Gluten-free crunch is perfect spring dessert

It is the lovely month of May in Carson City - well, this year it's lovely, anyway - and the rhubarb in the yard is ready to be picked. Use the rhubarb in this very spring-y gluten-free recipe for your enjoyment.

May also is Celiac Disease Awareness month. It is projected that 1 in 135 persons have celiac disease, and six times that many have gluten sensitivity, so awareness of gluten-free diets and foods is growing. However, celiac disease is still difficult to diagnose because there can be so many varied symptoms, or none at all.

I became aware of celiac disease when my son failed to thrive as a teenager. It was a startling diagnosis, but he eliminated gluten from his diet and is now a 6-foot-4 strapping young man.

My daughter and I have also eliminated gluten from our diets with good results. If you or someone you know has unexplained symptoms, it could be worth exploring the possibility of celiac disease with your doctor.

I hope you enjoy this dessert. It's something to chew on while you are digesting the information on celiac disease.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crunch

Be sure the oats are gluten-free! Bob's Red Mill has a gluten-free product.

3 cups fresh, chopped rhubarb

4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1 cup sugar or 3⁄4 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup gluten-free baking flour

1⁄2 teaspoon xanthan gum

3⁄4 cup gluten-free oats

3⁄4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1⁄2 cup (1 stick) melted butter or canola-based margarine

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash the rhubarb stalks, cut off the ends 1-inch from either end, and cut the remaining stalk into 1⁄2-inch chunks. Place the rhubarb and washed, sliced strawberries in a greased 11x7x2 baking dish.

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, tapioca flour and water. Cook, stirring until the mixture is thick and clear. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture over the fruit.

Combine the flour mix and xanthan gum, stirring with a fork. Add the oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter, toss, and top the fruit with the mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Fruit crunch is great topped with ice cream when it's warm.

Bon appetit, Miley Cyrus!

The next meeting of the Carson City Gluten-free Discussion Group is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 14. You can email me at for more information.

• Susan Hart has been cooking gluten-free for 15 years. She can be reached at


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