Vibrant pink stalks of rhubarb racing away in the garden are always a welcome sign of spring. Forced and early garden rhubarb are especially good for baking. Sharp and reviving, rhubarb adds an extra dimension to sweet cakes and pastries.
These more-ish crumbly bars are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee and make the most brilliant tempting breakfast treat with a dollop of yoghurt – especially if you can snatch a few minutes to have your breakfast actually in the garden on a sunny morning.
You can also serve it as a pudding: see Pudding Tip below.
The recipe is simple to make as the base and crumbly top are the same mix: the base compressed and pre-baked, the top loosely scattered. There’s a second dry mix of flour and sugar as well to coat the rhubarb – you don’t even need to it cook first.
If you own one of those lovely wooden pot tampers for compressing compost when sowing seeds but never liked to use it and get it dirty as it looks so nice (yes, I am that person) you’ll find it ideal for compressing the base – just oil it with vegetable oil slightly first.
Makes 8 bars
- 450g forced or early rhubarb, sliced into 1 cm pieces
- Dual purpose mix for base and topping:
- 100g plain flour
- 25g wholemeal flour
- 100g salted butter, diced
- 150g porridge oats
- 100g golden granulated sugar
- Dry mix for coating rhubarb:
- 50g golden granulated sugar
- 25g plain flour
Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) or equivalent
You will need a greased and lined 20cm brownie pan
Don’t forget: you need to part-bake the base first: add the filling and crumble topping whilst the base is still hot before returning it to the oven.
Base and Topping
Rub the butter into the flours. Stir in the oats and sugar.
Spread two thirds of the crumble mix (a little over 300g) into the prepared tin. Smooth down firmly: you can use the back of a metal spoon for this but actually (see Tip above) a pristine clean pot tamper is the ideal tool for the job!
Reserve the remaining crumble (around 150g or so) for the topping.
Bake for 12-15 for minutes until firm and beginning to colour.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar and flour. Add the rhubarb and mix thoroughly. Spread over the base whilst it’s still hot from the oven: including any coating left in the bowl. Scatter the reserved crumble mixture evenly on top.
Return to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden. Mark into bars and cool in the tin.
Instead of cutting into bars, serve warm as a layered crumble for pudding with cream or custard. Lovely!