Originally uploaded by wanderingcoyote.
I know crisps are traditionally fall fare when apples are plentiful, and I know that rhubarb is not quite in season, but I made this today because Granny Smiths (the best baking apple ever) were on sale, my roommate, J, had rhubarb in the freezer, and I wanted to make a dessert to compliment J's roast chicken dinner.
Funny story about the rhubarb. It came from the neighbour's plant last year. J took some to a coworker who claimed it was the best rhubarb she'd ever tasted. When the coworker asked the rhubarb plant's owner if she could have a cutting of the plant to grow in her own garden, the lady said no way. It's a weed, right?
Speaking of which, we had a huge rhubarb plant in our back yard when growing up. I mean huge. My mom made rhubarb everything when we were kids, and it took a while for it to grow on me. My brother, on the other hand, hated the stuff. One spring, my dad and brother were out doing yardwork and my dad entrusted my brother with the weed killer to eliminate some pesky dandilions etc. Well, my brother went to town with the weed killer and sprayed it on the rhubarb plant. We had no rhubarb that year and my mom was pissed off. But it came back the next year! And, I hate to say it, we ate that rhubarb. I shudder to think what chemicals were floating around my body afterwards, and hope I don't get any cancer as a result!
So here's what I did this afternoon.
Apple Rhubarb Crisp
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled & sliced
approximately 3 cups chopped rhubarb
4 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp ground ginger (or to taste)
2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
I cup oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
cinnamon & ginger to taste
1/3 - 1/2 cup butter
Combine rhubarb & apples in a bowl. Add the cornstarch sugar and spices. Toss to coat thorougly. Chuck in a large casserole that has been well-oiled.
For the topping, combine the oats, flour and sugar. Add the spices. Cut the butter into in the mixture either with a pastry cutter or by rubbing the butter into the mixture with your hands. It should be crumbly and just hold together when squeezed. Sprinkle on top of the fruit and pat down gently.
Bake at 375F for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of your apple slices and the depth of your casserole dish. You know it's done when it's bubbly and when you spear it with a sharp knife, the apples are tender.
Vanilla ice cream is a wonderful accompaniment, as is just straight whipping cream poured over the top. My mom used to serve this with evaporated milk poured over it.
My mom always claimed that by adding ginger to rhubarb it eliminated the feeling that you're teeth were sticking together, a sensation she claimed she had when eating rhubarb without ginger. I don't know about this. I've eaten rhubarb without ginger before and didn't have this experience. But they are a good combination nonetheless.
Rhubarb is quite tart, so don't skimp on the sugar. Taste the mixture after you've added the sugar to make sure it's sweet enough for you. Don't eat the raw rhubarb, but there should be some juices in the mixture at this point, so taste that.
We make strawberry rhubarb pies at work, and you can make a strawberry rhubarb crisp, too. Both fruit will be plentiful this summer.