Liz’s Fresh Rhubarb Crisp

The custard layer and tart rhubarb makes every bite perfect.

When I was a little girl, I was already pretty interested in cooking and food more than most anyone I knew – including adults. (Yes, I love to eat) I found the flavors, preparation and the rainbow of color beautiful. It was amazing and full of endless creative opportunity.

My summers were filled with helping my parents in the garden. Picking vegetables, pulling weeds, staying up late while they canned their harvest.

There were only a few young families on our block and no children my age lived nearby. Instead, one of my favorite afternoon activities was to visit all of the retired ‘neighbor ladies’. Most of them were also into gardening, spending their days in the sun, cooking and visiting with each other from yard to yard.

They were so nice to me. I would walk from backyard to backyard (we had no fences), knocking on the back door and they would invite me onto their screened-in-porch or backyard to visit, look at their flowers, or sample what they were making for dinner. I loved sampling whatever my adopted great aunts were making.

My favorite dessert was (and still is in my top five) Orrin’s Rhubarb Torte.

Mrs. Meyers had a lovely screened-in-porch with classic 70’s blue and green patterns. Recently, I watched Mad Men and the last two seasons transported me right to her metal porch swing, upholstered with bright green paisleys. She also had a yellow canary that would sit in its cage with us and sometimes chirp here and there to add to our conversation.

Fresh rhubarb stalks from a farmer’s market in Munich, Germany

Today, I am sharing my own version of this torte or crisp. The custard layer is essential to this dessert, perfectly combining the tart, creamy, sweet, crunchy and cinnamon flavors in every perfect bite.

Fresh from the oven. This Rhubarb torte brings back wonderful memories.


  • 4 Cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1 Cup sugar (or more to taste if desired)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Pinch salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup sour cream
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup milk
  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F

  2. Wash, trim and chop rhubarb and lay in an 8×8 baking dish.

  3. Mix sugar, salt, flour and cinnamon together and stir in rhubarb until well coated.

  4. In separate bowl, blend sour cream, milk, eggs. Pour over rhubarb.

  5. In a separate bowl, make the topping, mixing oats, brown sugar and butter until mixture clumps together. Distribute evenly over rhubarb and custard. 

  6. Bake until set, about 30-40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

With rhubarb in season now. It’s easy to find beautiful rhubarb like in the picture above at the green markets among the seasonal produce.