Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble with Star Anise

This easy Rhubarb Crumble is an extremely simple traditional English pudding. What makes this recipe special is the addition of star anise which gives it a wonderful mild aniseed flavour which goes brilliantly with the sweet-sour rhubarb.

In praise of fruit crumble

I am a big fan of fruit crumbles. They are pretty much fool-proof, can use a range of different fruit depending on the season and what is available and, like this one, it is really easy to add a unique flavour twist with a bit of spice. They are also the perfect make-ahead dessert and are very versatile as they can be eaten cold, at room-temperature or hot from the oven. Just add a dollop of custard, cream or ice-cream and you have the perfect warming, comforting pudding.

I make Apple Crumble all year around but, in spring and early summer, Rhubarb Crumble is my favourite. This is largely because I have a very large rhubarb plant in my garden. We inherited it when we moved into our current house and for many years I tried to get rid of it as it is literally in the middle of our main flower bed. Also, at that point, it was not something I particularly wanted to cook or eat. The giant rhubarb plant stubbornly resisted all my attempts to kill it and gradually I gave in and decided to try and cook with it. Now it is one of my favourite ingredients and I actively look forward to rhubarb season. In addition to crumble, I also make lots of other rhubarb recipes including Rhubarb Gin, Rhubarb Fool, Rhubarb Compote, Rhubarb Roulade, Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Curd.

Rhubarb

Things you need to know about Rhubarb Crumble

As with all crumbles, it is very easy to make. You do not need to cook the rhubarb in advance. You simply wash and cut up the rhubarb stalks and add them to the dish.

A basic Rhubarb Crumble recipe is very simple to make but there are lots of ways that you can make it a bit different.

  • In this recipe, I add star anise to provide a bit of flavour enhancement. Other spices that you could add include cardamon (1 teaspoon of ground cardamon powder or 3 cardamon pods), ginger (1 teaspoon of ground ginger) or vanilla (1 teaspoon of vanilla extract).
  • Orange is also a great flavour partner to rhubarb so adding the zest and juice of a small orange to the rhubarb pieces is also a great way to enhance your crumble.
  • A scattering of almonds (or hazelnuts or pine nuts) on top of the crumble topping is also a very good addition. Add them five minutes before the end of the cooking time so that they will be toasted but not burnt.

What is star anise?

Star anise is a spice, shaped like a five-pointed star, which is made from the fruit of the Chinese evergreen tree Illicium verum. It is one of the most popular spices used in Chinese cooking and provides the dominant flavour in Chinese five spice powder. It is also widely used in Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian dishes. I think the star shaped seed pods are pretty but they are quite large and hard so using ready ground Star Anise powder, or grinding it yourself, is a good option. It adds an aniseed flavour to food and, in addition to rhubarb, is a good flavour partner with roast meat, especially pork and duck and in curries. In fact, it is most widely used in savoury, rather than sweet, recipes.

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Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble with Star Anise

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Pudding
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This easy recipe takes traditional Rhubarb Crumble to a new level with the addition of star anise which provides a subtle aniseed flavour.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 stems of fresh rhubarb
  •  6 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground star anise or 3 whole star anise pods
  • 175 g butter or vegetable fat
  • 350 g plain flour
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • Flaked almonds

 

Rhubarb


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Wash your rhubarb stems and then cut them into 1 cm lengths.
  3. Put the rhubarb pieces in a baking dish (20 cm x 28 cm).  Sprinkle with caster sugar.  You will need approximately one and a half tablespoons of sugar for each rhubarb stem.  If you are wary of the sourness of rhubarb, you can add two tablespoons of sugar for each stem.
  4. If you are using ground star anise sprinkle it over the rhubarb. If you are using whole star anise seedpods add them to the dish.  You will get a milder flavour if you are using the whole seedpods.  You will also need to let people know that they are there!
  5. Next make the crumble topping.  Put the 350 g flour and 175 g butter (or vegetable fat) in a bowl and “rub in” using your fingers,  or use a food processor, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Then stir in the 175 g of caster sugar.
  6. Pour the crumble topping on top of the rhubarb.
  7. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 35 minutes.
  8. If you wish, you can sprinkle some flaked almonds on top of the crumble for the final 5 minutes that it is in the oven.  They should get brown and toasted (but not burnt) if they are added at this stage.

Rhubarb Crumble


Keywords: rhubarb, crumble, star anise, dessert, pudding, recipe

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food Feast Glorious Feast, and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday, [email protected] and [email protected], Spoons and Spatulas

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Apple Crumble
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Apple Crumble Recipe

Basic Apple Crumble Recipe

This basic Apple Crumble recipe is the perfect introduction to classic English puddings and pudding-making in general. It is very quick and easy to make, can be produced a day ahead and is great either hot from the oven or at room temperature. Pretty much everyone loves apple-based desserts – from apple pie to baked apples – so it is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser too. I love to eat it with a drizzle of double cream but you can also eat it with custard, which is probably more traditional, or with a good vanilla ice cream.

