May 24, 2015

RHUBARB, RHUBARB, ten shillings a stick!

My rhubarb envy has been partly satisfied in France by buying jars of rhubarb compote from the supermarkets there.  Once back in the UK there was the risk that I would be tempted to buy fresh rhubarb – at the silly prices charged for it.

rhubarb and apple jumble pie

I say silly because I can’t help but remember that in my parents’ garden we grew tons of it, supplying the neighbours with free rhubarb from the two huge patches at the top of the garden by the greenhouse, every year.  Tons of it, and it cost nothing to grow it.

How I miss those rhubarb patches and I do love rhubarb.  So it was inevitable that I would be unable to resist the temptation to buy some once we were back in the UK.  I wondered how much you would need for a decent pie or crumble and so picked up four sticks.  When I got them home and looked at the supermarket receipt I discovered I have paid £2.05.  The equivalent of ten shillings a stick!

My mother and grandmother would turn in their graves if they knew!

Four sticks, even at ten shillings each, is not enough for a pie or crumble.  So I added two sliced apples and, using a box of pastry trimmings I keep in the freezer, I made a rhubarb and apple jumble pie.

The idea for a “jumble pie” comes from a recipe in the Hairy Bikers book “Perfect Pies”.  The idea is that every time you make something out of pastry, instead of throwing the trimmings in the bin, store them in a box in the freezer and use them for a virtually instant pie topping.  Great idea.  The dog is not impressed though – she used to get them baked into dog treats, poor thing.

 rhubarb and apple jumble pie2

My box of pastry trimmings contained a mixture of allsorts, sweet pastry, plain pastry and puff pastry bits. But it worked really well, as always.

Rhubarb and apple jumble pie


4 sticks of rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 2” chunks

2 eating apples, peeled and sliced

2 tblsp granulated sugar

a boxful of pastry trimmings from the freezer*

1 egg


Cook the rhubarb with a splash of water in a saucepan over gentle heat until tender but not mushy.  Pour into the bottom of a greased baking dish, size depending on how much fruit you have.

Slice the apples on top of the rhubarb and sprinkle with the sugar.  Scatter the pastry bits over the top and brush with beaten egg.  Sprinkle with a little more sugar if you like.

*you could of course buy a pack of ready made, ready rolled pastry and cut it into random shapes to achieve the same effect.

Bake at 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6 for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.  Serve hot or warm with cream or custard.

Serves 4-6.


  1. Our rhubarb isn't doing as well as usual (possibly too much or not enough rain at the right time or maybe we are just at LPP more and so pick more) but there is certainly enough to supply you with a few sticks. The rhubarb crumble you made for the picnic was delicious.

    I love the idea of the pastry trimmings.

    1. Gaynor, the rhubarb for the crumble was a second batch which came from the local greengrocer's not the supermarket and that time I got a huge bundle for £1.20!
      I should have known better and gone there in the first place! Their produce is very fresh, reasonably priced and often very "local" - I suspect from local allotments.
      Thanks for the offer of some of yours, I will take you up on it.

  2. " instead of throwing the trimmings in the bin"....
    WOT! In the bin.... what a waste!
    Roll them out thin...
    spread with lemon curd, jam or marmalade....
    or for savoury.... Marmite or tomato puree and mixed herbs....
    roll them up and cut into thin slices...
    lay slices on a greased baking sheet...
    top the savoury ones with a bit of grated cheese...
    180 Centipedes for fifteen minutes...
    or until done...
    and you have a box** full of snack bites!!

    **[Size of container needed depends entirely....
    on how many actually get cool enough to store!]

  3. Love the idea of the jumble pie - if only there was any room left in the freezer. Apple and rhubarb is a fine combination too. I do understand your pain when you see the price of rhubarb (or at least, some rhubarb) but imagine how I felt when I saw a single goose egg in a local supermarket a couple of weeks ago priced at £7. I read something this week that said that food was getting cheaper in supermarkets. I suppose that depends on what you mean by food.

  4. I love rhubarb. I made a pie (rhubarb cake in Cumbrian language) last weekend. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I have not worked out yet how to comment direct. Joan at