Rhubarb Cherry Ginger Crumble (Gluten-Free)

So, you know what happens now, right? Twenty-five pounds of rhubarb from Grandma’s garden that I need to work my way through means all rhubarb, all the time for the next 10 posts. I’m contemplating changing the blog name to Rhubarb Kitchen.

I jest, I jest. Mostly. I know that some of you out there are not so fond of the pink stalks (perish the thought), so I will try not to deluge you with too many rhubarb recipes in a row. But I wanted to share this one before rhubarb goes the way of ramps & fiddleheads: a riff on my standard fruit crumble, this one with Maine rhubarb, local ginger and the first. cherries. of. the. season. (I won’t torture you with a SQUEEE! Who am I kidding? Local, unsprayed cherries in the Hud, in June = SQUEE!!!). I amped up the cherry flavor with a healthy dash of ginjinha, a Portuguese cherry liqueur that I sampled frequently during my three weeks in Portugal in the late 90’s: last month, a girlfriend in DC gifted me with a premium bottle, from her own travels in Lisboa, with the rationale, “I know you’ll cook something with it.” And indeed: she was right. I tossed some fresh minced ginger into the mix, because rhubarb loves ginger, and married it all together with a 3-hour maceration in raw sugar.

Since the lovely, talented and oh-so-Hip Kate Payne was visiting me, en route to a very fun opening day at the Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market with The Other Kate, I adapted the topping for Kate’s gluten-free needs. Organic brown rice flour replaced the whole wheat pastry flour that I usually use, gluten-free oats subbed in for regular rolled oats, and Kate suggested adding a bit of ground flax seed to the mix, as a binding aid. Crumbles and crisps adapt well to gluten-free baking, I feel, because the gluten in wheat flour is not really activated in the typical crumble topping; the flour is simply serving as a binder for chunkier oats, sugar, nuts and the like. The flax seed-rice flour combination appeared to work beautifully here: we had nice chunks of crumbly topping, it did not get overly mushy or soggy, and both Kate and Tai declared it delicious. I call that a success.

Adapted from my now-standard crumble recipe, originally from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks

———————————————————-

Rhubarb Cherry Ginger Crumble

INGREDIENTS

   Topping

  • 3 oz (about 3/4 cup) brown rice flour
  • 3 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) gluten-free oats
  • 3 oz (about 2/3 cup) raw, unsalted nuts (I used pine nuts & pecans here)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 and 1/2 oz (1/3 cup) butter, melted

   Filling

  • 12 oz rhubarb, trimmed and sliced to 1/4-inch
  • 8 oz sweet cherries, rinsed, stemmed & pitted
  • 4 oz raw sugar (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 heaping tbsp minced fresh ginger (about a thumb-sized piece, peeled)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cherry liqueur, such as ginjinha (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

METHODS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, cherries, ginger, sugar, sea salt and liqueur (if using). Mix well and allow to macerate, for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or refrigerated overnight. The point is to get the rhubarb & cherries to release some of their juice; if you are short on time, you can speed up this process by bringing the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then removing from the heat and allowing to sit until room temp.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well.
  3. To make the topping, combine the flour, flax seed, and about 2 tbsp of the oats in the bowl of a food processor. Process until flax seeds are finely ground. Alternatively, grind the flax seeds only in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder. Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl and add remaining oats, nuts, salt and pepper. Toss well to mix. Add melted butter and toss with a fork to blend; mold the topping into 4 or 5 patties with your hands, laying patties flat on a clean plate, then place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
  4. To make the filling, strain the macerated fruit, collecting the syrup in a medium saucepan. Transfer the strained fruit to a 9-inch pie dish. Toss fruit with the cornstarch until it disappears. Bring the rhubarb-cherry syrup to a boil over high heat; continue boiling for 3 – 5 minutes until juice is reduced somewhat and syrupy. Pour over the fruit in the pie plate. Remove topping from the freezer and crumble over the top of the fruit, including a mix of large and small pieces.
  5. Bake, on the rimmed baking sheet, until the topping is a rich golden brown and the juices are thickly bubbling, about 45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Serves 8.

OPTIONS

  1. Reducing the fruit juice prior to baking the crumble aids in keeping the gluten-free crumble topping from becoming soggy: the resulting topping was crisp, with intact larger & smaller crumbles.
  2. According to Kate, the ginger flavor was nice; there, but subtle. I suspect you could double the amount to 2 tbsp without it becoming overwhelming.
  3. The ginjinha was added for depth of flavor; you can easily omit it, or replace with port wine, fruit juice or ginger beer.

STORE

At room temperature, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for up to 3 days.

SEASON

Late Spring, or year-round with frozen fruit.

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22 comments

  1. This is perfect for me because the local Berkeley market had rhubarb on Saturday and I bought extra cherries, too. And I love ginger. I’ll probably make a different topping, just because.

  2. I kept eyeing cherries and rhubarb this past weekend at our local farmer’s market… so good news that you posted a very delicious recipe with both! :) I’ll definitely have to try!

  3. Kate @ Snowflake Kitchen

    Kate squared! Great to see you, although it was waaaay too short and hectic. So jealous of your cherries. Let me know if you’re headed out to Shelton – perhaps we can meet up :)

  4. Cherries! I can’t wait. Our random hillside tree seems to have plenty this year if the birds don’t get them (they always do though.)
    How fun to hang out with Kate and Kate!
    Ginjinha sounds pretty tasty too!

    • I am SO hoping for a good cherry year: crops have failed in the Hudson Valley for the last two years in a row. I suspect I *may* go a little cherry crazy. Which is so unlike me, no? ;)

  5. Go ahead and SQUEEEEEEE! Can you tell me where you scored said cherries? I’ve been getting whiffs of cherries here and there (I was at an orchard and they were roped off, “Not ready!” but they looked pretty darn ready to me…) but nothing solid. And nothing unsprayed, that’s for sure. Do tell.

    Looks like I missed out in more ways than one. That looks like a killer crumble.

    • Madura Farm had them at our local market: I don’t think they have cherry trees on the farm, but I do know that he buys fruit from nearby local farms and brings it to market, but they always make sure to note it if the fruit isn’t sprayed. Assuming it might be a small farm or even just a neighbor with a few trees as there was a tiny supply. Fishkill is the only place in the area that I know of with unsprayed cherries: I plan to call them this week to see how the cherries are looking.

  6. Ellen

    Read in the Albany Times Union today that almost 100% of the NY cherry crop is ruined due to warm March weather and subsequent below freezing nights. Very sad!

  7. Loving your site, recipes and photos! I’m currently enamored of the cherry-rhubarb combo; I hadn’t tasted it until the other day. This crumble looks like the ultimate!

  8. This looks like an excellent alterna-crumble. I have friends on gluten free diets so I’ll probably try it soon. I like the maceration. Rhubarb responds to this really well. Also noticed the pepper. YES! Really brings out the flavor. The Galloping Gourmet taught me that when I was about 12 years old. Have you tried pepper on fresh strawberries? Also, I thought the liqueur was a great idea. I bet this would be fantastic with sour cherries as well.

    I have a post on my blog with a recipe for Rhubarb Simple Syrup. Please take a look if you get a chance.

    http://canningwithmehuliisa.com/2012/06/06/rhubarb-simple-syrup/

    Take Care
    Daniel

  9. Pingback: The Rhubarb Experiments: Crumble, Roasted Fruit, Syrup and Compote « thekalechronicles

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