I use only cooking apples in my crumble. These are apples which will disintegrate to a mush when cooked so that you have a thick apple puree at the base of your crumble. Eating apples will retain some firmness when cooked. If you want a bit more texture to your crumble, you can use a combination of half cooking apples and half eating apples. In my view, just using eating apples for a crumble doesn’t really work as they do not give that soft, thick apple sauce that you need for this kind of pudding. Keep the eating apples for deserts such as tarte tatin where you want your apples to keep their shape.

The only flavouring, apart from apples, is cinnamon which is a classic flavour companion. The smell of warm cinnamon-spiced apples is guaranteed to make you feel warm and cosy on a cold winter’s day.

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Apple crumble

Apple Crumble Recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Pudding
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This basic Apple Crumble recipe is a classic English pudding which brings together cinnamon-flavoured apples with a crisp, buttery topping.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 kg cooking apples (eg Bramleys)
  • 25 to 50 g caster sugar 
  • A little ground cinnamon
  • 175 g butter or vegetable fat
  • 350 g plain flour
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • Pinenuts or flaked almonds

Apple Crumble


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Peel and core the cooking apples.  Cut into pieces of approximately 1 cm.
  3. Put the apple pieces in a large baking dish (20 cm x 28 cm).  Sprinkle with caster sugar.  You will need between 25 g and 50 g.  The amount of sugar depend on the sourness of the apples and also how sweet you like your crumble.  You can taste a piece of the apple to see how sour it is.   Add a little ground cinnamon.
  4. Next make the crumble topping.  Put the 350 g flour and 175 g butter (or vegetable fat) in a bowl and “rub in” using your fingers,  or use a food processor, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Then stir in the 175 g of caster sugar.
  5. Pour the crumble topping on top of the apples.
  6. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. If you wish, you can sprinkle some pinenuts or flaked almonds on top of the crumble for the final 5 minutes that it is in the oven.  They should get brown and toasted (but not burnt) if they are added at this stage.

Apple Crumble


Notes

You can eat your crumble hot from the oven or at room temperature.  I think it is best at room temperature, not a traditional view (!), as it brings out the flavours of apple and cinnamon.

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Apply to Face Blog and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday 

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding

Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding gives a citrus boost to a traditional Bread and Butter pudding. In addition to marmalade, it also includes fresh orange zest and orange liqueur which boost the citrus flavour.

I love traditional British puddings and think they are particularly well-suited to our somewhat cold and damp winters. Bread and Butter Pudding is probably one of the quickest and easiest to make. It was actually the first pudding I ever made when I was eleven in a school “domestic science” class and it has regularly featured in my children’s school cookery lessons over the years. It is the perfect pudding for children to make due to its simplicity. I make Bread and Butter Pudding a lot and it is pretty much my go-to recipe when I suddenly realise that I need to make something to follow the Sunday roast. It can be made very quickly and you are likely to have all the ingredients in your store cupboard.

This Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding is a traditional variant on the basic Bread and Butter Pudding. It is also known as Osborne Pudding, allegedly because Queen Victoria enjoyed it when she stayed at Osborne House, her palatial holiday home on the Isle of Wight. Osborne Pudding is generally made with brown bread but I use either brown or white depending on what I happen to have available. The fresh orange zest and orange liqueur are my additions, as I think they enhance the flavour, and are not traditionally included.

Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding

Other easy puddings

I do not have a particularly sweet tooth. I am definitely a crisps rather than chocolate kind of person. However, I do love a home-made pudding. During the week, we aim to be healthy and will eat fruit or sometimes yogurt after our evening meal. However, I generally cook a big Sunday lunch, including a roast for the meat-lovers, and I will always follow it up with a pudding. During the summer, I will often go for home-made ice cream which can be made in advance, often with a floral note such as Rose Ice Cream or Lavender Ice Cream, or something involving meringue such as my Lemon Pavlova. However, in winter I will go for something with a bit more substance! That is when I will produce Bread and Butter Pudding, fruit crumble or, a particular favourite with my youngest son, Banoffee Pie.

Easy Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding

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Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding

Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 1x
  • Category: Pudding
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding, containing fresh orange zest and orange liqueur,  is a citrus twist on a traditional English recipe.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 thin slices of white or brown bread
  • Butter
  • Marmalade
  • 3 teaspoons of orange liqueur (optional)
  • Zest of one orange
  • 500 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 25 g soft dark brown sugar plus a little more to sprinkle on top


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.

