saudade and a tart fruit crumble

I’ve just stumbled on this word – saudade – pronounced “sau-da-dee.”

It’s Portuguese and it’s one of those words that we don’t have an equivalent single word for in the English language. But we really should. Because when you hear the definition – you just know we need to have our own word for this….


Saudade is “the love that remains.” The beautiful longing for something or someone loved and then lost or left behind.  Even the way it sounds is soothing and beautiful.  Poetic.

My life is full of saudade. A trail of places I have lived and loved but left behind – and people I’ve loved and lost. And then I remember the love that remains. The saudade. Bittersweet.

I like things that are bittersweet. Like the beautiful bittersweet vine.

I love bittersweet stories and films. Never mind the happy story-lines, I like the ones that wrench my heart and make me know I’m alive and thinking and feeling.

And I like bittersweet food too – tart, full flavours  like lemon, rhubarb, cranberry, and bitter orange marmalade.  This tart crumble is something I make so often that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already posted it. It’s probably the dessert I make more often than any other. It’s easy to whip up, healthy, and intensely flavourful. It’s perfect served hot, warm, or cold. Serve it with whipped cream for dessert or with plain yogurt for breakfast. The recipe comes from A Taste of Wintergreen. Mix up the fruit to use whatever you have on hand. Don’t add sugar to the fruit unless you absolutely have to. Keep it tart.

Tart Fruit Crumble

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or mixed berries
  • 2 medium or large cooking apples, peeled and chopped
  • OPTIONAL 1/4 cup dark brown or demerara sugar (or whatever sugar you like really)


  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (I use organic, old-fashioned large flake rolled oats)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (room temperature)

Butter a 9 x 13 inch glass lasagna pan. Spread the fruit in the bottom. Add 1/4 cup sugar if you must and toss it about to mix.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and butter. I use a hand-mixer for this. If I had a big enough food processor, I’d use that. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.

Bake at 350 deg F for about 35-40 minutes or until browned and the fruit is cooked.

Let stand for ten minutes before serving.



19 thoughts on “saudade and a tart fruit crumble

  1. good idea to add the rhubarb and dried cranberries with the berries and apple….I made several mixed berry versions this winter..popped it in alongside whatever was being roasted for supper…used some maple syrup rather than brown sugar and ground up some mixed nuts in the topping…I also like an apple and raspberry crumble…
    this was the kind of thing, along with baked apples or a homemade frozen pie that we had typically for supper when the chores were done…funny how I can picture the well used old pans we used for these oven treats,, I’m glad I kept a few of the old farmhouse relics but those old pans are stored in memory now…

    1. Actually the old pans are becoming collectors items fast. Hang onto the ones you have. All those old-fashioned desserts – crumble, fruit pies, baked apples, butter tarts – they’re the best!

  2. Love the word and now I’m going to be saying it all day. It is a wonderful word and one I have never heard before. The crumble is fantastic and it’s great that you don’t add sugar, the taste of the fruit shines in it’s tart glory!

    1. Isn’t it a great word! I’m adopting it into my own vocabulary and writing. Thanks for commenting here Suzanne – I’m so remiss with my blog of late – not spending enough time in my reader but I’m going to head over and see what you’re up to lately! 😉

  3. Lindy… As always, beautiful post. You have such a deep and beautiful soul..I like to think that my soul, and those who I have come to love..are really great friends somewhere in the heavens… And we play a game in which we dive down to earth to try to find each other.. To see how long it takes to find each other. And although on earth we are strangers, our souls recognize each other immediately… Silly, I know.. But how else can we explain the immediate friendship between people that we have just met? I believe you are one of those friends.. ❤
    This crumble is wonderful!! I don't think I've ever heard of cranberry and rhubarb together.. But it's brilliant!! I'm going shopping with my daughters today.. And I hope to try to find some rhubarb, because, my soul friend, I need to make this crumble!! You rock it out in the kitchen.. You really do!! ❤

  4. What a beautiful post. I think I could have used that word in my Passover post to describe that intense longing. I like bittersweet too. It’s more complicated and beautiful than just sweet. Tart is lovely. I’m picking up some rhubarb today to capture the taste. There are lots of sensations that we don’t have words for in english. It’s kind of cool when you realize other cultures do.

    1. Amanda – you are a love!
      Rhubarb is not up here yet and I’ve moved house this winter – and away from my rhubarb patch but it will start to show up on the market soon and I cannot wait. I think you must be a couple of weeks ahead of us in terms of spring.
      Thank you, as always, for commenting here. xo

  5. A beautiful word Lindy and a beautiful tart too. I think I prefer oats in the crumble. I missed the oats on the last crumble I made, I won’t do that again! Hope you are settling into your new place and your neighbor has been a little more pleasant. 🙂

  6. Saudade..a lovely word in a lovely post..I have memories of tastes that were too brief and I’m left with a “beautiful longing’ for more…The taste of a slice of delicious bread before dinner in Nashville…the taste of spring rain as I walked with my high school sweetheart..the taste of seeing my 4 year old granddaughter run across the field in the wind…the taste of a conversation with a lovely lady by a hotel pool..the taste of grandmother’s chocolate popcorn balls. They were just a taste, now left behind.. I have a feeling this tart fruit crumble will be another taste that I will forget to forget.

  7. Oh Ned – how beautiful. Such a lot of sweet but sometimes fleeting moments in our lives. It’s wonderful to pay them tribute isn’t it? Helps to keep those tastes with us forever. Though I really do think you should be careful with the lovely ladies by hotel swimming pools….

  8. I LOVE crumble! Especially when it’s cold. Nothing better than it the next day after the fruit has become super tart. I’ll have to try making yours!

  9. Nice post! I have an affinity for the word “saudade,” too. Long before I knew what it meant, “bittersweet” was my favorite word in the English language (like probably since I was old enough to read…). And as a super-nostalgic person, I latched onto the word “saudade” when I first learned it (for a brief high school homestay in Brazil). Then after college when I lived in Japan, the most wonderful, dark, eclectic wine bar in the city where I lived (Okayama) was/is called Saudade! This, of course, made me love it even more. 🙂

    1. Such a beautiful comment, thank you. I have also always loved the word bittersweet which seems to be an apt term in my life. Lovely that you knew a bar called Saudade. If I get back to Japan I’ll make a point of seeing if it is still in existence.

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