Rhubarb with Berries and Candied Ginger

This simple dessert of rhubarb with berries and candied ginger showcases spring’s stunning fruits in the best way possible.

A bunch of rhubarb stalks tied together with twine on a black platter for use in rhubarb with berries and candied ginger

This fruit dessert of rhubarb and berries with candied ginger is a cinch to make. The rhubarb lends tartness, the berries sweetness, and the ginger some sweet heat. Pillows of soft whipped cream mixed with crème frâiche bring it all together.–Deborah Madison


Don’t forget to trim not just the ends but any tough strings from the rhubarb. Just take our word for it.

Rhubarb with Berries and Candied Ginger

A bunch of rhubarb stalks tied together with twine on a black platter for use in rhubarb with berries and candied ginger
This fruit dessert of rhubarb and berries with candied ginger is a cinch to make. The rhubarb lends tartness, the berries sweetness, and the ginger some sweet heat. Pillows of soft whipped cream mixed with crème frâiche bring it all together.
Deborah Madison

Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr
4 servings
163 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed, or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon minute tapioca
  • Juice and long strands of zest of 1 small orange
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • A handful to a few pints strawberries, mulberries, or blackberries
  • Cream and crème fraîche
  • 4 slices candied ginger cut into thin strips, for garnish


  • Wash the rhubarb, trim off the ends of the stalks, then slice them crosswise into 1/2-inch chunks. If the stalks are very thick, halve them lengthwise first. Toss with the sugar, tapioca, orange juice, zest, and cloves.
  • Arrange the mixture in an 8-by-10-inch gratin dish and let stand while you preheat the oven to 400°F (220°C). Cover the dish with foil and bake until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife, 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, if you’re using strawberries, rinse them quickly, then slice thickly. Plunge mulberries briefly into water and remove any stems. When the rhubarb is done, remove it from the oven, scatter the berries over the top, and let stand with a piece of foil placed loosely over the top. The heat of the rhubarb will open the flavor of the berries, cooking them slightly. Serve the dessert chilled or at room temperature, garnished with cream and crème fraîche whipped together until billowy, and the candied ginger.
Print RecipeBuy the Local Flavors cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 163kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 40g (13%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 16mg (1%)Potassium: 527mg (15%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 33g (37%)Vitamin A: 174IU (3%)Vitamin C: 14mg (17%)Calcium: 170mg (17%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m mystified how this recipe could sit neglected and not have a single comment on it for nearly four years! When I saw it, I had to try it out, and the results were terrific. We initially forgot the garnish of sliced ginger when we set out the serving dish and it was yummy as is, but adding the ginger allowed it to spring to life. And with a topping of rich, fresh dairy, it all comes together in taste and texture: tart, sweet, rich and then the zing! of the ginger–perfect! Of the suggested berries, I’d like to try the mulberries, simply because it’s so rare to see a use for them. They’re usually the roadkill of fruits, falling ripe off trees and wasted on the ground. But I think strawberries will always be the best bet, not only for the obvious flavor combination, which could perhaps be matched by either the mulberries or the blackberries, but also for the color. The baked rhubarb isn’t a very pretty color, and the red of the strawberries plus the white of the whipped dairy add the necessary visual cues. Another plus for this recipe is that it’s all fruit–no piecrust, no crumb or biscuit topping, just the seasonal fruit speaking beautifully for itself. We served it at room temperature and found it rich enough to serve more than four.

Spectacular success. This recipe deserves an “11”. Not only is it dead easy, this dish showcases one of my very favourite features of summer – rhubarb season! This is simplicity but with depth of flavour and it all plays together so well, I can see this replacing my favourite crumbles and it requires so little effort you can take advantage of any rhubarb that comes your way. My store-bought rhubarb was on the thick side, so I did slice the stalks lengthwise before chunking it. For two people I thought I should try a half recipe, and it nicely nestled into a 6½” x 8½” baking dish. At 35 minutes, the rhubarb was completely tender but still holding shape, and I scattered a basket worth of strawberries over the top and tented the dish with foil to sit while we had dinner.

We served it at room temperature with a bit of cream (4 T heavy cream + 2 T sour cream which had to stand in for crème frâiche, whisked up using a tiny immersion milk frother). This had just the right balance with the sweetness of the rhubarb, the orange zest had candied in the cooking, and the slivers of candied ginger on top made it complete. The clove is a subtle note that works well. I had thought (hoped) there might be a little leftover for breakfast, but it was too scrummy and we ate all of it! The full recipe would easily serve 4-6.

I loved the cloves in this recipe for rhubarb with candied ginger. The fruit mixture smelled amazing as soon as the spice was added. I did make two substitutions: a blood orange for a regular orange and a teaspoon of cornstarch for the tapioca. My candied ginger was dry, so when the fruit came out of the oven, I sprinkled on the ginger along with the strawberries and blackberries. The hot fruit softened it just enough. I prepared the rhubarb before dinner and served it at room temperature. For the cream, I whipped equal parts of cream and creme fraiche. When I make it again, I’ll add more creme fraiche so the topping is tangier. Easy, light, and lovely summer dessert!

The combination of rhubarb and berries is a classic, and this recipe modernizes it with candied ginger and creme fraiche. My husband is not a fan of sweet desserts, and thought that this was the perfect ending to a meal. It’s tart, fresh, and nutty from the creme. I, however, was craving another element…a crunchy streusel, buttery biscuit, cold ice cream, or sweetened whipped cream. I don’t know if this is a complete dish for me, or a component of a stunning dessert. I can see myself making it again and using it as a dessert topping, or over a warm bowl of oatmeal with cream.

Originally published July 19, 2008


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  1. 5 stars
    Love Deborah Madison’s recipes and I love tapioca, too. You either fall into one of two camps–you love tapioca or you loathe it. I like to use it as a thickener for fruit-based pie fillings, especially tart cherry. And my favorite go-to “cheer up” food is tapioca pudding made with fluffy egg white and lots of vanilla.

    1. Judith, I agree completely with your love-it-or-loathe-it assessment. On the savory side of things, have you ever tried rice noodles made not just with rice flour but with some tapioca starch? They can be tricky to track down, although I can usually find them in Chinatown. The tapioca lends a really compelling chewiness to the noodles that I just adore, whether in a soup such as pho, a stir-fry of some sort, even just plain cooked noodles beneath some scallions and cucumbers and cilantro and grilled chicken.

      1. I’ve used tapioca flour in gluten-free breads and baked goods, but would love to try it in a Chinese noodle. Thanks for the tip–love the thought of using them in your stir-fry suggestion. Perfect for hot weather.

        1. If I happen upon a recipe for fresh noodles that calls for tapioca flour, I’ll be certain to send it your way, Judith. Let me know what you think…and thank you for your sweet reminder, I’ll be making some tapioca pudding one night soon.

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