  2. Butter an oven-proof dish.
  3. Butter your slices of bread and spread with marmalade.   Place in the buttered oven-proof dish.
  4. If you wish, sprinkle each slice with a little orange liqueur.
  5. Grate the orange zest over the bread slices.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs and 25 g brown sugar.  Whisk until combined and then pour over the bread slices.  Sprinkle a little more brown sugar on top of the mixture.
  7. If possible, leave for around 15 minutes so that the bread absorbs some of the milky mixture.
  8. Place the oven-proof dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the custard is set and the top is golden and crispy.


Keywords: bread and butter, pudding, bread pudding, marmalade, osborne

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday  and Antonia at Zoale

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

Lime Cheesecake

Easy, make-ahead, no-cook Lime Cheesecake

This Lime Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for a celebration or a family dinner. You can make it in advance, it does not require cooking and it has a fantastic combination of creaminess with zesty citrus. It is not too heavy which, combined with its citrus zest, makes it the perfect ending to a special meal.

I make all types of cheesecakes, and also desserts such as Banoffee Pie which have a similar biscuit base. There is something about the combination of the smashed-up buttery biscuit with a creamy topping which seems to be popular with all ages! Smashing up the biscuits is also quite therapeutic..

This is a no-bake recipe. I think the way that it works is almost magical. The citrus juices react with the cream cheese and the cream causing it to solidify. The mixture may seem too liquid when it is first combined but, once it has been poured into the tin and left for a couple of hours, it will have firmed up.

All things citrus – lovely limes and lovely lemons..

I love all things citrus and would take the lemon or lime flavoured dessert over chocolate any day of the week. (I accept I may be in the minority!) If you share my love of citrus, and like this Lime Cheesecake, you might also like some of my other recipes such as Lemon Pavlova, Lemon Curd Ice Cream, Lemon Drizzle Cake or Blood Orange Cake.

Easy Lime Cheesecake

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Lime Cheesecake

Lime Cheesecake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Cheesecake
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This tangy, make-ahead no-cook lime cheesecake is such an easy dessert.  Its not too heavy and its zesty citrus flavour is perfect at the end of special meal.

 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 175 g digestive biscuits
  • 75 g butter
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 350 g cream cheese
  • 150 ml double cream
  • Fresh lime slices to decorate (optional)

Lime Cheesecake


Instructions

  1. Crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs.  I have two methods to do this – both equally therapeutic.  Either I put the biscuits in a plastic sandwich bag and then bash with a rolling pin or I put the biscuits in a metal bowl (the one from my food processor is perfect) and bash with a rolling pin.
  2. Melt the butter.  I generally do this by putting it in a bowl and heating briefly in the microwave.
  3. Stir the melted butter into the crumbs.
  4. Press the buttery crumbs into a 20 cm loose-based flan or cake tin.  Put the tin into the fridge while you get on and prepare the other ingredients.  The butter will cool and solidify and mean that the base of your cheesecake is stable.
  5. In a bowl, mix the zest and juice of the limes and lemon with the sugar and cream cheese.
  6. Beat the double cream until it forms soft peaks and then fold it into the mixture.   The mixture will look lumpy and also a bit runny.  Do not worry – it is supposed to look like that!
  7. Spoon the mixture over the biscuit crumb base. 
  8. Leave the cheesecake in the fridge for several hours, ideally overnight, to set.  The acid from the citrus fruit will react with the cream and cream cheese and form a firm mixture so that it should be easy to remove from the tin when you are ready to eat it.
  9. If you wish, you can decorate the top of the cheesecake with fresh lime slices or some grated lime zest.

 

Lime Cheesecake


Keywords: cheesecake, lime, lemon

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Recipes Made Easy and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and [email protected]

Products from Amazon.co.uk

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut

Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut

Easy loaf cake combining tropical flavours of lime and coconut

Lemon Curd

Easy Lemon Curd

It is so easy to make your own Lemon Curd to use in a range of desserts and cakes or simply to eat on fresh bread!

Lemon Pavlova

Lemon Pavlova

Light, citrus dessert using fresh lemon curd

Lemon Curd Ice Cream

Lemon Curd Ice Cream

Easy, ice cream using fresh lemon curd

Candied Lemon and Lime Slices - cake decoration

Candied Lemon and Lime Slices

Sweet citrus slices for use in decorating cakes and desserts

Vegetarian Mince Pies

Vegetarian Mince Pies - a Christmas recipe

Vegetarian Mince Pies – crisp flaky golden pastry and rich fruity brandy-infused mincemeat and all ready in just over half an hour. Your kitchen will be filled with delicious seasonal baking aromas and you will be able to offer everyone, veggies and meat-eaters, a warm pie fresh from the oven. If you want to get into the Christmas baking vibe, without doing anything too complicated or time consuming, then this is your go-to recipe.

