Rhubarb Crisp


I post this delicious dessert in honor of my mom’s birthday today. Happy birthday Mom!!


I have been eagerly anticipating the return of rhubarb season. It really doesn’t begin until May up here. Before then, the rhubarb in the grocery store, if it’s even there, is so flabby and pitiful-looking. But Saturday, my patience waiting was rewarded with gorgeous, sturdy, brilliantly reddish-pink, in-season rhubarb. I snapped it up, pausing only slightly to gulp at its $7-a-pound price tag.


No matter, this crisp alone made it more than worth it. And it was fantastic. Not too sweet, full of wonderful rhubarb flavor, and the top was nicely browned and crispy. A scoop of vanilla ice cream, and it was perfect! I think I quite literally said “Mmmm…” after every bite.


My mom loves fruit desserts, whether it be pie, crumble, cobbler, crisp, or whatnot. She’s a great lover of most of the usual dessert fruits out there, too – peaches, apples, berries, cherries, bananas, pears, cranberries… And while we didn’t do much with rhubarb while I was growing up, I still do think she would love this one. So it’s quite appropriate for her birthday.


I wish I could have shared it with you, Mom; but somehow I don’t think homemade crisps were meant to travel 2,000 miles intact. Nonetheless, I hope you have a fabulous birthday, and that you get a sweet treat of some kind. You deserve it! Happy birthday Mom!!!


Source: The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

2 to 2 ½ lbs. rhubarb, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 6 cups)
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbs blush or wine zinfandel wine
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
Half a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tbs cornstarch
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Make the filling: combine the rhubarb and lemon zest in a 9×9-inch square baker and set aside.
Combine the sugar, 1 cup of wine, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tbs of wine with the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.
When the sugar has dissolved, add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and simmer until the filling thickens and turns clear, 1 to 3 minutes. It should be the consistency of runny pudding. Shut off the heat and let cool while you prepare the topping.
To make the topping: combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and use a fork or your fingers to work it into the oat mixture until evenly distributed and the mixture is crumbly and a bit clumpy.
Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean from the wine mixture, and then pour the mixture over the rhubarb. Shake the pan around slightly to make sure the rhubarb is evenly coated. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Let cool for just a few minutes, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

4 responses to “Rhubarb Crisp

  1. Julie,
    What a nice way to honor your mom’s birthday. My folks planted rhubarb when they filled in our leaky little in ground pool so I grew up eating it, but my spouse grew up rhubarb-scarred by a neighbor’s prodigious plant and the resulting offerings, so I never make anything with it.

    Your crisp looks so delicious–wish I’d had some, too!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks! Yeah, I thought it was delicious, though I didn’t grow up eating it. Maybe you can try to heal your spouse’s scarred memories sometime? 🙂

  2. Julie,

    My grandparents moved from a small town in Tennessee to metro Atlanta, many years ago. Papa, my granddaddy, very lovingly packed up some of his prize possessions…3 clumps of rhubarb and at least 3 rhizomes each of his prize winning dahlias. The man loved rhubarb and dahlias. He also had a thing for strawberries, but didn’t try to bring any of them with him. I don’t remember what the rhubarb variety was that he grew, but the one you see most often down here now is Valentine. The only crisp I ever remember my grandmother or mother making was apple, but they both made a killer rhubarb strawberry pie. It was sort of a cobbler, and served with vanilla ice cream. The mistake most folks make with rhubarb, in my opinion, is that they cook it too long and it goes to a gummy slime that can be most off-putting. I’ve thought about trying to grow some, but just never have. Perhaps it would be a good time to check out the local garden center and see if they have any in stock. In the mean time, if I can find a few stalks at the market, I just might try the rhubarb crisp.

    • Texan New Yorker

      I’m not sure what variety of rhubarb is sold in my neck of the woods. Maybe Valentine? I’d have to check.

      I do agree, gummy rhubarb is not good. This crisp was not that way at all. I do love the strawberry rhubarb combo too, but I wanted to do just a rhubarb crisp to sort of differentiate from all the many food blogs out there. Strawberry rhubarb is classic, but that makes it common, and not too many people make a dessert with just rhubarb alone. So I wanted to do that.

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