I did not come from a rhubarb family.
Apparently nobody in our house liked it, but really, we just didn’t know how to use it.
Rhubarb came with a general fear of sliminess, in an okra kind of way.
My old friend Bonnie turned me on to the wonders of baking with fresh rhubarb. We worked together when I was in my early 20’s, and while I wasn’t a terrible cook, I didn’t know how to do much back then.
She was from a small town in the mid-west and was old-school, so when she served you a salad, it came with a chilled fork.
But it was her rhubarb vanilla cake I remember most. It was unlike anything I’d ever tasted- sweet and tart at the same time. I don’t know exactly how she made it, but the rhubarb was cut in small pieces mixed with sugar to make a syrupy sauce and placed in the bottom of a glass dish.
Yellow cake batter from a mix was then spooned over the top. It came out of the oven glorious and rosy and golden and was served with cold whipped cream.
It’d make you slap your Grandma – a phrase that exactly no one said where I grew up in Nevada.
After eating that cake, I decided I loved rhubarb.
Over the years Bonnie taught me about canning and preserving, which I still do every summer.
Sometimes we made fresh juice from the Concord grapes growing wild in her small yard. After a lot of squeezing, squishing, straining and draining and boiling, the juice was done – deep purple with a rare, sweet taste.
It was fabulous and refreshing, poured in a tall glass over crushed ice on those hot afternoons sitting on her front porch.
This was in the olden days, before every household had a juicer.
This raspberry rhubarb crisp has a light, buttery topping, that would probably even taste good on dirt. It’s that good.
Adding fresh raspberries to the mix is unexpected and tasty.
Rhubarb is totally worth a try – and makes a satisfying spring dessert.
- RHUBARB RASPBERRY MIXTURE
- 3 cups fresh rhubarb washed and dried with tops and ends removed, cut into 1/2" slices
- 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- CRUMB TOPPING
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 brown sugar packed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 stick of cold butter cut into small pieces
- FOR THE RHUBARB RASPBERRY MIXTURE
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cut rhubarb, raspberries, sugar, vanilla, flour and cinnamon. Carefully mix the ingredients until combined. I use a large spoon and fold the mixture together slowly so the raspberries aren't crushed during this process.
- FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING
- Place the flour, sugars, cinnamon, sea salt and butter in a food processor and mix until combined. The mixture will be cornmeal-like and will stick together when gently squeezed with your hand.
- Heat oven to 400.
- Prepare a shallow baking dish by coating with a little non-stick spray or butter (I used a 10" baking dish).
- Place the rhubarb raspberry mixture in the baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Use all the topping, even if it seems like a lot.
- Place baking pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until topping is crispy and golden, about 30 more minutes.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Source: Studio Delicious