In a world where there is a proliferation of good-quality ready-made Mince Pies, I think it is still worth making your own as it is an easy short-cut to seasonal baking bliss without too much effort. At this time of the year, spending an hour or so making these beauties, ignoring the cold outside, is just what I want to do. This is the perfect, no-fuss Christmas recipe!

Vegetarian Mince Pies - a Christmas recipe

What you need to know about this recipe

This is my manifesto for Mince Pie making heaven.

  • I think home-made Mincemeat is best and I have a recipe on this blog. However, you do need to make it in advance and, frankly, you may not have either the time or inclination to do this. Using shop-bought mincemeat is absolutely fine but try and go for one that is good quality. If you are using shop-bought mincemeat, you can add a teaspoon of brandy or port to the mixture, which will really lift the flavour, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you don’t want to use alcohol. Adding some grated orange or lemon peel is also good.
  • Whether you are using home-made or shop-bought mincemeat, you can add an additional hidden treat to your pies. I will sometimes add the following to each pie, on top of the mincemeat filling, before putting on the pastry lid: a chunk of marzipan, a few dried cranberries, a piece of dark chocolate, a glace cherry or a lump of cheese.
  • Again, I think home-made pastry is best. It has a buttery crispness which even good quality ready-made pastry doesn’t seem to have. It is also really easy to make your own pastry. However, again, you may not have the time or inclination to make your own. If you want to use shop-bought pastry, that is fine. Just make sure you get a brand that is “all butter” as it will generally taste better.
  • You can go for different shaped “lids” for you pies but, honestly, stars are best. It is Christmas after all and you can’t get much more festive than a star!
  • When you are baking your pies, make sure that the door to your kitchen is open so the smell of baking and alcohol-infused fruit spreads throughout your house.
How to eat your mince pies

Without a doubt, mince pies are best eaten warm. If you are not eating them immediately, you can re-heat them by popping them in the oven at 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4 for five minutes. You can eat them on their own. You can eat them with whipped or pouring cream (if you must). I eat mine with a lump of strong cheese (extra mature cheddar) and a glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry, if I can. Try it before you judge.

Vegetarian Mince Pies - a Christmas recipe
Other festive sauces and accompaniments

I think that no festive meal is complete without some warm and fragrant Mince Pies made with home-made vegetarian Mincemeat. They are the perfect Christmas recipe! Another of my Christmas baking recipes, which goes very well with Mince Pies, is my Cinnamon Biscuits (Cookies) flavoured with cranberries and tangerine.

Having the right sauces and accompaniments can take a festive meal to the next level. If you are preparing a special festive meal for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year you might like to try some of my other recipes for drinks, snacks, accompaniments and desserts. They are very easy and are a great way to create a celebratory festive feast!

How to make vegetarian Mince Pies

Vegetarian Mince Pies

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Vegetarian Mince Pies

Vegetarian Mince Pies

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large pies 1x
  • Category: Pies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These easy Vegetarian Mince Pies combine crisp buttery pastry with rich, brandy-infused dried fruit.  They are the taste of Christmas!


Ingredients

Scale

For the pastry:

  • 275 g plain flour
  • 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 1 large jar of mincemeat – see my easy Vegetarian Mincemeat recipe or use good quality shop-bought
  • A little milk and caster sugar

Vegetarian Mince Pies


Instructions

  1. Set you oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.  
  3. If you have time, allow your pastry dough to rest for half an hour, wrapped in cling film, as this will make the resulting pastry more tender.  If you do not have the time, don’t worry!
  4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface so that it is as thin as possible.
  5. Using a round pastry cutter which is slightly larger than the depressions in your pie tin cut circles from your pastry.  I use a 7.5 cm diameter pastry cutter which is fairly standard.
  6. Place a circle in each of the depressions in your pie tin.
  7. Put 2 teaspoons of mincemeat onto each pastry circle.
  8. Using a star shaped pastry cutter, cut stars from the remainder of the pastry. Place them on top of each mound of mincemeat.
  9. Paint the top of each star with a little milk using a pastry brush.  Sprinkle with caster sugar.  This will make the top of the pies golden and crunchy.  (Some people add beaten egg instead but I always think it is a waste of an egg as you don’t need very much of it!)
  10. Put the pies in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.  They will be done when the pastry is golden.
  11. Remove the  pies from the tin immediately and place on a cooling rack.

Vegetarian Mince Pies

Vegetarian Mince Pies

 


Notes

  • This quantity of pastry and mincemeat makes approximately 12 large pies.  It will vary according to how thin you roll your pastry and the size of the depressions in you pie tin.
  • This recipe is vegetarian (as long as you use vegetarian Mincemeat)

Keywords: Mince Pies, Christmas, baking

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food  and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and Jhuls at The Not So Creative Cook and #BakingCrumbs with Apply to Face Blog