Hiiii from where i'm still desperately clinging onto rhubarb season! Rhubarb doesn't have a season in New Zealand - it grows year round. Mum and Dad have a big plant in their garden that kind of looks after itself, aside from getting the odd dose of sheep poo on it every now and then (makes it grow so well), and getting almost entirely trimmed back whenever I am home. It's there whenever we need it, which is mainly in the winter, when the stone fruit is long gone until the next summer, so it's always a little strange to find myself in the middle of rhubarb hysteria every summer at the greenmarket. They are still selling it in our local supermarket, so as far as I am concerned, it's still here!
One of my favourite ways to use rhubarb is to pop it into a crumble. It is quick to prepare, and it really allows the flavour of the rhubarb to shine through. This particular crumble was made with my Mum in mind - every time I go home I buy far too much almond meal with great plans of making batches upon batches of macarons. Of course I never get around to it, so she is left with a pantry full of almond meal. So Mama bear - this one is for you! The almond meal gives the crumble a lovely dense toastyness, which is a nice change from the standard oaty crumble you often see. It pairs perfectly with the rhubarb, but would also make the perfect topping for any seasonal fruit. It can easily be prepared ahead, and is the perfect adaptable year-round dessert.
The obsession with my ice cream maker continues here too. I've just come out the end of 12 weeks of obsessively following Masterchef Australia, where they turn everything imaginable into ice cream, and clearly it has rubbed off on me. I wanted something delicate to pair with the rhubarb, so turned to the kaffir lime tree that Santa brought for Richard last Christmas. I was initially unsure about the flavour kaffir would give to ice cream, but was extremely surprised to find that it was just perfect - the flavour was extremely delicate, but still held its own against the tart rhubarb. I will most definitely be making it again, as it was a huge hit. We have a tree on our balcony, but you can buy kaffir lime leaves in most asian markets - look for the distinctive double leaf. If you are in a place where you can grow your own tree I highly recommend it - they do well inside in a pot, and the leaves give such amazing flavour to all sorts of dishes, both sweet and savoury.
A few wee notes:
- This crumble is fairly topping heavy, which is how we like it - if you prefer a higher fruit to topping ratio, feel free to make less topping
- This would work perfectly with whatever fruit you have on hand - peaches, plums, apples and berries, etc. You may need to adjust the sugar level to suit the fruit you are using.
- This can be made ahead - assemble the topping, cover in foil, and store in the fridge until you are ready to bake.
- Leftovers make the best breakfast!
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Rhubarb Almond Crumble with Kaffir Lime Ice Cream
Ice cream base
- 2 cups (480ml) whole milk
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- ¾ cup (150g) sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, central rib removed, finely sliced
Rhubarb Almond Crumble
- 800g (1.7lbs) rhubarb, cut into about 2 inch lengths
- ½ cup raw sugar
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup (100g) almond meal
- 1 cup (145g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) raw sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
- Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker at least 24 hours before you begin.
- In a medium pot, whisk together milk, cream, sugar, salt and egg yolks. Add the chopped kaffir lime leaves and stir to combine. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for one hour.
- Remove from the fridge, and heat over medium heat, stirring often. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, the mixture is just shy of a simmer, has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Watch carefully to ensure that it does not split (which will happen if you let it get too hot). Pass the custard mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least two hours, or overnight.
- Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a freezer safe container (I used a loaf tin), and place a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap on the surface. Freeze until solid.
RHUBARB ALMOND CRUMBLE
- Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Toss together the chopped rhubarb, ½ cup of raw sugar and 2 Tbsp of flour. Turn the fruit mixture into a 9" x 9" baking dish, or square tin of similar size (I used a 7" x 10" baking dish).
- In a large bowl, stir together the almond meal, flour, sugar, raw sugar, and salt. Rub the butter in using your fingertips until the mixture becomes clumpy and crumbly. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the prepared rhubarb.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then dust with icing sugar. Serve with the Kaffir Lime Ice cream.
Ice cream recipe barely adapted from Saveur