Rhubarb Crisp

Adapted from The Gluten Free Gourmet, revised.

When I have a failure of a crisp it is always that the proportion of fat to flour was off.  This one is no exception.  Best to follow a recipe all the time in my experience.  Though, my mother can do it by feel and guesswork.

The next time I make this I plan to substitute some part of the flour for GF oatmeal.  I like an oatmealy crisp.  The original recipe, which I followed faithfully the first time through, called for a GF cereal.  I didn’t like that texture at all.  The cereal got very tough from getting moistened then baked dry again.

Pre-heat oven to 350


1/4 Butter (for the pan later)

1.5 cups sugar

1-2 tbsp tapioca flour

4 cups fresh rhubarb or 1 16 oz package frozen

(I have to confess I didn’t measure my rhubarb. I used a 9x 13 inch pan and cut up enough for a medium sized bowl.)

Chop the rhubarb to your preference. I like it fairly finely chopped so the sugar is distributed evenly.  Add the sugar and flour and let sit while you make the topping.  The rhubarb will give a lot of liquid that dissolves the sugar. Butter comes later.


3.5 cups GF mix (garbanzo/fava +tapioca, a protein and a starch)

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

Spice it up. I added a dash of five spice powder this time. I have also used cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, alone or together.  You might also like cardamom. Spice can go in the topping, or the filling, or both.

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add the butter, cold.  I found if I chop the butter the next step is easier.

Using a pastry cutter, two table knives or your hands, cut the butter and flour mix together until the lumps are the size of small peas.  This is never a uniform process.  GF flours are more forgiving of over mixing than wheat flour is.

Spread a generous layer of butter over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.  I used about 1/4  cup.

Pour the rhubarb mixture in the pan. It should be quite soupy now.  Shake the pan a little to get the actual rhubarb distributed evenly, or use the back of a spoon.

Use both hands to sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Like this:  Scoop up topping so both hands are full, cupped together.  Place your hands over the middle of the pan and pull them apart to the ends of the pan while wiggling your fingers.  Repeat until the topping is all in the pan and distributed as evenly as you can.  There should be no fruit showing through the topping. But it’s not the end of the world if it is.

Bake 1 hr at 350.

Like all crispy GF things the topping improves with time, reaching its peak at three days.  Unfortunately the fruit does not act the same way.  I mean to try freezing this recipe, baked, to see if I can overcome this problem.  I fear refrigeration would allow moisture into the topping, but I haven’t tried that either.



That went poorly.   The crisp collapsed and was gummy.  I have a few ideas about the cause.

Previously I have made this with apples.  Rhubarb is much wetter.

Previously, my GF mix included corn starch as well as tapioca and garbanzo/fava flour.  This time I was out of corn starch and used the tapioca as though it were just a starch.  It is in fact much glue-ier than corn starch.  Add that to the tapioca in the filling and what I got is a lot like chewing gum.

This is adapted from a recipe half the size.  The original called for a 9 x 9 inch pan.  I doubled the ingredients but I may have mis read or missed one altogether.

Rhubarb season is all but over but I hope I get another shot at this while it is fresh in my mind.  Meanwhile, feel free to try this, as written with apples or another fruit drier than rhubarb.  Maybe you should use cornstarch too.

It does have good flavor, so I will be eating it.  I won’t be bringing it to parties. 🙂