Monday, April 20, 2015

Rhubarb Crisp with a Twist

UPDATE: I've played around with the recipe and have found that adding 1/2 cup of flour to the topping makes it more crumbly and less chewy. Choose the one you prefer.

It's spring (thank God!) and rhubarb is starting to show up in the produce aisle, so it's time to make one of my husband's favourite dishes: rhubarb crisp. Rhubarb is high in Potassium (vitamin K), which is important for heart health and for calcium absorption. Rhubarb is also said to fight Alzheimer's (but I can't remember where I read that).

Here's the recipe I created - for the best rhubarb crisp I've ever tasted.

P.S. This recipe is egg-, wheat-, and gluten-free. If you skip the ice cream, it's dairy-free as well.

Before we get started . . . 

Confession: I used to hate rhubarb crisp. It was too sour, and even thinking about it made my mouth frown. To compensate, I always covered the sour rhubarb with a double recipe of oatmeal crisp, then I dolloped a great big scoop of ice cream on top.

Last weekend, however, I invented a twist on the classic dessert and it pleased both my husband (who likes his taste buds to be walloped with a baseball bat, figuratively speaking) and me (who prefers a more subtle dance of flavours).

The smaller chunks of rhubarb, combined with blueberries and some apple, make for a slightly less acidic filling.

The tapioca is a non-wheat thickener that helps the sauce hold together, so that it is more like a glaze, but still not gluey. (For those of you who don't like the texture of tapioca pudding: don't worry, you can't even notice the "bubble-like" texture in this recipe, thanks to all the fruit and oatmeal.)

Don't know if you can tell that the sauce is slightly thickened in this picture.
Usually the sauce in rhubarb crisp is quite runny.
(The tiny spots of light are caused by our LED lights, not the tapioca.)

Cardamom, a companion spice to the cinnamon and nutmeg, is used more often in Indian cuisine (think chai tea or Indian rice pudding), and is a nice complement for this recipe.

The almonds on top toast while the fruit bakes and give a lovely bit of snap to the topping.


4 stalks of rhubarb (approximately 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup blueberries (about 1/2 pint or 6 oz.)
1 medium-sized apple
3 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar (if using just rhubarb, use 1/3 cup sugar)
Your filling ingredients should measure approximately 4 cups.

Crisp (Topping)*
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine (use margarine without whey for a dairy-free version)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
2 Tbsp sliced almonds 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Chop the rhubarb into really small cubes about the size of blueberries. I cut each stalk in half (or less) lengthwise before cutting across into chunks. This prevents me from getting a huge chunk of sour rhubarb in any bite.

Peel, core, and chop the apple into 1-inch chunks.

Combine the filling ingredients in casserole dish.

The filling without the topping. You can see how small I chopped the rhubarb: as small as the blueberries.
You can also see the tapioca clinging to the fruit.

Combine crisp ingredients -- except the almonds -- and lay them over the filling.

Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the topping.

Ready for the oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the apples are soft.

The almonds are lightly toasted, and the apple chunks are tender.
Serve warm, with a good vanilla ice cream.

* For a more cookie-like topping, add 1/2 cup flour (either all-purpose or gluten-free).


  1. Looks good :) Just to note though Potassium is not vitamin K. Potassium's periodic table symbol is K. Vitamin K is a whole other thing.

    1. Oops. I didn't even check that! Thanks for catching it.


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