As I gather my recipes for Christmas celebrations, the thought of filling my home with swirling warming scents of vanilla, nutmeg and orange spiced baking comes to mind. With the biting cold in the air, can you imagine the simple pleasure of eating a warm, orange scented rhubarb pie with a biscuit like, chunky crumble almond topping. This, with a thick lashing of custard or even thick double cream, will have you smug with a smile…

Makes approximately 12 tumbles

For the Orange-Infused Rhubarb Filling:

1 bunch of ripe rhubarb, approximately 8-9 stalks
Finely grated rind of one orange
Juice of one ripe orange
2 heaped tbs of salted butter
3 heaped tbs of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
juice of half a lime
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
generous pinch of salt

For the Almond Crumble topping:

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of flaked almonds
4 heaped tbs of chilled butter,(approx 250gms) cut into cubes
3 heaped tbs of brown sugar
1 tbs of vanilla bean paste ( or regular vanilla essence )
2 extra tbs of brown sugar to finish tumbles just before baking

Preparing the Rhubarb Tumbles:

First wash and cut the rhubarb into small pieces as shown.


Place a deep, wide saucepan over a medium heat. Melt the butter gently, stirring constantly and not letting it brown. Now add the rhubarb and turn up the heat slightly. Fry gently for a few minutes.

Now add the brown sugar, sprinkling over evenly. Stir to coat all the pieces of rhubarb.

Add the orange juice, the vanilla essence, the grated rind, the lime juice, the mixed spice, the nutmeg and the salt. Stir well and cover only half of the pan with a lid, lower the heat and let this simmer and bubble for at least 8-10 minutes.

Keep an eye on this as you don’t want the rhubarb to be a mush, but soften whilst remaining chunky. There should also be a lusciuos jam like sauce that will be created in the process. By the way, your kitchen should be smelling gorgeous and very Chrismassy! At this stage, switch the heat off.

Preparing the Almond Crumble Topping:

This is my take on a crumble, with the almond giving more crunch and texture. This works beautifully in contrast to the soft sour-sweet rhubarb underneath.

Tip all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Fabulously easy crumble topping!

Fabulously easy crumble topping!

With your fingertips, gently start to crumble everything together. Squeeze the butter gently separating it into small chunks. Now I have a rule for superb, chunky, biscuity-soft crumble. DON’T OVERDO IT! I don’t want it to resemble breadcrumbs, but more like small lumps of biscuit mix. It should be chunky and not like fine breadcrumbs, so don’t worry about an uneven looking mess. It’s going to taste divine!

Crumble together gently with your fingertips. Keep it chunky and don't reduce to breadcrumbs

Crumble together gently with your fingertips. Keep it chunky and don’t reduce to breadcrumbs

Set aside and now start to bring it all together.

Bringing it all together on the day:

Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

I call these tumbles, because I like to serve these in these cute little foil pots. These are brilliant because you can also freeze a batch of the tumbles and pop them in a low oven for whenever you fancy. You can, however, if you are entertaining, certainly use some pretty ramekins, as I often do.


Place about two heaped tablespoons of rhubarb filling in your chosen container. Now heap over at least 1 1/2 tbs of Almond Crumble over the top. Be generous, this is truly the best bit! just before you place these in the oven, sprinkle over the remaining 2 tbs of sugar.

Be generous with your topping, this is the best bit!

Be generous with your topping, this is the best bit!

A delicious combination!

A delicious combination!


Place in a hot oven for 9-12 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and firm.

Golden brown with a crunchy crumbly biscuit like topping mmmm..

Golden brown with a crunchy crumbly biscuit like topping mmmm..

Serve HOT,HOT,HOT with a very ample size jug of double cream. Oh My Sweet Heaven!

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