Rhubarb Crumble

When my father was a kid growing up in Minnesota, in the summer he used to love to chew on rhubarb that grew like a weed around there, RAW. That’s right. Raw. (The stalks, not the leaves which are poisonous.) Have you ever tried biting into a piece of raw rhubarb stalk? I dare you. It’s like a hundred times more sour than a lemon (okay maybe a little exaggeration here). It’s screaming tart. It’s “what was I thinking?” tart. Anyway, rhubarb is not safe around this house. The refrigerator half life for rhubarb is a couple hours at best. This last bunch we put to work into a lovely rhubarb crumble, based on a recipe dad found in Oprah magazine (yes, I had to get over the shock of that too, my dad, reading Oprah? then again she does have good recipes). Taking a tip from The Flavor Bible, I added a touch of cardamom to the vanilla and rhubarb in the filling, rhubarb+cardamom+vanilla being one of those match-made-in-heaven flavor combinations.

Another favorite combo with rhubarb that I love is ginger and orange zest, which would also work great with this crumble. Feel free to experiment. The only thing you need to really keep an eye on is making sure you have enough sugar to balance out the tartness of the rhubarb. The ratio of rhubarb to sugar in this recipe is perfect for us, but if it ends up being too tart for you, add a little more sugar, or just eat with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or even straight cream.

Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.
Yum

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 2 lbs rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Crumble Topping:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick or 4 ounces), cut into cubes

Method

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the rhubarb, white sugar, 1/4 cup of flour, the vanilla extract, and the ground cardamom. Spoon into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

2 In a food processor, pulse together 1 cup of flour, the salt, and the brown sugar. Add the butter and pulse until the pieces of butter are pea-sized. (Alternatively, mix the dry ingredients together and cut the butter in with two knives or a pastry cutter.) Spread topping mixture over rhubarb mixture.

3 Place in oven and cook for 35-45 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. Let cool for at least a half an hour before serving.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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Adapted from Catherine Newman's Rhubarb Crumble in Oprah Magazine, May 2009.

Showing 4 of 42 Comments

  • Maninas

    My husband eats rhubarb raw! Though he sometimes dips in sugar, mostly he eats it just like it is.

    But this is not why I write. I wanted to suggest adding a bit of rose water to the cardamom and rhubarb combo, plus some almonds in the crumble topping. Works a treat!

    Great suggestions, thank you! ~Elise

  • Bethany

    OK, so I have been avoiding those rhubarb stalks filling up the farmer’s market and grocery lately — I have never used it and just don’t know what to do with it — but this might get me motivated to try something new! Although I think the chewing on raw stalks might be a whole new level I’m not up for quite yet…

  • The Italian Dish

    Hey, your dad was just like us! My brothers and I used to run over to a neighbor’s patch of rhubarb in the summer and eat it raw, also! We absolutely loved it. I couldn’t do that now. But I sure do love it in a crumble!

  • Jillian

    This looks like such a tasty recipe! I was wondering if you would change anything if you were using frozen rhubarb?

    I would just make sure the rhubarb was well defrosted and drained first. ~Elise

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