Monday, April 11, 2011

Rhubarb Crisp

Goes well with vanilla bean gelato.
Ahh, rhubarb. What a funny little vegetable? Fruit? According to wikipedia, rhubarb is usually considered a vegetable, but a New York court decided in 1947 that rhubarb would be considered a fruit for the purpose of regulations and taxes. Who knew that a court could decide how to classify a plant?

The trouble I have with rhubarb is trying to describe its flavor. It is tart and, when cooked, sweet. But that really does not explain what it tastes like. Lemons can be tart and sweet, yet taste nothing like rhubarb. Maybe it tastes pink? Keep in mind that I think bleu cheese tastes like a musty cellar in an old French maison...

Beautiful and red!
Anyway, this weekend I had my sister and her husband, and my brother, his wife, and their son over for dinner. I knew I was going to make quinoa burgers for the main course, but was not sure about dessert until I went to the farmer's market on Saturday morning. When I saw some beautiful rhubarb, I knew I had to make something with it. Then, when I came home from the market, I rummaged through my cookbooks looking for rhubarb recipes. The winner was a rhubarb crisp in my Grand Central Baking book.

This recipe was incredibly easy to pull off. You just chop up the rhubarb, throw it into the bottom of the pie dish, then top it with a simple streusel. Et, voila! Dessert! I paired it with a vanilla gelato that I found on sale at the store. The crisp was a hit, even with my non-rhubarb eating siblings. I must say, the warm crisp with vanilla gelato was simply delicious!

Rhubarb Crisp from The Grand Central Baking Book

7 oz light brown sugar
5.25 oz granulated sugar
2.75 oz rolled oats
2.5 oz all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter
2 lbs rhubarb stalks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch deep dish pie pan.

Measure the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oats, flour, and salt into a bowl with high sides and stir to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes (1/4 to 1/2 inch) and toss with the cry ingredients. Rub the butter between your thumbs and fingertips, blending everything together until the mixture is mealy, with some big chunks of butter remaining. Chill the streusel in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before using.

Cut the rhubarb diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Arrange the pieces in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.

Spread the streusel evenly over the top of the rhubarb. Bake for about 1 hour, until the top is dark brown and crispy and the rhubarb is soft and bubbly. Serve warm from the oven.

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