Cooking with seasonal produce is the best way to get the most authentic flavour – particularly when it comes to sweet fruits like rhubarb. While the deep pink colour is enticing in itself, the slightly sour taste adds even more to homemade desserts like crumble. And it’s incredibly easy to cook from scratch using Chef Dennis’s exclusive recipe.
Crumble is a staple dessert in British households and while it is traditionally made with stewed apples, rhubarb is another beloved filling.
The hard pink stems can be stewed up into a sweet, sticky mixture, which is perfect when paired with a crunchy crumble topping.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, classically trained chef Dennis Littley, best known as “Chef Dennis”, shared his easy recipe for the “ultimate seasonal treat”.
And he’s got a secret ingredient for an extra “warm and spicy” flavour.
For the filling:
- Five cups fresh rhubarb, chopped into half-inch pieces (approximately four or five stalks)
- One cup of granulated sugar
- One-quarter of a cup of all-purpose flour
- One teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Zest one orange (optional)
For the crumble topping:
- One cup of all-purpose flour
- One cup of rolled oats
- One cup light brown sugar, packed
- Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- One-quarter of a teaspoon of salt
- Half a cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
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While this easy recipe tastes best with fresh, seasonal rhubarb, you can substitute frozen stems instead, just be sure to thaw it completely and drain any excess liquid before using it.
The chef noted that gluten-free all-purpose flour can also be used with certified gluten-free oats instead. And you can replace the flour in the filling with cornstarch for another gluten-free thickener.
Likewise, with the topping, the chef said: “If you prefer a crisper crumble topping, you can use cold coconut oil instead of butter. This will give the topping a slightly nutty flavour and a crispier texture.
“And for an extra burst of flavour, you can add a teaspoon of ground ginger or cinnamon to the rhubarb filling mixture. This will complement the tartness of the rhubarb and give the dish a warm, spicy flavour.”
Start by preheating your oven to 190C and lightly greasing a nine-inch square baking dish, or a similar size.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped rhubarb, granulated sugar, one-quarter cup of flour, vanilla extract, and orange zest (if using).
Combine until the rhubarb is evenly coated and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
Dennis noted that you can stew the stems instead by cooking them in a pot with a little bit of water and sugar over medium heat until the rhubarb is “tender”, and has “released all of its juices”.
In another mixing bowl, prepare the crumble topping by combining one cup of flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well to combine. Add the cold, cubed butter to the dry mixture.
Then, use a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers, to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the rhubarb filling in the baking dish, ensuring it’s completely covered.
Bake the rhubarb crumble in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving to allow the sauce to thicken. Dennis said: “Serve the rhubarb crumble warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of custard for the ultimate seasonal treat. Enjoy!”
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