Rhubarb is a “thing” over in England, Scotland and Ireland – like it isn’t so much here in the U.S. The U.K. is where all of my ancestors are from so maybe that’s why I love rhubarb so much.
While I was over there visiting, I saw cute little glass jars of thick whole milk yogurt with pink rhubarb nestled at the bottom, rhubarb-filled cookies, and rhubarb custard flavored Haribo gummy candies in all the markets. When I first tasted the candies I immediately knew they were a miracle of science. How could anyone mimic the flavor of anything so precisely? These chewy things tasted exactly, and I do mean exactly, like my mom’s rhubarb custard pie! Much to my dismay, you can’t get them here so I’ll just have to wait until I get over there again.
Since I’ve already written about my mom’s rhubarb custard pie and given you the recipe, I’m going to give you a really good recipe, or a “proper” recipe as they say over there, for rhubarb crisp. Like so many of my recipes, this one is from Food and Wine magazine, with a few minor tweaks. Try growing your own rhubarb – it’s an easy to please plant, its Jurassic-like leaves will look pretty in your garden and it’s a lot cheaper than buying it in the market!
Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Crisp
3 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced ½-inch thick
1¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups light brown sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
3 tablespoons canola oil
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with the sugar. Add the cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla to the fruit and stir well. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch glass baking dish.
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix the ingredients together until large crumbs form.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue baking for about 30 minutes longer until the fruit filling is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned. Let the crisp rest for 10 to 20 minutes before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 6