Rhubarb; a Crumble or Pudding?

Excitement is mounting in this Bowral household. The rhubarb is on the ‘cusp’ of turning into a ‘crumble’. We have had the debate about what the differences are between the delights of puddings and cakes. There is now a new girl on the block; the ‘crumble’. (The word ‘cusp’ seems to have sprung up suddenly and conquered the world within days. In 2012 it was all the rage with ‘new paradigm’. Everyone all of a sudden wanted to ‘find’ their ‘new paradigm’. I lost mine in George Street, Sydney. No one has found it even though it had my name scribbled on it with Mob phone nr.)

Apropos pudding, cake, and now crumble, the debate still rages around the world from Gibraltar to NY city, Mexico to Sydney what the differences are. It is now generally conceded, even acknowledged, that one is steamed or boiled while the other is baked. A Christmas pudding is steamed or boiled in a cloth like other puddings. What about Yorkshire pudding? (steamed in a cloth 😉 ) There is black pudding in a net or cloth, and in the case of G getting an invitation years ago in Whitby to go ‘out for pudding’ this meant a cup of tea with a muffin in a sea-side Tea establishment. Kippers at Whitby was something totally different, it was neither. For a Europhile it remains all a bit like cricket, very esoteric.

The stalks of the rhubarb in our garden are still green. Helvi reckons not all rhubarb turns red. Last year it was green too. I then made a delicious crumble with apple, some muesli and lots of butter. The apples were the green ones, very tart but snappily juicy. The addition of cinnamon and a couple of cloves did add some spice although H reckoned the cloves were a bit over the top.

Anyway, the word crumble must indicate the looseness of it all. It crumbles. I am sure no-one could call it a pudding or cake. I have seen it being called a pie. I don’t know. I suppose there are meat pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, mince pies, why not rhubarb pie?

Yes, I googled rhubarb and the stalks can be green, green fading into pink or bright red. It is a fact of varieties and not of age or soil. Anyway, all stalks turn green when cooked. What a revelation!

untitledrhubarb crumble

I am struggling trying to make this tale amusing but I am not sure if rhubarb lends itself to humour as in lost socks or the profoundness of Pierre Cardin’s lost pyjamas, the pathos of a little boy’s lost train ticket.

Last night we had dinner at the local Royal Hotel. My favourite was on the blackboard ‘fresh pepper calamari’ with H’s choice being the ‘flat-head fish fillets and stringy chips’. A bottle of fine white ‘The Royal Chenin blanc’ in an ice bucket made it to our table as well.

Both meals were honest without pretence or concerns if they were puddings or cakes. I now will look at my rhubarb cooking results tomorrow and will call it either a cake or a crumble depending on its consistency. A cake, if it stays together, or crumble, if it crumbles. However, if it is all runny I leave the option open to call it a ‘slushy’
It will take the world by storm. Phew…I made it!

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19 Responses to “Rhubarb; a Crumble or Pudding?”

  1. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I have never made it, but rhubarb pie is very big in some circles. Some people actually add strawberries. Whatever—it sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. auntyuta Says:

    Did you mean ‘parasol’?

    “The RHUBARB SLUSHY”: This was a great finish to your post. LOL
    Whatever it turns out to be, I’m sure you’re going to eat it.
    Peter and I would not mind a bit of this rhubarb crumble! It looks great in your picture. I am sure you could call it ‘pie’, a pie topped with crumbles.

    Do you know “The Prairie Home Companion”? Garrison Keilor as a superb story teller praised ‘rhubarb pie’ in an unforgettable song! I love this movie. One of the best. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrew Says:

    I don’t like rhubarb. But if you were to make apple & blckberry crumble then a deal is on the table alongside the pie, cake, crumble, slushy or (?) parasol. Bake your parasol for 25 minutes on regulo 7. Do not open the oven door during the baking time. Yup. Sounds about right. Cusp has been around for many years. I remember my mother making cusp cakes. And I’m sure they are in Delia’s cook book. They may be in Nigella’s coke book too but I’m just clutching at straws here. I think cusp is a good woody word. I like it. Not rhubarb though. Green, pink or red. Now is a fruit or a veg, Gerard?


