Sugar-Free Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

I’ve held off on baking for a few weeks now and couldn’t resist the urge last night. Although a luscious cake sounded good, I knew something using fruit would be a better choice so I made a ‘crisp’ with rhubarb, cherries, and apples.

I love the sharp, tangy flavor of rhubarb and received several stalks in my last two friday produce shipments. The key to using rhubarb is to pair it with something sweet, like strawberries. I didn’t have any berries on hand but did have a few apples and figured they would work well. As I prepared the fruit, I remembered a bag of sweet cherries in the freezer and added a few of them too!

There may be some debate about how healthy this dessert is … it does use Splenda, which you are either for or against. I like using it here and there to cut out lots of sugary calories and this was my first time using the Splenda brown sugar.

In general, I think Splenda can create an overly sweet flavor, but the overly tart rhubarb matches it well and I think it works in this situation.

Figure-Friendly Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 3/4″ pieces
2 apples, cored and sliced (do not peel)
1 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen)
1 tablespoon white flour
1 cup splenda
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white flour
1 cup regular rolled oats (not instant)
7 tablespoons light butter spread (I used light Smart Balance)
1/2 cup splenda brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Place fruit in a mixing bowl and combine with 1 tablespoon flour and 1 cup splenda. Pour mixture into a baking dish.

Prepare the topping by combing the wheat flour, cornmeal, and white flour with the rolled oats, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I used my fingers to mush it all together until it formed a somewhat crumbly dough. Use your fingers to pinch of bits of the dough and drop onto the top of the fruit.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until fruit is tender and bubbling up through the topping.

The crisp turned out well with a couple interesting things to note. The topping isn’t as rich or crumbly as it would be with full-strength butter. However, it has a pleasing cookie-like texture and tastes great. I’ve also been playing with a blend of flours (wheat, white, corn) and liked it in this topping. The goal was to reduce the white flour content and boost the topping with higher-fiber whole grains. The cornmeal adds an extra bit of crunch which I liked. I’ve also used this flour combination when making corn bread and it turns out wonderful!

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  1. Way to go on incorporating whole grains into a dessert. I think that once you start using whole grains you really get used to the taste and then start to really like it and wonder why you didn’t do it before. I have to say though that I’m in the ‘anti-splenda’ camp- I don’t like things very sweet and I prefer to use honey or unrefined sugar as a sweetener but I definitely would try to make your crisp substituting out the splenda.

  2. I’m also not a fan of sugar replacements or Splenda. Most of them affect me one way or another. I also prefer Honey or even Agave.

    It’s a bumpy road of experimentation I am right there with you! I’ve had some spectacular failures. I keep back up soups around in case it all turns out inedible.

    Good Luck…keep trying! –elizaduckie

  3. Not a big fan of Splenda myself. If I have to substitute sugar I’d probably go for something that’s naturally derived from it. However, I still wouldn’t say no to your lovely crumble. The flavours sound really dazzling. Love all the reds in this dish Allen…keep em coming!

  4. Hey this looks great, and it is the inspiration I needed to use up the fresh bounty of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries I bought two days ago. Initially I was going to make a bread pudding or something similar, but could not decide. A CRISP it is! NOW, even though I use Splenda in my coffee, I don’t cook or bake with it. I make this exception since I am guilty of drinking way to much Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi with lime. I’ll let you know how it comes out. Again, thanks for helping me make my mind up. I look forward to your posts………….Mark

  5. The crisp looks good! And I look forward to reading about your new healthier creations.
    I use an assortment of sweeteners including the Splenda brown sugar from time to time (mostly in small quantities in oatmeal for breakfast). It is very sweet, but it works if scaled back a bit. (And, I try not to use too much.)

  6. That looks good! I saw a little bit of rhubarb at the farmers market on the weekend. Next week there should be a lot of it and I will be getting some!

  7. Splenda is sold here and some bakers have jumped on the very small bandwagon (toy wagon?) but I doubt I will ever use it unless someone requests it and pays me.. I’d need the special cookbook and all that :/ I could use it with less apprehension in uncooked applications, like creams and such. I tried it in an iced tea once (in the States) and I ended up adding Sweet and Low too because it was so blah. The suggestions put forward by the others are great.

    I’ve only seen rubharb once (a market 6 hours away from here), but haven’t tried it. Your crisp sure looks good though. Some more desserts that are more on the fruity side are apple brown betty, summer pudding (queen of puddings?), eve’s pudding– English desserts. Don’t laugh.

    You might like to try farro pasta– it is mostly protein. :)

  8. Allen, I have never used Splenda and would love to have some of this beautiful crisp!

  9. Yum, I just got some Rhubarb in my Farm Box too & am thinking a crisp is in order. Keep trying with the recipes. Its good to even see other peoples’ mistakes, maybe some of us can help! It also makes me feel like I’m not the only one who makes mistake recipes.

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