Rhubarb Crumble


A dish of Swedish style rabarberpaj (rhubarb crumble)

Swedish rabarberpaj is more like a crumble than an English pie. However, I think it is nicer than a traditional crumble, as the topping is lighter. My version adds some ginger and orange, which are wonderful partners to rhubarb, and uses some nuts on the crumble. If you want a more traditional rabarberpaj then omit the nuts, ginger and orange zest. John Duxbury




• The colour is enhanced if you used forced rhubarb as it is redder and sweeter than ordinary rhubarb.  (Forced rhubarb is grown in large sheds or under terracota pots and so is ready much earlier than rhubarb which is not covered. The most famous area for forced rhubarb farm is the Rhubarb Triangle, an area of 9-square-mile in Yorkshire in the north of England. One of rhubarb farms is owned by David Westwood where the picking process is as enchanting as the fruit itself. Find out why by reading the excellent article by lovefood.com.)
• Dot the crumble mixture over the top, leaving some gaps so that the rhubarb mixture shows through, even if you don’t use all the crumble mixture.
• You can do steps 4 and 5 in a food processor if you prefer but I think you get better crumbs doing it by hand, as well as less washing-up!



600 g (1¼ lb) rhubarb, cleaned and cut into 1 cm (½") long pieces
150 g (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tbsp   cornflour (corn starch)
1   thumb-sized piece of ginger, peel and finely chopped
1   orange, zest only
    butter or margarine for greasing dish


90 g (¾ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
60 g (¾ cup) porridge (rolled) oats
1 tbsp   caster (superfine) sugar
75 g (⅓ cup) cold butter, cubed
25 g (2 tbsp) almond flakes (slivered almonds)


1. Preheat the oven to 225°C (450°F, Gas 8, Fan 190°C).

2. Grease a 22cm (8”) diameter dish which is about 2½ cm (1 inch) deep.

Ingredients for a Swedish rhubarb crumble

3. Put all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and mix thoroughly then tip into the pie dish.

Ingredients for a Swedish rhubarb crumble

4. Mix the flour, oats and sugar in a large bowl.

5. Rub in the butter using your finger tips until it forms crumbs and starts to stick together.

Topping for a Swedish rhubarb crumble

6. Crumble the mixture loosely over the filling with your fingers, so that it leaves slight gaps and you can still see the rhubarb mixture underneath. (You might not need it all.)

A baked rhubarb crumble just out of the oven

7. Scatter a few flaked almonds on top and then bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Swedish rhubarb crumble served with vanilla sauce

8. Traditionally rabarberpaj is served with vaniljsås (vanilla sauce) but it also goes well with vanilla ice cream, whipped or clotted cream or crème fraîche.


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