#crumblebrag

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Behold, the humble crumble.

Not much to look at. Kinda slumpy, really.

But this rhubarb-rye dessert’s beauty—warming and comforting and rich and heady with the cool spring’s first harvest—can’t adequately be captured by the camera. For that, you need your nose. And a spoon.

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Rhubarb-Rye Crumble

Sized for two generous portions (with maybe a little leftover for tomorrow’s breakfast). Easily scales up for a crowd, though. You may certainly use 100% all-purpose flour (or sub whole-wheat flour for the spec’d rye here), but I encourage you to give the rye a shot. The tag-team tang of rye and rhubarb plays beautifully off the buttery crust.

for the filling
  • 2 cups rhubarb, in half-inch slices (about a half pound)
  • 1-2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or scrapings from a quarter bean)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
for the topping
  • 4 oz cold, unsalted butter, diced (that’s half a stick)
  • 1/4 cup each all-purpose flour and rye flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp each demerara sugar (or light brown sugar) and granulated sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • +/- 1 tbsp ice water

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Preheat oven to 375º.

In a bowl, combine all the filling ingredients. Give everything a good toss to evenly coat the fruit, and set it aside to macerate.

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Put the flours, baking powder, and butter in another bowl. Using your fingers, pinch and mash the butter pieces together with the flour until you have a scruffy mixture that looks a bit like shaggy pebbles (this usually takes me 3-4 minutes). Add the sugars, and work those in for another minute or so.

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Using a fork, incorporate just enough ice water to lightly moisten everything. You’re still shooting for sandy, discrete lumps, not a proper, uniform dough, so go easy on the liquid—about a tablespoon should be plenty.

Put that bowl in the freezer while you prep your baking dish(es).

Butter a small pie plate, baking dish, or a couple ramekins (I used two 10-ounce Weck bowls), and set them on a lined baking sheet to catch any drips that might otherwise volcano over onto your oven’s floor. Tip in the fruit mixture.

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Rescue the topping from the freezer, and scatter a healthy handful (or three) across the top of the fruit. Too much topping? Bag any leftovers and stick them in the freezer so you have a head start the next time you have a small amount of crumble-worthy fruit.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbling. Cool for a few minutes before you dive in. Serve warm. If you want to up the richness, add a scoop of ice cream, a turn of heavy cream, or a spoonful of vanilla yogurt.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Diane Crawshaw says:

    Looks so good! Wonder if we will see rhubarb before September. Mom

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. Susan says:

      Don’t worry. Pitchers and catchers report soon. Plus, it’s not straight-up rhubarb pie, so I know Dad will scoff anyhow. More for us!

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