Rhubarb Apple Crisp, Perfect For Early Spring!

Why This Rhubarb Apple Crisp Recipe?

A warm Fruit Crisp a’ la mode is one of my favorite desserts, especially Rhubarb Apple Crisp. I usually think of a cool fall day and apple picking whenever a crisp is mentioned; but springtime in Minnesota actually brings plenty of cool, dreary days that are reminiscent of fall and provide the perfect backdrop for savoring this type of dessert.

During these cool spring days, I’m typically anxious to be able to use something from the garden, and Rhubarb is one of the few crops ready for harvest. Rhubarb on its own is a bit sour for my taste, so I prefer to pair it with something sweet. Strawberries and rhubarb are a famous combination, but like Rhubarb, strawberries lose their firm texture when baked. Apples, on the other hand, provide an equal amount of sweetness without becoming soggy.

The aroma of baking spices along with the contrast of the warm, crumbly crisp against cool, smooth ice cream, make for a comforting experience- even on a spring day.

Rhubarb harvested for Rhubarb Apple Crisp
Rhubarb Fresh out of the Garden

Before you start cooking!

  • Make sure to carefully wash your Rhubarb and remove all portions of the leaves.
  • I prefer to use a semi tart apple for this Rhubarb Apple Crisp recipe.
  • This recipe was designed around a 9 x 12 inch baking dish.
  • Get yourself some vanilla ice cream.
  • If you want to serve this recipe as an individual plated dessert. Bake off the topping separate on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. You can store this at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days. Combine all the ingredients for the filling and cook over low heat in a sauce pan. This you should store refrigerated. Then simply build your dessert, and heat them to order in a Ramekin for service.
Rhubarb Apple Crisp
Rhubarb Apple Crisp Fresh out of the Oven

Items you will need to make Rhubarb Apple Crisp

This list is items that I personally use, any purchases made through these links support this blog.

Okay, Here is the Rhubarb Apple Crisp Recipe!

Rhubarb Apple Crisp Recipe

Do you want to read a story about Rhubarb?

In Minnesota, where I live, Grocery Stores will stock Rhubarb, but I am not sure that anyone purchases it. It always looks battered and limp. It seems to me that most Minnesotans either grow it themselves or have a neighbor who is willing to share. The previous owners of our house planted five extremely healthy Rhubarb plants, so I can only assume my garden was a source for much of the surrounding area prior to my family moving in.

I have come to this conclusion because we moved into our home in the fall, and   while our immediate neighbors stopped by on move in day to introduce themselves, no one else in the area seemed to pay much attention to our family for the rest of the season. We went through the first winter with little communal interaction, other than Dan’s reminders that we needed to shovel our dog’s poop off of the sidewalk more frequently.

Then spring came along. Every time I was out in the yard somebody would stop by. It was constant! There were faces I had never seen, and dogs being walked, that look like they never get walked coming by to chat. They would typically introduce themselves, point to their own house, and cut right to it: “So, do you have any plans for your rhubarb?” or “The people before let me have some Rhubarb, so would you mind?”

One woman was so brazen that she blocked our driveway with her minivan and insisted she had claim to our crop. She refused to leave till she got her cut. That was awkward.

That year I decided to be neighborly and honor the deals they had with the previous owner. I was saying “Oh sure you know, oofda, you betcha.” Little did I know, these Rhubarb scavengers would proceed to clear cut my entire crop. I was outraged! Sure, at that point I hadn’t planned on using the rhubarb for any particular recipes just yet, but the plants also serve as foundation plantings for our home. With all my rhubarb gone, my landscaping looked barren.

Year two at our house, I was determined not to repeat this experience. I mentally prepared myself for neighborly confrontation and denied all rhubarb requests. I replied that I planned on making some jams or breads whenever a rhubarb onlooker approached. I assumed most people would be decent enough to respect my boundaries.

Little did I know…

A few weeks went by then the harassment started. One woman who was particularly bitter took to idling her Buick next to our house, rolling down her windows, and saying things like, “looks like it’s going to seed” or “how’s that jam you were going to make”, and then speed off with an evil snicker.

I still hadn’t harvested any rhubarb, but this was my land, and I had every right to use or not use my Rhubarb. I stood my ground.

Eventually that year, I decided to bring a friendly neighbor some and made one crisp just to have a rebuttal. It was delicious, and I deserved it.

Fast forward to today, and I am now on my third harvest. I decided I would finally commit to using my Rhubarb. This way when randos approach me, I can tell them about the delicacies I plan to prepare. It’s the perfect approach to combat the passive aggressiveness that is often mislabeled as “Minnesota nice”. True to my word, this year I have made several desserts- as well as some savory items- with my rhubarb. I even converted my wife, who was seriously anti-Rhubarb. I believe I’ve succeeded in sending a message to my neighborhood that my Rhubarb is mine, and that I’m the type of guy that lives off my land.

That was until just yesterday; another dog that I have never seen came by with an inquisitive owner who wanted to eradicate my crop.

Published by Chef Ben Mogren

I am a professional Chef with over 20 years of Culinary Experience. I trained at the Culinary Institute of America. I spent my career working throughout the Napa Valley, The Four Seasons Resorts, The American Club, Lambeau Field, The Mayo Clinic, and as a Corporate Chef in Manufacturing Sauces and Sous Vide Items. My recipes focus on creating absolutely delicious food from easily sourced ingredients. They focus on proper technique and extracting as much flavor as possible out of common ingredients.

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