February 27, 2013


I am always tempted to buy the beautiful bright pink rhubarb that appears in the shops at this time of year.  Mostly I resist because it’s really quite expensive and in another couple of months we have plenty of our own in the garden.

slump1Then last weekend we were shopping on the market and saw some that seemed quite reasonably priced.  Actually, to tell the truth, I have no idea what it cost, I just couldn’t resist the beauty of it so I bought it anyway. 

There’s something about the pink rhubarb that seems different from the green stuff that grows in our garden.  I’m sure that in reality they taste exactly the same so perhaps it’s the fact that we can get it NOW, when the weather is grey, cold and altogether grotty.  It always makes me think of summer.

When I was a little girl my parents had two huge rhubarb patches at the top of their long, sloping garden, one either side of my dad’s hand-built greenhouse.  He has a photograph of me taken at about the age of five, in black and white of course, hiding behind the pea row, munching on a stick of rhubarb and dipping it into some sugar which I had tipped into my hand. 

My mum’s rhubarb pies and crumbles were to die for.  She would never have put rhubarb in a cake or have combined it with anything else, such as orange, strawberries or chocolate.  Except that occasionally she would add a few chopped dates – we liked the flavour and the “medicinal” properties were legendary !!


The pink rhubarb we get here is grown in the “rhubarb triangle”, around Wakefield in Yorkshire.  I remember seeing a TV programme about it two or three years ago, where one of the growers took the presenter into a shed where you could actually hear it growing – strange but true – there was a constant creaking noise as it pushed its way up through the compost.

A few more years ago than that, Nick and I came a cross a bunch of rhubarb growers from Wakefield on holiday in France.  What a jolly lot they were !!  We were at the end of one of our marathon motorcycle camping tours of France and, having done about 2,000 miles in a fortnight, were treating ourselves to a night in a nice hotel before getting the ferry home.  Having heard only French being spoken for two weeks it was odd to be surrounded by Yorkshire accents.  One of the desserts on the menu for the evening was something made with rhubarb and I remember clearly the laughter of these rhubarb growing folk ringing out in the restaurant as they criticised it mercilessly !!


With my lovely pink rhubarb I fancied making something other than my standard crumble so I looked on the internet and found this Good Food recipe for something called a “rhubarb and orange slump”.  As I was making it I realised it is really a cobbler by another name.  In any case, it doesn’t look much in the photos but by golly, it was delicious !! 

Tea Time Treats Challenge Logo

I am linking it to this month’s Tea Time Treats Challenge, created by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked – because this month’s challenge is for puddings !!  Kate is in charge for February and this is my second pudding to be submitted – puddings are very much my thing !!

Rhubarb and orange slump

900g rhubarb, wiped and cut into 3cm lengths

zest and juice of 2 medium oranges

140g caster sugar

200g self raising flour

85g cold butter, cubed

150ml milk

2 tbslp flaked almonds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 190°C / 170°fan / gas mk 5.  Grease a gratin or other baking dish.

Put the rhubarb in a medium saucepan with the orange juice and one tablespoon of the sugar.  Heat gently and cook for about 5 minutes until the fruit is soft.  Tip into the prepared dish.

Put the flour and butter into a food processor and blitz to breadcrumbs.  Mix in the orange zest and the remaining sugar.  Add enough milk to make a soft dough – softer than pastry but firmer than a sponge mixture – by pulsing again.

Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the fruit, scatter the flaked almonds over (if using) and bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is crisp and golden.

Serve warm with cream, custard, ice cream or whatever you fancy.

Serves 6.


  1. Dates and rhubarb don't seem obvious bedfellows. Mind you, I don't really like dates, so can't imagine combining them with anything. Rhubard does combine remarkably well with strawberries, but only if you've got so many of both you can afford to play around with them. Otherwise both are best eaten 'straight'.

    1. Hi Susan, rhubarb and dates are surprisingly good together, but not too common I think, maybe because of the effects on the constitution !!

      I agree about the strawberries, the best way to eat them is as they are, but when they are cheap and plentiful, or there are a few tired ones left over in the fridge, I love to put them together with rhubarb.

