Alaska From Scratch: Rustic Irish dessert still delights

Maya EvoyAlaska from Scratch
Photo by Maya Evoy

It is St. Patrick's Day. My husband's side of the family has Irish roots, and each year I look forward to finding new ways to introduce my family to Irish recipes and cooking techniques. Crumbles are traditional Irish desserts made with sweetened, baked fruit topped with a buttery crumb layer. They often feature oats -- a quintessentially Irish ingredient. Rhubarb is also an Irish staple, and as it happens to be an ingredient Alaska has in abundance, this dessert is an ideal way to bring a little Emerald Isle flair to your Last Frontier table.

We have rhubarb chopped up in our freezer from last summer's crop, but I've recently seen it fresh in our local markets. This recipe will work well with either fresh or frozen rhubarb, so feel free to use whatever you have available. When you dig into this dessert, you get that crispy, golden crumble with a little saltiness, and that hot and gooey strawberry rhubarb filling -- sweet from the strawberries and tart from the rhubarb. Our whole family enjoys this warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

This crumble is beautifully rustic in the pan and on the plate. It highlights fresh ingredients with simple methods that home cooks have used for centuries. Some recipes are like timeless heirlooms; they have a way of spanning generations and traveling miles across the globe, uniting people over one memorable dish, one meaningful bite. I like to try to imagine my children's ancestors in Ireland enjoying a dessert very similar to this one from time to time.

Strawberry Rhubarb Irish Crumble

For the strawberry-rhubarb filling:

3 cups rhubarb, sliced about 1/3-inch thick

4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

½ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

For crumble topping:

¾ cup flour

¾ cup rolled oats (not quick oats)

2/3 cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon lemon zest

6 tablespoons cold butter, diced


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.  


In one bowl, mix together the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon until coated. Pour into the pan and spread evenly.

In another bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, and zest. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle crumble evenly over strawberry-rhubarb layer.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until bubbly and golden. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse.

Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at Do you have a family heirloom recipe with a compelling story? Maya would love to hear about it. Email and your submission may appear in a future column.


Maya Evoy
Alaska From Scratch