Sunday, May 28, 2006

In Celebration of Rhubarb!

A three-day weekend can only mean one thing--more time to bake! And what springtime delicacy is now offering itself up to me in the back yard? RHUBARB! What's that you say? You can't just walk into your back yard with some scissors and return with some delightfully tangy innards for a pie, crisp or crumble? More's the pity! Oh well...get thee to the grocery or farmer's market post haste and acquire some of this delicious, old-fashioned vegetable. And while you are there, grab some strawberries. You're going to need some of them to make the following crisp which my roommate proclaimed "heaven in a bowl" (especially if you top it with Breyer's Double-Churned Extra Creamy Vanilla)!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

3 cups rhubarb, cut into half-inch pieces
4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or orange juice)
zest of an orange (or 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier)
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon corn starch

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cubed
1/2 cup quick (or referably, rolled) oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep baking dish and set aside.

Gently toss the strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar, lemon or orange juice, orange zest or liqueur, tapioca, and corn starch. Pour mixture into prepared dish.

In a separate bowl, cut together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt with the butter until the pieces are pea-sized (I prefer to use a pastry cutter to do this). Then gently mix in the oats and nuts by hand. Carefully and evenly spread the crumbly topping over the fruit mixture, trying not to compact it.

Place the baking dish on a lined sheet pan (as it WILL bubble over!), and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

This crisp only used up half of the rhubarb that I cut today, so my next effort will be an easy and time-honored recipe from my dear friend, Kurt. And this one is truly fabulous! Not only is this great with rhubarb, when that season is over and the summer stone fruits are abundant, try it with peaches for a delicious peaches-and-cream pie. Wonderful stuff!

Rhubarb Cream Pie

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cream
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Beat eggs and add sugar, flour and salt. Add cream and rhubarb. Pour into pie shell and bake for about an hour, or until set. Cool and serve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's like someone put heaven in a bowl and covered it with cream.