and place in a large oven-proof dish so that they evenly cover the bottom. Sprinkle over the cinnamon, mixed spice and sugar. Tip in the juice from the orange and a small splash of water
Make the crumble topping
- In a large mixing bowl, tip in the flour, margarine, oats and sugar. With clean hands, rub the ingredients together until the mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs
- Evenly scatter the crumble topping over the rhubarb dish, ensuring the fruit is fully covered. Then place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. The crumble should have developed a light golden-brown colour - note that this may not very dark, due to the use of gluten-free flour. Don't bake much longer than 50-60 mins, as this will only dry out the crumble.
- Serve with dairy-free custard, yoghurt or cream