Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Rhubarb and strawberry crumble

You know those lame family jokes that I believe every family has a set of? My husband is the author of most of ours and even managed to make one about crumbles. Every time I'm preparing a crumble - rhubarb and strawberry is our favourite - he or any of the children can be heard singing a line from Adele's Bond song Skyfall, with slight changes. Instead of when it crumbles, they sing let it crumble. I know, terribly lame, but still it puts a smile on my face every time. I don't know what it is with a crumble baking in the oven, but it seems that ten minutes before it's ready everyone is already in the kitchen waiting, even walking around my farm table and peeking through the oven window. It must be the aroma. Crumbles are indeed comforting, even more so in autumn when the leaves have started to turn.

We are very fond of rhubarb crumbles with either fresh strawberries or blueberries, preferably both, but fresh plums and apricots are also wonderful. Instead of adding much sugar to the fruit and berry base, I use chopped semi-dried dates and only two tablespoons of sugar. Dates are naturally rich in sugar but they are also a good source of dietary fibre.

Most of you are probably used to plenty of butter in the crumble topping but mine contains none. I don't bake or cook with butter. I rub a bit of soft coconut oil into spelt flour and then I usually add ground almonds, or finely chopped, for that delicious crunchy texture. Walnuts and hazelnuts are also ideal.

When I was growing up I spent much time with my paternal grandparents. Their rhubarb bed in the garden was large and we ate the stalks like candy. The rhubarb was also used to make jam and my mother would often prepare a rhubarb pudding for dessert. Here in the UK, a rhubarb pudding looks like a cake - nothing like my mother used to make. I guess my mother's version could be called Nordic style rhubarb pudding. It was smooth like a thick soup or a smoothie, served warm with cream - sugary and delicious!

I had already posted a rhubarb and strawberry crumble recipe on the old food blog. In essence, this is the same recipe but the base is larger and I have added blueberries. You can replace the blueberries with more strawberries or other berries. We lived in Luxembourg when I put the recipe together and were so lucky to have rhubarb in the garden. I was inspired by a rhubarb and blueberry crumble recipe from my friend CafeSigrun that I had tried and loved. Remember her cookbook that I told you about? It just got published in Iceland. In fact, this morning I was listening to a live interview with her on an Icelandic radio station where she was introducing it. More on the book later. If you are expecting guests and want to serve the crumble for dessert you can prepare everything beforehand but wait with topping the base. Do so right before the crumble goes into the oven or else you will lose the crunchy texture that makes a crumble so tasty.


fruit & berry compote/base
400-450 g rhubarb
300 g strawberries
150 g blueberries
100 g semi-dried dates
2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

crumble topping
50 g ground almonds or finely chopped
100 g white spelt flour
3 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil, soft
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice or water

Fruit and berry base: Wash the rhubarb, trim off the leaves and chop the stalks into 2-2.5 cm chunks (about 1 inch) and put them into a large bowl. If the stalks are chunky chop them more finely. Rinse and hull the strawberries. Depending on their size, either halve or quarter the strawberries and add them to the bowl. Remove the stones, then chop the dates finely and add them to the bowl. Finally add the sugar, ground ginger and nutmeg and mix gently with a spoon. Set aside while preparing the crumble topping.

Crumble topping: If not using store-bought ground almonds, process whole almonds in a food processor. Set them aside. Combine the spelt flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the soft coconut oil and rub together with your fingertips (if it's warm and your coconut oil is in a liquid form then simply place it in the fridge before using). Add the ground almonds and orange juice and rub together a little longer.

Put the compote in a pie dish and spread it evenly (mine is 25 x 5 cm (about 10 x 2 in.) with sides that don't slope much). Top the compote with the crumble topping and bake at 200°C/400°F (180°C fan oven) for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. If the top starts getting too brown, you may want to cover it with baking parchment or foil about ten minutes before the crumble is ready.

Allow the crumble to cool for a few minutes before serving with whipped cream, home-made vanilla ice cream or Greek yoghurt.

Uppskrift á íslensku.


  1. Note to myself: Do not open Lisa's blog while in the office. Now I am craving such a luscious crumble!!!

  2. Maybe, Igor, just maybe this was my revenge for all those photos you posted of Greece!!!


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