Chilled Rhubarb and Vanilla Crumble Recipe

The cooler season brings about a craving for beautiful pink stalks, its pleasant tang and vibrant colour inspires images of rose coloured juices dripping from the side of white ramekins with the smell of warm berries filling the kitchen. There is something about creamy vanilla custard, crisp buttery crumble and juicy rhubarb that’s just so comforting. A freshly baked rhubarb and vanilla crumble is a classic homey dessert.

Whether it’s a picnic in the park, a camping trip or a short drive for the day, the image of that perfect crumble need not be forgotten. I’ve created a much loved dessert and gave it a bit of a twist while still holding on to the textures, tastes and nuances of vanilla scented rhubarb.

For an eye catching colour contrast, I used the pink side of the stalks for the pate and the green side, poached lightly in syrup. The crumble added at the very last minute plays a wonderful textural difference with the vanilla cremeux that’s just like silk to the palate.

Here’s my take on the much loved pink dessert — My Chilled Rhubarb and Vanilla Crumble Recipe.

Rhubarb crumble by elaine img 001

Chilled Rhubarb and Vanilla Crumble 

Makes:12 x 250 ml jam jars ( approximately 6 cm diameter by 10 cm high)


Vanilla Cremeux

  • 6 g / 2 tsp gelatine powder
  • 230g fresh milk
  • 1/2 pc vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 6 each egg yolks
  • 95g caster sugar
  • 350g cream
  1. In a small bowl, add the gelatine powder into half of the cold milk and stir until it is evenly hydrated. Refrigerate this mixture for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, scrape the vanilla beans into the remaining milk. Add the cream and bring this mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and allow the vanilla to infuse in the mixture for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, using a mixer combine the egg yolks and caster sugar and whisk them together at medium speed until it lightens in colour.
  4. Once the egg yolks have been beaten until light in colour, boil the milk and cream mixture.
  5. Pour the hot cream into the egg yolks and mix it with a hand whisk until it has been combined.
  6. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan then cook over low heat until it reaches 85°C stirring continuously or until the mixture thickens.
  7. Add the milk/gelatine mixture and stir until the gelatine has dissolved completely.
  8. Pour the vanilla cremeux into the jam jars up to one third full.
  9. Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but is best if chilled overnight. Cover the jars with the lid.

Rhubarb cumble by elaine img 003

Poached Rhubarb

  • 350g rhubarb
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 276g water
  • 1 each vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla paste
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cut the rhubarb into 5 cm pieces and arrange them on a single layer in a deep baking pan.
  3. Boil the water, caster sugar and vanilla bean.
  4. Pour the mixture over the rhubarb and cover the baking pan with foil or baking paper.
  5. Bake it in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes or until tender but still holds its shape (cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the stalk, short for thinner stalks and slightly longer for thicker ones).
  6. Once done, remove the foil/paper and allow to cool completely.
  7. Store in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate.

Rhubarb crumble by elaine img 002

Rhubarb Pate

  • 160g rhubarb
  • 68g frozen blackberry
  • 48g caster sugar
  1. In a saucepan, combine rhubarb pieces, frozen blackberries and caster sugar.
  2. Cook over low heat until the mixture resembles a jam. Regularly stir the mixture to prevent the bottom from scorching.
  3. Cool in the refrigerator until ready to use.



  • 125g butter, softened
  • 31g brown sugar
  • 38g caster sugar
  • 125g plain flour
  • 45g oats
  • 40g almonds, roasted lightly and chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan forced.
  2. In a bowl whisk the butter until creamy.
  3. Add the brown sugar and the caster sugar, mix just until combined.
  4. Add the plain flour, oats and almonds and rub the mixture with your hands until crumble pieces are formed.
  5. Crumble the dough in a flat tray lined with baking paper and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes until crisp and golden.
  6. Cool and store in a tightly sealed container.


 On The Day

  1. Open the jars of vanilla cremeux.
  2. Add a couple of spoonfuls of rhubarb pate on each jar.
  3. Arrange 3-4 pieces of poached rhubarb.
  4. Top with crumble pieces.
  5. Seal the jars and you’re off to a nice enjoyable dessert to go!

Rhubarb crumble by elaine img 004Rhubarb crumble by elaine img 005

Tips: Rhubarb is at its best when the stalks are firm, plump and upright. These ones are from my garden and they are best used straight after picking. Fresh is always best but if you have more than you can handle rhubarb freezes well. Follow these 7 steps and you’ll enjoy rhubarb in other, exciting ways.



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