"A plate of rhubarb crumble with a dollop of cream, serving dish and spoon in the background."

This classic, old fashioned pudding is one of the easiest to make, and deliciously satisfying. This recipe is very plain and simple, with a topping that is very like shortbread. The filling is one you can play with; add some apples, add strawberries or even blueberries – they all make this a seriously good dessert.



400g rhubarb chopped into 3cm chunks

300g granny smith apples peeled and cut into 3cm chunks(optional)

1 vanilla pod or ½ teaspoon vanilla paste

75 g raw caster sugar

2 teaspoons cornflour


100g cold unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

150g plain flour

50g raw caster sugar

pinch of sea salt.

1 tsp ground cinnamon or ginger (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a 20cm ovenproof dish with a little butter.

Combine the chopped rhubarb, apples and strawberries (if using); spoon into. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and toss with the rhubarb mixture, caster sugar and cornflour. Add this to the prepared dish. The rhubarb will shrink quite a lot in the cooking process, so don’t be frightened to pile it above the sides of your dish. Set aside.

To make the crumble, cube the butter, then toss with the flour. Cut into the flour with a knife until the butter is in small pieces, then use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar and sea salt. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture without pressing down. Place on a baking tray to catch any drips, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve with hot vanilla custard, icecream  or cold cream.

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.