Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

There are few desserts I enjoy more than a good fruit crumble. You can keep your cake this and chocolate that ’cause for me there’s nothing better than warm fruit with a sweet, buttery topping. Just about any single or combination of fruit can be used for crumble, but for spring that classic pairing of strawberry and rhubarb fits the bill perfectly.

I know that most of the world seems to love oats in crumble topping but that’s a definite no-no for me. Now, if I was at your home for dinner and you served it that way for dessert, I’d eat it. I’d probably even enjoy it. But I wouldn’t pay for it in a restaurant like that and that’s definitely not how I make it at home. Ultimately, what I crave is the combination of soft and buttery crumbliness against sweet, slightly tart fruit.

I’m not beyond a little artistry though, ’cause while I might not add oats, I do like to add a smidge of orange zest which plays so nicely with most fruits. Plain, though, is never wrong.

And I don’t, as a rule, add cornstarch to the fruit. The juices may be a little runny while hot, but they thicken by themselves on cooling and cornstarch always feels to me like it gummies up flavours. I’m sure this isn’t true, I use it for plenty of other things, it just never feels like a necessary ingredient for crumble.

And as far as the amount of fruit goes, it really depends on the size of the dish you’re using. I used roughly a pound each of strawberries and rhubarb for an oval dish that measures 11 x 8 at its widest points, but, generally, I just eyeball everything.

The recipe is easily doubled, or halved, and the ratio of fruit to topping does not have to be exact. A touch more of one or the other will be just fine.

As for the finishing touches, that’s purely personal too. Serve the crumble hot, cold or room temperature. Serve it with scoops of vanilla ice cream, a frothy pile of cream that’s been whipped or a glug of cream that hasn’t. Then of course, there’s that most classic of pairings – custard. Depending on weather, mood or cravings, sometimes I’ll go one way, sometimes another. That’s just how the crumble, um…crumbles.


  • 1 cup (130g) flour
  • 1/2 cup (125g) brown sugar
  • 1 stick (115g) butter, cold
  • zest of an orange (optional)
  • pinch of salt


  • 1lb (450g) rhubarb
  • 1lb (450g) strawberries
  • 1/3 cup (85g) sugar
  1. Turn oven on to 350F.
  2. Roughly chop the fruit and put it into a bowl with the sugar and stir. Let sit while you make the topping.
  3. Chop the butter into chunks and put it into a bowl with all the other topping ingredients. Rub together until coarse and crumbly.
  4. Put fruit into the dish your using and spread topping evenly over.
  5. Bake about 30-40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is a nice golden brown.

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