Editor’s note: This reader recipe is an online addition to our November 2020 cover story, “Taste and see.”

Rhubarb crisp

By Carol Surine

The CHUM Rhubarb Festival is an annual event that happens the fourth Saturday of June. It was established 16 years ago as a fundraiser for CHUM, which serves the homeless and underprivileged people of Duluth, Minn. Although CHUM is an interfaith coalition of 40 faith communities, the festival is hosted by First Lutheran Church, Duluth, and features all things rhubarb.

The recipe that is the most special to me–and to all of my cohorts at French River Lutheran Church, Duluth–is the rhubarb crisp. Years ago, First Lutheran asked French River Lutheran to help by making 32 pans of rhubarb crisp. A dozen women got together, washed and chopped piles of rhubarb, and mixed and baked 32 pans.

The rhubarb crisp was extremely popular, and every year First requested more and more, to the point where French River’s two ovens could no longer handle the load. This is where I come in. I live about a mile from church, and I have three ovens in my kitchen, so we decided to bake at my house as well.

Two women drove back and forth between church and home, bringing in 12 pans of unbaked crisps about every hour, and returning with hot and bubbly deliciousness.

At the 2019 Rhubarb Festival, French River supplied 135 pans of rhubarb crisp. The camaraderie and laughter always bring men and women together, working toward a common goal. It takes many hands to prepare the rhubarb crisp, but it is prepared with love and offered willingly to help others.

Ingredients, filling
Scant 4 cups rhubarb, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour

Ingredients, topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash salt
2 ounces soft butter
1/4 cup old-fashion oats


  1. Coat an 8-by-8-inch pan liberally with butter of nonstick baking spray.
  2. Mix the filling ingredients and place in the prepared pan.
  3. Mix flour and spices; add butter and mix. Add oats and mix well; the mixture will be crumbly.
  4. Spread over rhubarb and press gently.
  5. Bake 35-45 minutes until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbly.

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