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I think it is a vegetable, like carrots. Carrots too can be made in a cake or pudding. I haven’t heard of broccoli cake or leek cake but pumpkin cake yes. I have heard of cup cake but not cusp cake. It must be very English or something.


  4. Andrew Says:

    Should read: is rhubarb a fruit or a veg?


  5. roughseasinthemed Says:

    Rhubarb (and blackberry, apple and every other combination of) crumble are crumbles clearly. But they belong to the generic class of pudding, as in ‘what would you like for pudding dear?’. To be served with custard of course, if it is served with custard that is a good guide to whether it is pudding. Not A pudding, just pudding for afters, or dessert, or sweet or whatever you want to cal it. Except with custard they are almost invariably puddings. Phew!


    • roughseasinthemed Says:

      Sorry, I mean invariably pudding, hence the comment about the difference between a specific pudding and pudding.

      pudding |ˈpoŏdi ng |
      1 a dessert with a creamy consistency : chocolate pudding | a rice pudding.
      • chiefly Brit. any dessert.
      • chiefly Brit. the dessert course of a meal : what’s for pudding?
      2 a sweet or savory steamed dish made with flour : Yorkshire pudding.
      • the intestines of a pig or sheep stuffed with oatmeal, spices, and meat and boiled. See also black pudding , blood pudding .


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So, if at my next dinner party I serve Yorkshire pudding with custard, that will be ok then? Won’t it clash with the pepper and salt? I suppose with my Euro background people might just be polite and say; “oh Gerard, that was really delicious”.
      I wonder if herrings served with custard would make a good pudding?

      Liked by 1 person

      • roughseasinthemed Says:

        You may serve it with currants in the batter, or blackberries, plus gravy. Does that help?


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, thanks for the help, Even tonight we had loganberries with a vegetable chicken curry. The curry had carrots, egg plant, zucchini, celery, spinach, red capsicum, fresh red chilli, onions (red) and garlic. I used turmeric and wine vinegar with some brown sugar, some soya sauce and a bit of water. Also fish sauce and some sesame oil.
        It received high praise.


  6. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Crisp.crust, cusp, pudding, cake, or what ever- it matters not. a tasty veggie for surel You either love rhubarb or hate it. It does not grow in my part of the Texas. The weather is not right. But my mom made a delicioous desert with strawberries and something else to hold it all together. It was chilled and eaten cold and very good.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I can’t really remember my mum making a dessert. A square meal every day for a family of eight was a challenge. Our sweets were strictly reserved for birthdays only, with the ultimate unforgettable treat… a glass of orange cordial.
      Today, I see kids casually drinking a bottle of sugary soft drink and without even finishing it, fling it casually somewhere in the bush, or depending on upbringing , put it in the disposal drum. I hear drinking water had gone out of fashion.


  7. Patti Kuche Says:

    Your rhubarb slushy is akin to the apple and blueberry slump I sometimes serve for pudding, as in hot, wet, very messy and so good! A crumble is a pudding as Rough Seas explained so well!

    “What’s for pudding?” is the optimistic question asked after main course and usually it leads to disappointment.

    Yorkshire pudding, which I serve with roast beef etc, is also good with ice-cream and dribbles of warm syrup.

    And don’t forget, you can always make a rhubarb fool for pudding!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks Patti. I am not going to argue with ‘the perfect Rhubarb fool’. It would have to be the definitive answer to a world in turmoil. It should be made made compulsory reading and part of all army training manuals. If only we could live in a world of rhubarb stalk submissions, lashings of whipped cream and lots of puddings.

      “What’s for pudding?” Instead of the howling howitzers.


  8. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I like the Janet Baker best. I could take her voice for starters, main and pudding. Thank for the delightful glimpse of her from long ago.


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