June 01, 2011

Rhubarb and Blackberry Brown Sugar Crisp

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This springtime dessert is like taking a bite out of my past and brings me right back to the early 1980's in the summertime when bicycles ran my mother's street and the sun never quit.

Growing up I lived in a neighborhood that would have been a snapshot out of Pleasantville. Every neighbor was friendly and welcoming. Us kids ran up and down our dead-end street going to little Lily’s house for a HUGE piece of double bubble gum, then to Shane’s because he was the first neighbor to have a trampoline and everyone was allowed on and then we would run over behind my house to the “bungalow” (aka a very large mound of dirt) to claim our mountain top. Back in those days it seems the sun was always shining and we were always playing.

There are few memories that are still very clear to me as I have grown up other than the image of everyone out on a spring afternoon planting, gardening and riding our bikes but one specific memory I always remember, especially around this time of year, is our older neighbor Pat’s homemade rhubarb jam. Now as I have mentioned in the past, my family isn’t exactly known for our homemade dishes so in my young mind, Pat was a miracle worker. She planted and grew her own rhubarb and in the springtime she would pick it, do something to it and a couple of days later a beautifully packaged mason jar was filled with this amazing rhubarb jam for our family to have. It was like magic.

When Pat passed away I was still pretty young but I don’t believe I have had rhubarb since. Growing into my later 20’s it was time for that to change. Again, being so young, I didn’t remember what rhubarb really looked like because to me it was always jam but when I saw them in the grocery store I thought to myself, what am I going to do with these stalks??? Crisps are simple yet have such amazing flavors so I thought that was a safe bet for my first recipe. Cooking with rhubarb was a whole new experience for me all leading up to the final taste of my crisp as I couldn’t picture in my head how this celery-looking stalk was going to turn out to be this sweet delicious dessert, but it did. In fact, I served this dish to my family and only got a spoonful taste (ok it was a large spoonful) before it was gone so I plan on going to the store to whip up another mini batch to have all to Paul and I. 

Thinking about this dessert puts me on a front porch right before sunset in the springtime when the weather is just warm enough to melt my ice cream into my crisp… all is bliss.

Rhubarb and Blackberry Brown Sugar Crisp

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

1 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

For the topping: 
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the filling: 
7 cups 1/3-inch-thick sliced rhubarb (about 2 lb.)
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon, using a rasp-style grater)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8-inch Pyrex baking dish with the softened butter.

Make the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt and pulse several times to combine in a processor or with a heavy whisk. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal and clumps together when squeezed lightly, about 1 minute.

Make the filling: Combine the rhubarb, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a spatula until evenly mixed. Transfer the rhubarb mixture to the baking pan, and sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit; the pan will be very full, but the crumble will settle as it bakes.

Bake until the topping is lightly browned, the rhubarb is tender (probe in the center with a skewer to check), and the juices are bubbling thickly around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool to warm or room temperature and to allow the juices to thicken, at least 1 hour.


1 comment:

Pam said...

That looks and sounds delicious!