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Stalks of freshly harvested rhubarb

The other day I posted a recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie that called for honey in place of sugar. I got an email from Jane Johnson, who lives in Forest City Township on the shores of East Grand Lake and the headwaters of the St. Croix River — “remote by choice,” she told me. I happened to mention in the recipe that honey wasn’t vegan and Jane suggested substituting maple syrup. She sent me some quotes from Tim Herd’s book Maple Sugar: From Sap to Sugar

 “It is easily substituted for honey,  molasses, and corn syrup in recipes on an equal basis and can be substituted for white sugar with minor adjustments.

“According to the good folks at Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service, you can substitute one and a half cups of pure maple syrup for each cup of granulated sugar and add 1/4 teaspoon of  baking soda for each cup of syrup used. When maple syrup is substituted for all the sugar in a recipe, reduce the amount of liquid used by one half …”

Jane mentioned that she had a great recipe for rhubarb walnut crisp that used maple syrup. “I have done that recipe and it is divine!!!!” she says. “And not really too sugary. There is 1/4 cup brown sugar in the topping with the nuts and flour — I use ground almond meal flour.”

I asked if she’d send me the recipe so I could share it and she was more than happy to. She doesn’t recall where she got the recipe but says she found it when she was searching for rhubarb recipes that didn’t include sugar. Her family loves rhubarb — finding a recipe that didn’t call for sugar was not an easy search!

Picture of Jane's rhubarb crisp

Jane Johnson’s Maple Walnut Rhubarb Crisp

6 cups of rhubarb-cut in one-inch pieces
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons softened butter (or substitute non-dairy spread for vegan option)
1 cup oats
2/3 cup ground almond flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 salt
1 cup toasted walnut pieces

Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Preheat oven to 350˚.

Place the rhubarb in the baking dish and sprinkle salt over. In a 1-cup measuring cup mix the syrup, water and vanilla. Pour over the rhubarb. Use a pastry cutter to combine the butter, oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. When the mixture is nearly uniform add the nuts.

Spread the mixture evenly over the rhubarb and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes-until topping is nicely browned and rhubarb is bubbly.

Cool for at least 30  minutes.  Keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

I use maple sugar instead of packed brown sugar in the topping too!

Thank you Jane. If anyone decides to make Jane’s rhubarb crisp let me know how it turns out and be sure to send a picture!