There’s nothing more comforting than a classic rhubarb crumble. For this recipe, delectably tart rhubarb is stewed with sugar, orange juice and fragrant orange zest, and covered with a crisp and crumbly topping of oats and almonds. Simple, but utterly delicious.
It might seem strange that rhubarb, a spring plant, is so loved in a warm and comforting winter pud. But most who have experienced British springtime will know that more often than not, there are no shortage of days requiring blankets, winter coats, umbrellas and big, hearty puddings, well into May. And sometimes June and July as well.
The classic crumble is wonderfully easy to whip up, and I’ve given it a little twist with some orange to scent the rhubarb, and some oats and ground almonds for a seriously tasty crumble topping.
Crumble toppings are often made using only flour, mixed with butter and sugar, but in my family we’ve always added oats for a bit of extra texture. Ground almonds add a little soft sweetness and make for an easy gluten-free option. However you could easily replace the almonds with wheat flour or a gluten-free alternative for a nut-free option. Ratios are also a matter of some debate, and I am firmly on the side of a very generous layer of crumble. You could reduce the quantity of crumble slightly if you prefer a higher fruit to crumble ratio, but I have know idea why you would.
How to make vegan rhubarb, orange and almond crumble
The key consideration with crumble is whether or not to cook the fruit first, before baking it with the crumble topping. Pre-cooking can lead to fruity mush, but the alternative risks unevenly cooked fruit and a burnt topping. To avoid any of these issues, and to reduce washing up, I like to prepare the rhubarb and bake it for 10 mins or so in the crumble dish. You can make the topping while the fruit bakes a little, then tip the crumble over the fruit and return to the oven until the topping is gloriously golden brown.
For the rhubarb, wash the stems, slice into thumb-sized pieces and place in an even layer in an shallow oven-proof dish. Zest and juice a small orange, and whisk the orange juice together with 1 tbsp corn flour in a small bowl until smooth, then whisk in the zest. The corn flour will help the orange juice and rhubarb juices thicken a little so you don’t have a watery crumble, and adding the zest to this mixture, rather than straight in with the rhubarb, ensures even zest distribution. Pour the orange mixture over the rhubarb, then sprinkle over the sugar and a little ground ginger (optional but adds a lovely spicy warmth), and mix everything together with your hands until the rhubarb is evenly coated. Bake for 10 mins while you prepare the crumble topping.
For the crumble, if you have rolled oats you can use them as they are, just mix with the ground almonds. If you have jumbo oats, I like to whizz half of the oats into a flour, leaving the rest whole, so you have the texture of the whole oats, while also having a mixture that will clump together.
Mix your oats and ground almonds, then add the vegan butter in small chunks. A vegan butter block is best (Naturli Vegan Block is amazing – organic, tastes great and is palm-oil free) but you can also use a vegan spread (such as vitalite) or coconut oil if you prefer. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the oats and almonds, as if you were making pastry, until it’s mixed through and you have a crumbly texture. Stir in the sugar.
Once it’s had 10 minutes, remove the rhubarb from the oven – it should be starting to soften. Spoon the crumble mixture over the rhubarb so it forms a roughly even layer, pressing down a little with the back of the spoon. Then return to the oven for 25–35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the rhubarb juices are bubbling up the side.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so before tucking in as it will be very hot! Custard is the quintessential crumble accompaniment, ideally something thick and creamy. Alpro is pretty good if you don’t want to make your own, but Bird’s Custard Powder is a staple in our house; it’s vegan and is completely divine if made with a rich oat milk (such as Oatly whole or any barista version). Vegan vanilla ice cream is also a very good option.
Please let me know if you give this a try! You can use the star rating above and comment below, or find me on Instagram and Twitter (@greedybearbakes). Please tag me if you try out any of my recipes – I would love to see your versions!
Vegan Rhubarb, Orange and Almond Crumble
Delectably tart rhubarb stewed with sugar, orange juice and fragrant orange zest, and covered with a crisp and crumbly topping of oats and almonds.
For the rhubarb:
- 500g rhubarb
- 1 small orange, zest and juice
- 1 tbsp cornflower
- 85g sugar (e.g. caster or soft light brown)
- ½ tsp ground ginger (optional)
For the crumble:
- 200g oats* (gluten-free if necessary)
- 100g ground almonds**
- 100g vegan butter (I use Naturli Vegan Block, but vegan spread or coconut oil would work)
- 60g sugar
- 30g flaked almonds (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan.
- Wash the rhubarb, slice the stalks into thumb-sized pieces and place in a shallow oven-proof dish. Zest and juice the orange. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and 1 tbsp cornflour, then whisk in the orange zest. Pour this mixture over the rhubarb and tip over 85g sugar and ½ tsp ground ginger (if using), then mix everything together with your hands until the rhubarb is thoroughly coated. Spread evenly then bake for 10 minutes while you make the crumble.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 200g oats with 100g ground almonds. Add 100g vegan butter in small pieces, then rub the butter into the oats and almonds, using your fingertips, as if making pastry. Once the butter is fully mixed in, and the mixture is crumbly, stir in 60g sugar.
- Remove the rhubarb from the oven – it should have started to soften a little – and spoon the crumble mixture evenly over the top, pressing down a little with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the crumble, and return to the oven for 25–35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the rhubarb juices are starting to bubble up around the side.
- Leave for 10–15 minutes before eating, and serve with plenty of vegan custard or vanilla ice cream.
*If you have jumbo or steel-cut oats, rather than rolled oats, I prefer to whizz half the oats in a blender or food processor until they have a rough flour texture. This helps the crumble to clump together, while still giving you the texture from the remaining oats.
**For a nut free option, replace the almonds with plain flour or gluten-free flour, and omit the flaked almonds.