Make Ahead

Rhubarb Cherry Hibiscus Crumble

June  8, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Cook time 22 minutes
  • Makes 1, 8x8-inch square crumble
Author Notes

I love a good crumble (or crisp, if you like)- warm fruit, gooey yet still identifiable, a perfectly sweet topping with a nice bit of crunch, some ice cream or whipped cream to serve as a temperature foil.
This past weekend at our local farmers market, I went hog-wild while buying rhubarb. Pounds and pounds came home with me, and despite a serious amount of jam-making, I found what seemed like an undiminished pile in my fridge last night. I remembered reading about a rhubarb-hibiscus compote Kim Boyce makes and thought a crumble working off of that foundation would be marvelous. Bing cherries and almonds sounded great as additions too, and they were! —em-i-lis

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Em-i-lis is a mom, cook, and writer living in Washington, DC.
WHAT: A sweet-tart, nutty crumble -- with hibiscus for je ne sais quoi.
HOW: Toss your fruit and hibiscus with some sugar, let it roast, then top with your whole wheat flour-oat-almond topping and bake until runny and toasty.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is the perfect dessert to bake in the fleeting moments that rhubarb and cherries' seasons overlap; rhubarb's tartness tames the cherries' sweetness, and the hibiscus keeps you digging your spoon in until the whole thing is magically gone. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the fruit filling:
  • 6 cups chopped rhubarb (~3/4? cubes), divided
  • 20 Bing cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hibiscus tea leaves (I use The Republic of Tea Natural Hibiscus loose leaf herbal; you can also use 8 hibiscus flowers, as does Kim Boyce)
  • For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick- or instant)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, set out on the counter when you start making this dessert- you want it to be cool but pliable
  1. For the fruit filling:
  2. Preheat the oven to 400, and get out an 8? square glass baking dish. In a medium, non-reactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-low heat, put 4 cups of the chopped rhubarb, the cherries, 1 packed cup of brown sugar and the hibiscus. Stir to combine everything, cover, and cook until the rhubarb releases its liquid and starts to break down, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Uncover the pot, add the remaining 2 c of chopped rhubarb, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Set aside.
  1. For the topping:
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat and all-purpose flours, the oats,brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon and salt. With your fingers or a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until you have a crumbly mixture in which the butter is as uniformly distributed as possible.
  3. Pour the fruit filling into your baking dish and then pour the crumble topping evenly over the top. Place the dish into the oven and bake for 22 minutes. (I turned the heat up to 425 after 20 minutes to give it an extra boost of heat at the end). Some of the crumble topping will sink into the fruit compote. Yum!
  4. Serve with vanilla ice cream or with a lightly sweetened whipped cream with a little almond extract blended in (I used about 1/4 tsp of almond extract in mine).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Debbie Jean 1
    Debbie Jean 1
  • Catherine Sopinka Williams
    Catherine Sopinka Williams
  • iKitty
  • boulangere
  • EmilyC

25 Reviews

Debbie J. July 1, 2018
Can another flour such as almond or coconut flour be used in place of wheat which is unhealthy?
em-i-lis July 2, 2018
I might try spelt!
Catherine S. July 3, 2017
Can i use hibiscus syrup instead of the tea leaves?
em-i-lis July 3, 2017
Hmm...I don't see why not. Does it have a strong flavor? You might stick with 1.5 tablespoons if so!
Anna May 21, 2016
If I were to substitute the cherries for strawberries how many strawberries would I use? or do you have a Cup measurement for it?
theresa C. July 5, 2015
This looks and sounds fantastic but I noticed there is no "thickener" such as corn starch called for. Will the filling be too runny without it I wonder??
em-i-lis July 5, 2015
I've never had that problem!! Enjoy!
Leslee F. June 25, 2014
Has anyone used frozen cherries?
em-i-lis June 27, 2014
I never have but imagine they'd work fine! If you thaw them first, drain the excess liquid.
Julie O. August 12, 2013
Will this still taste good without hibiscus tea leaves? I have all the ingredients except the tea, and I live in a rural area where that ingredient would be hard to find.
em-i-lis August 12, 2013
Yes, definitely!! The tea adds a bit of mystery and tang but it isn't critical so if you have the rest, go for it!! I hope you enjoy it- let me know. :)
utchimama July 28, 2013
This recipe looks amazing and I really want to try to make this! However, I live in Thailand and there is no rhubarb here (I sad:() Is there anything else that I could use to substitute for rhubarb??? Thank you very much! can't wait to try to make this!!
em-i-lis July 28, 2013
hi utchimama, thank you so much!! although rhubarb is a fairly unique ingredient, i think you might substitute a tart apple in its place. not-too-ripe peaches or nectarines might work too. what do others think?
thanks again, let me know what you try!! :)
BoulderGalinTokyo July 6, 2019
utchimama- the distinctive thing about rhubarb is how tart it is, pretty sour. Frozen cranberries might work.
When I was in Thailand (Sept) we tried a delicious fruit. Looking at the Google pictures might it have been a Rose Apple (Baan Ajar) or a Monkey Apple? They might work?
gttebykate July 11, 2013
This recipe sounds amazing and I plan to make it this weekend. Quick question about the tea - is it 2-3 tablespoons of brewed tea or tea leaves? Thanks!
em-i-lis July 11, 2013
hi gttebykate! thanks so much for your note. i do hope you like the crumble. it's just the tea leaves!
gttebykate July 11, 2013
Wonderful, thank you!
em-i-lis July 11, 2013
you bet!
iKitty July 10, 2013
This combination sounds heavenly! Hibiscus and Rhubarb... plus cherry! Now You'll get me looking for some cherries so I can prepare it. Looks amazing!
em-i-lis July 11, 2013
Thank you, Kitty!! I hope you find the cherries and enjoy! :)
boulangere July 8, 2013
I remember this fondly; the hibiscus tea sounded so interesting. Just this morning I was casting about for a dessert for later this week. Thank you, Em!
em-i-lis July 8, 2013
Thank you so much, Cynthia!!
EmilyC June 10, 2012
I saved it...I think the addition of cherry and almond with rhubarb is inspired. I've only had rhubarb with stawberries and raspberries, but the cherries sound lovely! Hope you enjoy the collards, by the way!
EmilyC June 10, 2012
This looks and sounds so delicious!
em-i-lis June 10, 2012
Thank you so much, EmilyC! If you make it, I hope you enjoy!
I'm making your collards and corn dish tonight! :)