Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rhubarb Crisp


It's rhubarb season!

Actually, rhubarb season started in April so I'm a little behind in this announcement, but nonetheless it is in season.

Over the years, this is one ingredient I've come to really enjoy. I usually cook it down into some kind of sauce. Sometimes I keep the sauce more on the savory side to use on things like pork or I go a bit more sweet to enjoy over something like vanilla ice cream.

A few good things to know if you're not familiar with rhubarb: When buying rhubarb choose crisp stalks and, generally speaking, the deeper the red, the more flavorful the stalks. Medium-size stalks are usually more tender than large ones, which can be stringy. One pound of rhubarb is typically 3-5 stalks. Stand the stalks in cold water for an hour or so to refresh them before cooking. Freshly harvested stalks can be kept in the refrigerator, unwashed and wrapped tightly in plastic, for two to four weeks.

Lately, I haven't had much time to whip up anything special in the kitchen. (Ah, the woes of a thriving small business. And, no, I'm not really complaining).  So, with a bit of extra time on my hands this past weekend I decided to bake a special indulgent treat. The result was Rhubarb Crisp.


Rhubarb Crisp
Serves 2-4

Ingredients

Crisp
  • 3 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange oil
Topping
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons chilled butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 whole wheat pastry flour
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together all the crisp ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Equally divide the rhubarb mixture into two 16 oz. baking dishes.
  4. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of butter, the walnuts and flour. Using a fork or pastry blender, mix together until topping appears crumbly.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the two baking dishes.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Until the rhubarb pieces are tender and the top is nicely browned and bubbling.
  7. Serve hot or at room temperature. 
Alternatives
  • You certainly don't have to split this recipe into multiple baking dishes. I just thought it would be kind of fun to make giant individual portions. You can certainly use one baking dish.
  • I used orange oil because I didn't have any oranges on hand. Feel free to zest a fresh orange instead. Also, adjust the citrus flavor to your taste.
  • I kept this crisp on the tart side, which to me, really lets the rhubarb shine. If you have more of a sweet tooth you can always add more honey or sugar.
  • Oh, and one more thing, as per my husband's request: Homemade whipped cream or ice cream are a nice added touch!
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