Surprising Rhubarb for a Mother’s Day Dessert

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble with Mascarpone Whipped CreamLast Saturday when I arrived at my local farmers’ market in our small New England town, the crop that captured my attention was rhubarb. Resting regally on a folding table at one of my favorite stands were bundles of deep red and pale green stalks. I quickly picked up three bunches, knowing that the following week I needed rhubarb for a dessert in one of my cooking classes.

Although typically treated as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a plant with a tartness that requires a complement of sugar. The dessert I had planned was a warm rhubarb and strawberry crumble (which calls for both white and brown sugars); it takes only 20 minutes to assemble and then about half an hour in the oven. For the filling sliced rhubarb and strawberries are dusted with sugar and aromatic spices including cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. A traditional topping of flour, oats, brown sugar, and nuts (I used sliced almonds) rubbed with bits of butter bakes to a golden crispness, while covering the bubbling juicy mixture beneath.

This crumble was such a hit in my class last night that I thought I would share it here. It would be a delightful dessert to serve for Mother’s Day this Sunday, the 14th! You can make it several hours ahead, then reheat it for 20 to 30 minutes when needed. I garnished servings with dollops of mascarpone whipped cream scented with orange, but if time is scarce, offer scoops of a good vanilla ice cream to satisfy mom’s sweet tooth.


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Warm Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Fruit Filling
Butter for greasing baking dish
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 to 3/4 pound (1 1/2 cups) hulled, halved strawberries (See cooking tip)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup oats (preferably not quick cooking oats)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
6 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
Mint sprigs for garnish, optional
Mascarpone Whipped Cream (Recipe follows.) or 1 quart good quality vanilla ice cream

1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a shallow medium baking dish (about 2 quart capacity).

2. For the fruit filling, in a large bowl toss together the rhubarb and the strawberries. In a medium bowl mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg together and add to bowl with fruit. Toss well to coat. Spoon the fruit mixture and any loose remaining seasonings into the baking dish and spread evenly.

3. For the topping, mix flour, sugar, oats, and almonds in a medium bowl. Dice 4 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and rub into dry ingredients, using your finger tips, until mixture resembles pea-sized clumps. Pat mixture evenly over fruit. Dice the remaining butter and dot the crumble mixture with it.

4. Bake until fruit mixture is bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove and cool 10 minutes. (Crumble can be prepared 6 hours ahead; leave at cool room temperature. Reheat in a preheated 350 degree oven to warm, 20 to 30 minutes.)

5. To serve, garnish center of crumble with 2 to 3 mint sprigs, if desired.
Serve each portion warm with a dollop of Mascarpone Whipped Cream or a scoop of ice cream. Serves 6.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream
6 tbsp mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp orange liqueur plus extra if desired

1. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, whip the cream until it just starts to thicken, and then add the mascarpone and sugar. Continue beating until firm. Remove and stir in the orange zest and 1 teaspoon orange liqueur. Taste and add up to1 teaspoon more liqueur for a stronger orange flavor. (Mascarpone cream can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Makes about 2 cups.

Cooking tip: If strawberries are not ripe all the way through and have a white core, be sure to cut out all the white cores and discard them. Measure enough sliced, cored berries to make 1 1/2 cups.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017

4 thoughts on “Surprising Rhubarb for a Mother’s Day Dessert

  1. Betty you’ve done it again. We made this dessert today with frozen rhubarb and fresh strawberries and it was fantastic. The spices really brought out the best flavors of both fruits. This is a keeper. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY FROM OUR KITCHEN TO YOURS.

    • Julie, thanks so much for your note! I’m so pleased that you liked the rhubarb and strawberry crumble for Mother’s Day! I made it again last night for a dinner party and it got winning reviews! Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

  2. Betty – We arrived at our Cape house late on Thursday to spend the Memorial Day weekend. I brought some plump organic strawberries that had to be used by Friday. On the previous weekend a friend had brought me a large bag of rhubarb she had harvested in Maine. She advised me to slice the stalks, freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then put them back in the freezer in 1-quart freezer bags. (A great way to prolong the short rhubarb season!)
    Bright sun woke me early on Friday morning and I discovered that I had enough of every ingredient for the crisp, though I had to hand-slice the almonds. We had the most elegant “first breakfast of the season” ever on our deck—followed by dessert every night of the long weekend. I shared your link with my friend. We both love rhubarb, and are grateful for your Mother’s Day post. Karen

    • Karen, Thanks so much for your lovely note. I am thrilled to hear that you made the strawberry rhubarb crisp from my blog post! I love the combination of those two fruits and am glad you had them and all the other ingredients for the recipe. What a fabulous idea to serve this for breakfast–what could be better to start a weekend morning (several mornings in your case!) with this sweet dish! Thanks again. Betty

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