how to make: rhubarb and gooseberry crumble

rhubarb, crumble, cobbler, recipe, gooseberry

Let’s talk organic food. Among my friends, I’ve got preachy vegans, who frown upon my omnivorous ways and litter my Facebook feed with well-intentioned horror stories, and farm-reared philistines, who’ll eat anything as long as it doesn’t smell funny. When it comes to my own food choices, I fall somewhere in between. I live by writer Michael Pollan‘s ethos – Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I also try to eat organic as much as possible. Fewer toxins can only be a good thing and I really enjoy being able to taste my food.

And, thank goodness, it’s relatively easy to eat organic these days. Not only do I have my French family and their massive and bountiful garden, but I also have friends who grow their own food in one of the many allotments dotted all over London. And to keep the larder topped up, we have our weekly delivery from the ever trustworthy Abel & Cole.

I know people complain about the expense of eating organic, and yes, our food bill does come in slightly higher, but the rewards far outweigh the extra pennies and there are other benefits too. I hate food waste, so I endeavour to cook up evertyhing I have in my kitchen, which is often more than the MrMr and I can eat in a week. I started out as a boiler/blitzer/mystery-soup-of-the-week maker, but recently I’ve had the time to come up with some other tasty concoctions, such as the rhubarb and gooseberry crumble I made yesterday.

The rhubarb, which had been taking it easy in my freezer, was a gift from an allotment-owner friend who was dying under the weight of a thousand stalks back in July, while the gooseberries were a welcome surprise in last week’s A&C box.

I do love a good crumble – or is that cobbler to my Stateside friends? – and this tarty little number didn’t let me down. Pictures and recipes after the jump!

rhubarb, crumble, cobbler, recipe, gooseberry
rhubarb, crumble, cobbler, recipe, gooseberry
rhubarb, crumble, cobbler, recipe, gooseberry
rhubarb, crumble, cobbler, recipe, gooseberry
rhubarb, crumble, cobbler, recipe, gooseberry

Print the recipe.

Rhubarb & Gooseberry Crumble


500 grams of fresh rhubarb
120 grams of gooseberries, stalks removed
3 tablespoons of sloe gin
4 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of powdered ginger
100 grams of butter at room temperature
100 grams of soft brown sugar
60 grams of plain flour
60 grams of desiccated coconut
60 grams of rolled oats

Serves four skinny minnies or two greedy piglets.


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
  2. Chop up your rhubarb into two-inch pieces, pop them in a baking tray and sprinkle with water and caster sugar and then place them in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Once cooked, put the stalks in the bottom of your baking dish along with the gooseberries and mix in the ginger.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, coconut and oats and rub in the butter.
  5. Spoon the crumble mixture over the rhubarb and gooseberries and bake in the oven for 45 minutes (or until the fruit starts bubbling around the edges).
  6. Allow to cool and serve with custard or double cream.

Note: I don’t have a massive sweet tooth, so the rhubarb comes up a bit tart in this recipe. If you’re partial to sugar highs, add more caster sugar. Also, you can use regular gin or substitute water if you don’t want to add alcohol and the gooseberries can be replaced with more rhubarb. Apple would also work well.

Print the recipe.

PS. I’m in love with my new Le Crueset cast iron pot. I picked it up on a visit to Chester last week at the Cheshire Oaks Outlet Centre. Standby for a full report!

Recommended reading: In Defence Of Food by Michael Pollan.


© Kate McAuley 2013

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