Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that had, until recently, eluded me. I’d see it on Tastespotting in galettes, pies and crumbles, yet when I passed it in the grocery store and saw its red celery-like stalks resting ignored near the turnip and lettuce section, I didn’t feel inspired enough to grab some and work with it.
Then, one day, I saw this recipe, and I knew it was time. I had been looking for a dessert that used only rhubarb instead of, say, strawberry and rhubarb together, because I wanted to really taste it in its true dessert form without other flavors mixing in. I was intimidated at first and wondered how I’d get those red shoots into a dessert but it turns out that the rhubarb was surprisingly easy to use and really stood up for itself throughout the baking process.
If you decide to taste raw rhubarb, the flavor will make your eyes wince and lips purse from its bitterness. Rhubarb isn’t inherently sweet and it doesn’t look particularly appetizing, either. Looking past these flaws, the wonderful thing about rhubarb is that once you add a few simple ingredients to it (sugar, for example), and heat it through, the bitterness is lost and what you’re left with is pieces of rhubarb which fall apart with each bite and a flavor that mixes sweetness and sourness and that has a complexity that most desserts don’t have. In other words, it’s very rich and very good, and when it’s covered in a caramel like glaze and topped with butter, oats and brown sugar and then put in the oven for 45 minutes, the result is amazing.
And, hey! This recipe is just in time for the Fourth of July, in case you needed any dessert inspiration! I think it would be great with some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Speaking of, what will your Independence Day look like? I’ll be on Long Island where my parents are having their annual 4th of July barbecue. Whether you’re at a barbecue, too, or kicking it on a blanket at the Charles River while eating jello shots out of Tupperware (memories..), I hope your Independence Day is warm, relaxing and full of food, family, and all that good stuff!
Yield: 9-inch round crisp
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
This crisp will stay well at room temperature covered in an air tight container for about 3 days. You can store it in the refrigerator, too, if you’d like.
For the filling:
4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the crisp topping:
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place rhubarb in an 8x8 baking dish or divide between 6 ramekins.
3. In a small saucepan, add the sugar, cornstarch and water and mix them together. Put the saucepan over medium high heat and bring it to a boil until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is like a thick caramel. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour this mixture over the rhubarb.
4. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt and walnuts. Stir in the melted butter until everything is combined. Drop this mixture over the rhubarb and make sure it’s evenly distributed throughout the top of the baking dish.
5. Bake the crisp in the oven for 45 minutes or until the rhubarb is cooked through and the filling is bubbling.
6 Serve warm with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
From Kitchen Simplicity