in our kitchen :: rhubarb & apple crisp

Springtime for me means dirt under my finger nails, the smell of freshly turned compost, and discovering what has awakened in the garden as the ground warms.

In our garden, one of the early delights is harvesting rhubarb.

Rhubarb, pronounced roo-barb, is not actually a fruit, but a stalk vegetable. It is available for harvest from late March until June. The stalks are rosy in hue and topped with big, deep green leaves. When picking, gently snap the stalk at the ground and cut off the leaf. The leaves should never be eaten as they contain a poison, oxalic acid. I usually cut the leaf off and place it under newly sprouting stalks. After washing and trimming the top and bottom of the stalk, use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to thinly strip off the stringy ribs. Much like you do with celery. Rhubarb wilts quickly. Store it in the fridge and eat within a couple of days. Some people recommend keeping the leaves on the stalk until you’re ready to eat it, as they’ll help keep it fresh.
rhubarb_patch

Rhubarb is tart and while it can be used in many delicious recipes, I have only ever used it as a dessert or made it into a simple syrup that I later add to drinks.

This year with the first picked stalks, I made a crisp. I added apple to give it a little more texture and sweetness that would balance out the tartness of the rhubarb.  I usually think of crisps and crumbles as autumn desserts, but this one is a perfect springtime delight.

Rhubarb & Apple Crisp

Prep :: 15 min. Bake: 45 min.
Yield :: 8 servings

Ingredients ::
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (3-4 large stalks) or frozen rhubarb, thawed (see note)
2 cups chopped peeled apples (I used a large honey crunch apple)
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Vanilla ice cream, optional (ok, not really…you need to enjoy this with ice cream!!)

Directions ::
In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add rhubarb and apples; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8-in. square or oval baking dish.

For the topping ::
In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon, and maple syrup until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly and fruit is tender.

Serve warm. With ice cream!!

Note :: If using frozen rhubarb, measure while still frozen, then thaw completely in a colander, but do not press liquid out. The addition of 1/3 cup of your favorite chopped nuts to the topping would be delicious.

rhubarb&applecrisp

Have tried rhubarb? Do you have a favorite rhubarb recipe?

xoxo,

Mel

{Recipe adapted from :: Taste of Home}

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