Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Amandine Paniagua and Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed
Published January 29 2020
To prepare the rhubarb, clean rhubarb, removing any fibrous strings from the stalks, and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Remove stalks from strawberries.
Add your apple juice and loose leaf tea to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add rhubarb and strawberries, allow to boil for 1 minute. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
Remove pot from heat and using a slotted spoon or similar transfer fruit immediately into the ice. This step stops the cooking process and is vital in retaining the pink colour pigments.
Leave the fruit in the ice bath for about 1 minute, adding more ice if necessary.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, coconut sugar, oats and cinnamon and using your hands, work through the coconut oil until mixture is evenly crumbly. Adjust seasonings to taste, make this crumble your own.
In a medium-sized Pyrex dish or similar, evenly layer the rhubarb stalks and strawberries, and top with the crumble mixture.
Bake the crumble for approximately 30 minutes until the crumble topping turns golden brown and the rhubarb is bubbling. Serve immediately topped with vanilla ice cream or nothing at all, it is wonderful either way.
This crumble will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
This rhubarb strawberry crumble makes for a beautiful dessert — the leftovers breakfast! And this one takes me back to childhood, for the most part, apple crumble served with vanilla ice cream, custard or sometimes, both. This version is a modern interpretation of classic comfort food which has oats, almond meal and coconut oil — all nutrient-dense, with the fat, fibre and life-giving force of plants. That said, of that movement, I often wonder how much of what we see online, modern-day food porn and from personal experience as a food photographer, how much of that might never get eaten. This crumble is an everyday dessert for everyday eating and one I’ve prepared several times since writing this for that very reason.
We have prepared this crumble with a Pyrex 8.1-inch x 8.1-inch baking dish which was an ideal crumble to fruit ratio. This generous crumble serves eight, perfect for gatherings or for there being enough for the day after. Alternatively, you can store portioned breakfast or dessert servings in the freezer for up to three months. I am quite partial to these Luminarc glass jars which come with a simple tight-fitting lid. I highly recommend playing around with this recipe — beyond rhubarb, summer stone fruits, or apples and pears would be wonderful in the winter months. And as such this crumble recipe is one you can prepare all year round.
If you’re somewhere where rhubarb is in season, this is the way to celebrate this awakening spring fruit. Our neighbours across the street have plum trees heavy with abundance, and nearby feijoas will begin to line the pavements — fully embrace the seasonal abundance around you. Online local marketplaces or community message boards are other options for locating hyper-local produce while supporting your community. When you are guided by the seasons, you’ll also spend less on produce. That said, perhaps you have an abundance of overripe fruit — save it from the compost and make this crumble.
You can also reserve the apple juice from blanching the rhubarb and strawberries. Allow to cool and decant into a jar. Once chilled, this apple, rose juice served over ice with tonic water is tart and refreshing. Take advantage of all the ingredients used here. Waste nothing.
Once you dive into a health-aware, environmentally conscious lifestyle, eventually you go down this path of eating more nutrient-dense — where you understand the food you eat holds vibrational energy. As the information snowballs and you want to learn more, incorporate more, you’ll effortlessly and organically include more high vibrational ingredients into your daily routines. The below whole foods are personal must-haves used in this crumble recipe, why and how I love to use them.
Coconut oil This oil is rich in the easier-to-digest medium-chain fatty acids, caprylic acid, lauric acid and capric acid which hold antioxidants and potent anti-inflammatory properties. Its high cook point makes it a go-to for evening meals — much of the coconut I eat ends up being in the form of coconut oil. Add a little to a cauliflower curry or for when preparing a tofu scramble. More recently, I am enjoying coconut oil with baked sweet potatoes paired with high health spices turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon.
Oats I keep a large jar of oats in the pantry at all times — and prepare soaked oats daily for my partner and I. With a low glycemic index, high levels of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols, oats are my definition of a superfood. And oats contain the soluble fibre beta-glucan, which helps stabilise blood sugar and grounding energy to keep you full. If you can tolerate oats, I highly encourage you to incorporate them as a base for your meals and smoothies. Oats are inexpensive, easy to prepare, high health and incredibly adaptable.
Almond meal This crumble recipe takes advantage of a type of gluten-free, grain-free flour almond meal which has a nutty and sweet flavour. With significant amounts of copper and magnesium — almond meal contains all the health benefits and bioavailable nutrients you would obtain from eating whole almonds. If you cannot find almond meal locally, alternatively you could prepare your own by processing whole almonds into a meal. Almond meal is also great added to granola or smoothies, sprinkled into oatmeal — effortlessly providing an antioxidant, protein or fibre packed hit.
If you are preparing homemade almond milk, reserve the pulp, and you can make almond meal which represents a beautiful opportunity for reducing food waste.
Heat your oven to 90°C and evenly spread your almond pulp over a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Bake for approximately 2 hours checking each half hour and more frequently towards the end of your baking time as to not over bake your almond meal.
Allow the almond meal to cool completely overnight.
Add the almond meal to your food processor or blender and pulse until you have a course powder — pulsing will avoid over-processing, which can result in a paste-like consistency.
If using a blender, between pulses shake your jug to ensure the almond meal is not forming a paste in the bottom of your blender!
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