  2. I once made some rhubarb and strawberry jam which was very tasty.My favourite yogurt is rhubarb and your recipe looks delicious. We haven't any rhubarb in the UK but a good patch in France. Only four weeks... :o)

    1. Hi Gaynor, how lucky you are to have a rhubarb patch in France. Only four weeks for us too......

  3. DH adores rhubarb, so I must make this for him when we get some decent rhubarb in the shops, not having any in the garden nowadays.

    1. Perpetua, I have in the past bought bags of frozen rhubarb from Sainsbury's and it was very good indeed, much better than the tinned stuff.....you could treat your DH this weekend......!!

    2. Sadly our nearest Sainsbury's is nearly 50 miles away, Jean and I doubt our small local Co-op has frozen rhubarb but the greengrocer may have some fresh. I agree that tinned isn't worth buying.

    3. That's a pity, but the Co-op might just sell it, our local one is amazingly good.
      When my father sold up and moved house after my mother died, one of the things I really missed about our family home was the rhubarb patches. They supplied the whole neighbourhood with rhubarb every year and although we have some ourselves in our garden it has taken quite a few years to get going and is nowhere near as prolific.

  4. Lovely dish. Rhubarb at this time of the year is definitely hard to resist. I always think it's somehow sweeter, but that may just be the time of year making me grateful for anything fresh.

  5. I don't know about rhubarb and dates, but rhubarb and ginger in a crumble is gorgeous (especially if the crumble topping is made with a generous helping of Grasmere Gingerbread crumbs!!) Our rhubarb patch is beginning to sprout already, despite recent sub-zero temperatures, and over the years has ended up looking as if it's growing umbrellas, the leaves are so big! Mid-Wales soil seems to suit it, but with only 2 of us to eat it, so much is left unused and ends up on the compost heap. Anyone in the area is welcome to come and have some when it's ready (are you reading this, Perpetua and Friko?)

  6. oh what a wonderful post and a lovely reminder of the joys of rhubarb and that wonderful wonderful taste and smell... Oh I cannot wait to get thieving from the neighbour!

  7. Given that I've just spotted pink rhubarb coming in our garden and the fact that we love cobblers, we'll be trying this. Thanks.

  8. This really sounds lovely! Have you tried chunks in a moist cake... rhubarb and apple sponge is nice.

    Having lived in the "Rhubarb Triangle"....
    It is really easy to make your own pink rhubarb... you just need a dustbin! And at least two rhubarb plants... preferably a minimum of three...
    Put bin over one plant just as you see its buds begin growing... weigh the bin down with a concrete paving slab...
    check by torchlight after a week to see how good a crop you have. Any that have reached the top of the bin MUST be picked at each opening of the bin... they go manky on the leaf if left.
    This can be continued until the beginning of April, then remove bin and put plenty of 'orse-muck on the crown and leave the smallest to grow on and turn green. DO NOT PICK any more from this crown... just let it grow and break off any flower stems that appear... you want all the strength to build up in the crown for the next year.

    At this point anyway, your other crowns should be producing... if you have three or more, select the one to "bin" for the next year and only pick from that until the beginning of May and then feed with 'orse-muck and leave.
    Same rule applies about the flowers.

    If you have three or more plants, you can continue picking from these until you are full / fed up / can't stand the sight of the stuff... or they become too woody.

    With the woody stuff you can make rhubarbade [6.5% ABV alcopop for adults] or a fabulous rhubarb cordial... both great for summer.

    I just found some Rhubarbade so when you arrive lets hope for some sun and we can all try it!!
    See you soon,

  9. The name "slump" so doesn't do justice to this gorgeous pudding. Even though I've just had supper and am feeling rather full, I would love a bowl of this, that scone topping looks so inviting and I do like a bit of rhubarb. I've never eaten forced rhubarb, does it taste any different?

    1. Choclette, I'm not sure that it does, but it's very light and tender. The rhubarb in our garden can get a bit chewy - but we still love it!

  10. I'm not a fan of rhubarb but maybe I just need to try it cooked differently. I agree with Choclette that the name 'slump' does not do it justice :)

  11. I love rhubarb, and this looks delicious. Have been buying the pretty pink stuff in the shops now. As you say Jean, it is light and tender, whereas later on the green rhubarb can be tough.