Yid.Dish: Rhubarb Crisp


I can’t think of a better indication that spring has arrived than the fresh rhubarb ginger crisp currently sitting on my window sill (okay – it’s actually on top of my microwave, but go with me.) The inspiration to make this crisp for Shabbat dinner tonight came to me as I was hurrying through the Union Square farmers’ market towards the subway. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a flash of absurdly neon pink that nearly caused me whiplash as I turned to get a better look. Rhubarb had arrived!

The second inspiration was the copy of Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast, which a co-worker gave me as an engagement present. Flipping through the book, which is divided into winter, spring, summer, and fall recipes, I found a recipe for a rhubarb crisp. It almost seemed a crime not to make it.

More and a recipe for ginger rhubarb crisp below the jump…

Feeling inspired this morning, I checked out this week’s parsha (Torah portion), Bechukotai, to see if I could draw any connections between it and my spring time crisp creation. Usually I struggle for these connections (and marvel at Eric’s ability to draw them so seamlessly), but this time, the first line was all I needed:

If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them; then I will provide your rains in their time, and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will give its fruit. Your threshing will last until the vintage, and the vintage will last until the sowing; you will eat your bread to satiety and you will dwell securely in your land.  Leviticus 26:3-5.

Could this parsha be any more seasonally oriented? It of course goes on to describe the terrifying things that God will do if we don’t follow God’s decrees and commandments (shudder) – but if I may, I’d like to stick with the positive and enjoy the beautiful bounty of spring in all its sweet, bright pink glory.

Rhubarb Crisp
Adapted very slightly from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast
Serves 4-6


1 1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed and sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup raw cane sugar)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of fine sea salt
7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 425. In a large saucepan over med-high heat, combine the rhubarb, sugar, and orange zest and simmer for 5 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and butter in a food processor or bowl. If using the food processor, pulse to combine. I used my hands, pinching the butter into the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should resemble very coarse crumbs with pea-sized bits of butter.

Transfer the rhubarb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate or a 10 inch gratin dish and sprinkle the topping over it. Bake until the topping is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ginger ice cream.

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9 Responses to “Yid.Dish: Rhubarb Crisp”

  1. Rabbi Shmuel Says:

    Aaah rhubarb crisp – the yin and yang of late spring – we inherited a rhubarb patch and it seemed the only thing to do was make rhubarb crisp – until I learned that the leaves (which are mildly toxic) make a wonderful natural horse fly spray when boiled

    ya can’t make this stuff up!

    gut shabbos

  2. Hannah Lee Says:

    I usually make a rhubarb compote for Pesach along with my first purchase of asparagus, but with the double months of Adar this spring, I’d missed both this year. Being seasonal doesn’t always jive with the Jewish calendar, as can be contested by our fellow Jews farther north who shiver outdoors during their meals on Sukkot.

  3. Debra Says:

    Great post Leah, I also love this week’s parsha. I actually discuss the same sentence (Leviticus 26:5) in relation to a different parsha. However, instead of talking about seasonal foods, I discuss HOW we should eat. This verse is full of foodie inspiration!

    See here:


  4. Avigail Says:

    Here I was getting all excited about the rhubarb pie I was about to make this weekend without even realizing you’d posted about it! Yum.

  5. Wine Blog Says:

    Great scriptual reference and a great looking dessert as well!

  6. Ilana-Davita Says:

    That does look good! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Amy Buondonno Says:

    My younger son helped me make this lastnight, and over dinner we played 20 questions with the older boy as he desperately tried to figure out what the “surprise mystery dessert” was. This can be quite the trick for a guy who’s never had rhubarb before. The finished product was well-received by all – even Hubby, who professed to “not be a fan of rhubarb.”

    I made one small doctoring up, I’ll confess. I added about a teaspoon of fresh-grated ginger to the simmering pot. I had forgotten how much liquid rhubarb gives off, and almost juiced the orange to get the simmering started – good thing I didn’t!

  8. Leah Koenig Says:

    Horsefly spray, huh? We live very different lives Rabbi Shmuel! :)

    It’s true Hannah – I feel like I always *want* spring foods to be ready when Passover comes, but it doesn’t always work that way.

    Thanks Debra – and thanks for the link!

    Your pie was delicious Avigail – thanks for sharing a bite with me.

    Thanks Wine Blog and Ilana-Davita :)

    I’m so glad to hear this recipe made a fan out of your rhubarb-reluctant husband, Amy! The fresh grated ginger is a great idea.

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