Whether you call it a blueberry rhubarb crisp or crumble, combine sweet berries with tart rhubarb, top with a crunchy pecan streusel topping and you have a scrumptious combination. For a fantastic and easy dessert this Spring or Summer, try adding rhubarb to your berries.
I was so disappointed when I learned that rhubarb couldn’t grow in North Carolina, this makes it harder to make my favorite blueberry rhubarb crisp. Rhubarb requires a cold climate and it just can’t survive the Southern summers.
I have great memories of using rhubarb while cooking with my grandmother who lived in Idaho where it was plentiful in her backyard. I have to get mine at the grocery or pick up frozen packs when it’s not in season.
Can you grow rhubarb in a warm climate
The stalls at our farmers market have to have food grown in North Carolina. I’m not sure I agree with this as we’re only an hour or less from the Virginia border but they don’t allow produce except from North Carolina. In any event, when I found rhubarb there, I knew it had to be from somewhere close by. I asked the local farmer and he said of course we can grow rhubarb here.
However, when I went back the next week, he was out and said that was all he had this year. So it does grow here but as an annual and it doesn’t have a very long growing season. In colder regions it has a growing season of April through June. I can find it at the grocery sometimes and it freezes great if you’re like me and can’t find it fresh for very long. If you have a good supply we love to make jam, upside down cake and rhubarb bread pudding.
Why you’ll love it
- This is a really easy dessert.
- Tart rhubarb pairs marvelously with sweet fruit like blueberries and strawberries.
- Pecans make the perfect crunchy topping.
- You only need two cups of rhubarb, so if it’s hard to find where you are, you don’t have to break the bank at the grocery.
What you’ll need
- Rhubarb – fresh or frozen. I have a hard time finding frozen in our grocery, but have been able to find it at Sprouts.
- Blueberries – you can use fresh or frozen or use raspberries or blackberries. Learn some tricks for keeping blueberries fresh.
- Strawberries– these need to be fresh, frozen strawberries are too juicy for this rhubarb crisp recipe. If you don’t have fresh strawberries, then use other berries in their place.
- Turbinado or Demerara sugar – this is a coarse sugar that I like for the rhubarb, you can substitute white or brown sugar.
- Pecans– these are optional but add a nice crunch to the top.
- Pantry staples – flour, cornstarch, brown sugar and butter.
So with fresh local rhubarb in hand and lots of yummy strawberries, I set out to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp. However, I found some tasty blueberries and threw those in also.
When using rhubarb you need to add other fruit to compliment the tart flavor. Strawberries seem to be the fruit of choice but I really like adding blueberries to the mix. All you have to do is cut up the fruit, and add some sugar and something to thicken it a bit.
If blueberries aren’t in season yet, you can use frozen blueberries. You don’t even need to thaw them. If you have tons of blueberries, try showcasing them in a cobbler.
Crumble Topping – Pecans v Oatmeal
After choosing your fruit combination, you have to decide on the topping. Taylor and I decided we would experiment with toppings. She used my favorite topping with pecans for half of it and I used a more traditional oatmeal topping for the remaining crisp.
The pecan topping won hands down. I think it’s because the strawberries make this very juicy and the pecan topping was more solid and helped absorb the juice. We loved the fruit mixture and the pecan streusel was just an added bonus.
A rhubarb crumble will stay fresh on the counter for a day, after that store it in the refrigerator.
How do you make a rhubarb crisp
Cut up the rhubarb and add 8 cups of fresh berries, any combination of berries will work. If you have frozen blueberries or blackberries, you can use them, but not frozen strawberries. Add sugar, flour and cornstarch. Place in a baking dish or individual ramekins.
Combine melted butter with brown sugar, flour and pecans and spread it over the top and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.
How to serve a rhubarb crumble
- Top with a dollop of whipped cream for a simple finish
- A scoop of vanilla ice cream never hurt
- Fresh, whole berries such as blueberries or sliced strawberries look beautiful
For dessert, I’ll always choose one made with fresh fruit. Save your pies and cakes for the winter when there’s no fresh fruit around.
FAQs and tips
Rhubarb is often served as a fruit in baked dishes but it is technically a vegetable. The tartness needs to be accompanied by honey or sugar to balance out the acidity.
It varies depending on what region of the country you are in. Here in NC they are ripe in the Spring, for other States, check here.
No, frozen strawberries will have to much liquid for a rhubarb crisp. You can use a mixture of frozen blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
Yes, you can make this a rhubarb blueberry crisp with just blueberries and rhubarb.
No, there is no need to peel rhubarb. Just wash it, cut off the ends and chop it up in ½″ pieces.
Rhubarb can be green or red, so the color doesn’t determine how ripe it is. Look for crisp stalks.
Yes, just spoon in the fruit and top with streusel. You will be able to shorten the cooking time by about 5 minutes.
Most crisps and cobblers are going to be runny, by adding a thickener like flour or cornstarch you can reduce how juicy it is. You an also let it cool before serving and the juices will thicken as it cools.
More fruit desserts you might like:
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Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp
- 6 cups strawberries cut in half
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 cups rhubarb chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup butter melted
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup pecans coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Mix together fruit in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients and mix with fruit. Pour into a large 9 X 13 baking dish.
Pecan Streusel Topping
- Combine all ingredients and crumble over the fruit.
- Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and slightly brown. Let cool for a few minutes and serve warm.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Use fresh not frozen strawberries.
- You can use any combination of berries you like including blackberries and raspberries.
- You can make this in individual ramekins, but you will need to shorten the baking time by about 5 minutes.
- Place a baking sheet under the baking dish when cooking to catch any spill overs.
- You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb.
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