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Rick Stein's rhubarb crumble recipe is the definitive guide to mastering this classic British dessert, with a buttery topping offset with sweet and sour rhubarb.

From the book

Introduction

Rhubarb crumble – the light-brown crust splitting and darkening round the edge of the dish with the rhubarb bubbling up from below, the smell of butter and baked flour with the sour tang of the rhubarb – is a pudding which is about as close to the heart of British cooking as you can get. Yet why is it so often disappointing? Usually it’s the crumble that wrong. It might be too lean, making it rather dry and everlasting to eat, or it’s undercooked so that it has the pasty flavour of uncooked flour. The rhubarb is usually less of a problem, though getting the balance of sugar right is critical; it should be tart but not so much as to pucker the mouth. This last point is dependent on the variety of rhubarb chosen. I enjoy the early forced rhubarb, with its pale pink and delicate skin, which appears in long rectangular boxes in January and February. This is surprisingly sweet, not having received much of the teeth-biting oxalic acid present in greener rhubarb stalks and in poisonous quantities in the leaves. So who’s the hero here? Well, my mother; it’s her recipe and she never got it wrong.

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Ingredients

225g plain flour
175g chilled butter, cut into cubes
275g caster sugar
900g rhubarb, trimmed and wiped clean
clotted cream, to serve

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor.

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Method

Preheat the oven to 190 C/Fan 170 C. For the topping, put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse together until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Alternatively, put the flour and cubed butter in a bowl and rub them together with your fingertips. You want the mixture to be clumpy rather than fine and dusty. Stir in 100g of the sugar.

Cut the rhubarb into 2.5cm pieces, put them in a bowl and add the rest of the sugar. Mix well and set aside for 15–20 minutes, stirring now and then, until slightly moistened.

Spread the fruit over the base of a shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the topping. Bake for 45–50 minutes until the rhubarb is tender and the top is golden brown. Serve with some clotted cream.

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From the book: Rick Stein at Home: Recipes, Memories and Stories from a Food Lover’s Kitchen

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