Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rhubarb Brown Sugar Crumble

I will always have a sweet tooth. Yet I'm finding the desserts I gravitate toward have changed over the years -- where I used to always go for the sweetest of the sweet (chocolate cheesecake, pecan pie, etc.) I now find my cravings leaning toward the tart and refreshing. Anything with citrus (particularly lemon), sour cherries, and rhubarb.

That's not to say this Rhubarb Brown Sugar Crumble isn't sweet -- it has two cups of sugar between the streusel topping and the fruit filling -- but it also has a nice tang and tartness. I also tend to cut back on the amount of sugar in recipes nowadays -- and I did the same thing here. I've reprinted the recipe straight as it is from Fine Cooking magazine, but I reduced the amount of sugar by a quarter-cup in both the filling and the streusel. If you're not a fan of tart/sour, keep the amounts as-is.

I've written about fruit crisps and crumbles before -- likely because they're one of the desserts I make most. You've got that great combination of tender cooked fruit, crispy, buttery oatmeal topping, and likely some ice cream or whipped cream served alongside. So much easier than a pie, and I think more interesting, texturally.

Plus you can switch up the toppings and fillings depending on what you like. I often add nuts to the topping (pecans or almonds are always good); as for the filling I often do apple, but rhubarb is my new fave. My mom makes a killer peach one, as well as a great mixed berry one. I'm thinking plum will be the next one I try. Plum crumble with a cardamom-walnut streusel topping. Sounds good, no?

Rhubarb Brown Sugar Crumble
Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

Streusel topping:

4-1/2 oz (1 cup) all-purpose flour 
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 oz (8 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


7 cups 1/3-inch-thick sliced rhubarb (about 2 lb)
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon, using a rasp-style grater)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish with the softened butter.

Make the topping: In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt and pulse several times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal and clumps together when squeezed lightly, about 1 minute.

Make the filling: Combine the rhubarb, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a spatula until evenly mixed. Transfer the rhubarb mixture to the baking pan, and sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit; the pan will be very full, but the crumble will settle as it bakes.

Bake until the topping is lightly browned, the rhubarb is tender (probe in the center with a skewer to check), and the juices are bubbling thickly around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool to warm or room temperature and to allow the juices to thicken, at least 1 hour.

Source: Fine Cooking, April 2007


  1. Mmm, nothing like a delicious crumble with vanilla ice cream. So comforting and warm. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your crumble up.