May 20, 2012

Mini Rhubarb Crumble

A few months ago, Mr. Buttercream and I were traveling in Scotland.  We took a guided multi-day tour of the Highlands, and were unfortunately starting to feel the effects from days of eating greasy restaurant food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Our tour stopped in a town called Fort Augustus for lunch.  Queasy and slightly green, Mr. Buttercream and I desperately looked around for something light to eat.

We settled on a restaurant that had a pretty extensive dessert menu, thinking that a fruit dessert would be good for our stomachs.  We ordered rhubarb crumble and some herbal tea.  Our crumble came.  It had something on top that we assumed was cream.  It was not.  It was cheese.  Cheese.  Hiding under the cheesy abomination was some tasty sweet rhubarb, but getting at it without accidentally getting a bite of the horrible topping was difficult.  As you can imagine, this did nothing to help our queasiness, and we returned to the tour bus both hungry and even more ill.


Since that trip, I decided to make rhubarb crumble the way it ought to be made: without cheese.  I've found that pure rhubarb crumble (as opposed to a rhubarb/strawberry or rhubarb/apple crumble) really depends on quite a bit of sugar to make it palatable.  My first attempt was far too tart.  My husband loved it (he loves tart things) but I couldn't eat it without some ice cream accompaniment.  I finally settled on the correct amount of sugar (for me at least) for eating this plain.

I made these crumbles in ramekins so that they can be frozen and baked at any time.  They're incredibly easy to prepare, and make a really tasty and spontaneous breakfast or dessert (or lunch...).  These are great with ice cream or whipped cream (although you may want to decrease the sugar), just please please don't put cheese on top.  Trust me, it does not taste good.

No cheese.  YUM.

Mini Rhubarb Crumble
Makes 6 individual crumbles.  The topping is based on The New Best Recipe cookbook's Apple Crisp recipe.

Ingredients for Topping
6 tablespoons flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup ground nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
¼ cup rolled oats
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

Ingredients for Filling
1½ pounds rhubarb, peeled and cut into ¾" long pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
1½ cups sugar (use only 1 cup if serving with ice cream or sweet whipped cream)
3 tablespoons corn starch

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. For the topping, combine all ingredients except the butter in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles wet sand.  Refrigerate.
  3. For the filling, toss all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Divide the rhubarb filling evenly into 6 4-inch ramekins.  Spoon the topping on top until the rhubarb is completely covered.
  5. If freezing, cover with plastic wrap and put into the freezer now.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (25 minutes if frozen).  Allow to cool for a while...if you can.  These are delicious warm, but can be a little watery until they cool.


  1. Hehehehe, "Mr. Buttercream?" adorable.
    Also NOM. Sad I missed out on baking this weekend, but sadder I will have to face british baking. Although so far the food has been just fine :-)

    1. One of my favorite things about Britain was the bakeries. You should go eat a flapjack!

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