This simple, buttery crumble tart is a quintessence of homemade deliciousness. This is the type of bake that makes great childhood memories or brings back memories of homey baking.
Light, fluffy, sharp and only lightly sweetened strawberry and rhubarb filling is locked between the layers of salted, buttery crust and pecan vanilla streusel.
For a good bake:
- Pastry - the base is prepared using sweet, shortbread crust. It’s made with salted butter. The dough will behave different to the one (exact same proportions) prepared on unsalted butter. The dough will be softer, extensible and it’s best to store it refrigerated for max 1 day. It will be easy to work with. If you are a fan of unsalted butter - use unsalted butter here - it’s your crumble, it’s up to your choice and preference! You won’t see us baking brioche, croissants or flaky pastry on salted butter (and it’s not only to do with water and fat content). In this bake - the difference will be subtle and our preference is - salted butter! If this was to work as a shell in, let’s say, lemon curd tart - preference would be to use unsalted butter (more flaky, crusty). For this crumble - salted butter is a perfect fit.
- Blind baking - the base is blind baked for 15-18 minutes and cooled before the filling is applied. You can opt to use pie weights or you may opt to poke few holes using fork. For a good bake here - remember to chill the shell before baking (pop it into the freezer for 20 minutes) and preheat the oven really well to the required temperature. As there is an egg in the recipe the pastry may puff up a little bit - which is OK. If you have any dough leftover - it makes for delicious cookies!
- Filling - cut fruit into chunky pieces (rhubarb - 1cm thick, strawberries - cut in 1/2 or 1/4). Rhubarb is fried for 2-3 minutes on salted butter. We are using tiny amount of starch (cornflour), sugar and nutmeg. Peach schnapps or rosé is optional here - adds lovely flavour. This is done for rhubarb to catch some flavour before baking - not for it to soften. Rhubarb will be still hard and sharp when filling the crumble. Strawberries are mixed with warm rhubarb (off the heat).
- Foam - egg whites beaten to soft peaks will create beautiful, light and airy filling. Don’t skip this step - you won’t be disappointed. There is a tiny amount of cornflour added to the egg whites (2 tsps =10g). When baking - it will lift up the filling making it juicy and light. Don’t forget to add clear lemon juice to egg whites - this will help to offset cornflour flavour.
- Streusel - pecans and vanilla add lovely flavour to this buttery streusel. If you opt to go with brown butter streusel - brown unsalted butter instead. You can find directions on how to brown butter in this post.
- Tins - we are using tart tin with removable base in this bake. If you don't have a tart tin - no worries! Use round tin or spring form with removable base (create little shell/walls around the rim of the tin). You can also bake this crumble as a tray bake in 22cmx33cm tin - increase ingredients by 20%. Tray bake is perfect for stone fruit bakes (peaches, plums, apricots or apples - cut in halves, extend baking time to 50-55 minutes).
- Spices - you can add additional spices to any of the steps - cardamom to pastry (1/8 tsp), cinnamon/allspice/nutmeg to filling (to taste), cardamom/cinnamon to streusel (1/2 tsp). You may opt to add zest from 1/2 lemon (1tsp) to pastry when creaming butter with sugar.
- Fruit - you can use a number of different fruit in the filling. For stone fruit - like peaches, apricots, plums (700-800g), pitted cherries or sour cherries ( 500-600g) but also apples - treat exactly the same way as rhubarb. Fry for 2-3 minutes on butter before mixing with beaten egg whites. Cherry liquor, cherry brandy, marsala - all add lovely twist to the fruity flavour. Soft fruit - like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries - don’t fry - mix with beaten egg whites and place straight onto the crumble base.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble Tart Recipe
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 55min prep (+ dough chilling) + 45-50min baking
Tin: 28cm or 30cm tart form with removable base
(if you are using 24 or 26cm round form - decrease ingredients by 20%)
- 125g salted butter, room temperature (pliable but not oily)
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 250g all-purpose flour
Strawberry and Rhubarb Filling:
- 450g rhubarb (weighed when cut and ready to use) - 4 medium stalks
- 400g strawberries
- 20g salted butter
- 1 flat tsp cornflour or potato starch
- 2 tsps sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 30ml peach schnapps or sparkling rosé (optional)
+ for the foam:
- 2 egg whites from large eggs
- 2 flat tsps cornflour (or potato starch)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsps clear lemon juice (don’t skip - will offset starch flavour)
Pecan Vanilla Streusel:
- 200g salted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 200g all-purpose four
- 180g light brown sugar
- 1 flat tsp coarse sea salt (use 1/3 tsp if using table salt)
- 100g grund pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1. Prepare pastry: Beat butter for 30 seconds until soft (paddle attachment or handheld mixer), add sugar and beat on medium-high speed until pale (but not oily, about 3 minutes). Add 1 egg, vanilla paste (or extract) and beat for 15 seconds until incorporated (medium speed). Add flour and beat on low-medium speed until coarse meal is formed (don’t over beat, 1-2 minutes). Flip it onto work surface and with few swift moves form the dough. Flatten into disc shape (1cm thick), wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 24hrs). In a meantime - lightly brush bottom of tart form with butter and line with parchment paper. When ready, lightly dust work surface with flour and roll out the dough. Work from the centre-to-edges, rolling in all directions. After few moves, rotate the pastry by 60 degrees (dust underneath with flour, dust rolling pin too) and proceed. In 2-3 minutes you should get circle (4-6cm wider than your tin, 0.3cm thin). Don’t over-work the pastry. If the dough became too warm - refrigerate for 15 minutes before transferring to the pan. When ready, transfer the pastry onto the tin (if there are any tears - patch it up with your hands). There should be 2-3 cm overhang over the tin - trim this to fit the tin. Using fork, poke few holes in the bottom. Place the tin in the freezer for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 40 minutes. In a meantime, preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan forced). Bake for 16-18 minutes until light golden in colour (read hints - you may opt to use pie weights here or poke few holes in the pastry, this is sweet pastry - it will puff up slightly when baking which is OK). When baked, cool fully before applying the filling.
2. For the filling: Wash rhubarb, cut leaves, ends, chop into 1cm thick pieces. Peel, wash strawberries and cut into 1/4 (chunky pieces). Melt salted butter on a frying pan, add rhubarb, 1 tsp cornflour, 2 tsps sugar and nutmeg. Fry on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes (it should start sizzling). If you are adding schnapps or sparkling rose - add and fry for another 30 seconds. Take off the heat and add strawberries. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare streusel: Sift flour, mix in light brown sugar, ground pecans, coarse sea salt. Add melted butter and vanilla bean paste (or extract) and mix with your hands until crumbly texture forms. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. In a meantime - preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced) and complete step 4.
4. Prepare foam for the filling: Beat egg whites for 30 seconds (whisk attachment), then add cornflour, sugar and lemon juice and beat for about 2 minutes (to soft peaks). When done, delicately mix with cooled fruit.
5. Assemble: Place the filling (from Step 4) onto cooled base, cover with streusel.
6. Bake at 180C (160C fan forced) on lower-mid rack for 45-50 minutes. When baked, let your strawberry and rhubarb crumble tart cool for 20 minutes before lifting the rim.
Some of our other favourite fruity bakes: