Monday, June 1, 2015
Rhubarb grows at the edge of our house, popping up suddenly with an almost unexpected vigour to herald warmer spring weather. I've missed it, its flavour sharp and saucy and as full of attitude as the vegetable itself, growing wildly and resiliently in spite of northwestern Ontario's horrific winters and short summers.
I moved back home almost six months ago, and it's been a long, dreary winter, and summer has been slow to start in this far corner of the north. I'd grown used to the milder winters and hot summers of Toronto, and the last two months have been torturing us with inconsistency. We get blessedly beautiful days of sunshine and warmth only to be suddenly knocked with cold, snow, and rain. Just a few nights ago it went down to 1. My dad's been waking up at 3am to diligently sprinkle his garden with room temperature water to protect his budding crops from frost. Tonight I went out for a brisk walk and returned with numbed fingers. (I could barely keep them steady while Instagramming. Life is hard.)
However, in spite of the changing weather, the days are long and bright, and now there is rhubarb in my life again, which I sorely missed in the city. Sometimes, it's the little blessings like a having a plot of a bizarre vegetable by your house that can be turned into the best effing crisp or pie you've ever tasted that can make life good.
My awesome friend Anna, whom I've mentioned numerous times here, has also whipped up some ridiculously good vegan ice cream that would not go amiss if served alongside this crisp. Because let's be real, what is a good crisp without ice cream? Find her recipe here.
This crisp has a lot of topping, which is just how it should be, in my opinion, as it doesn't get lost in the juicy rhubarb filling beneath. If you prefer a sweeter crisp, use the 1/2 cup of sugar in the filling, but if you love that unmistakable tang of rhubarb, use just 1/3.
6 cups chopped rhubarb stalks
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup almonds, roasted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold & cut into cubes
Makes 6 - 8 servings.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, or until darkened in colour and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, chop coarsely.
2. Stir together rhubarb and sugar. Set aside to macerate, stirring a few more times.
3. Mix all of the crisp topping ingredients together except for the butter. Once combined, add the cold cubes of butter and using a pastry cutter or your hands, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it's pea-sized.
4. Pour the rhubarb filling into an 8x8inch baking dish. Pour the crisp topping over it and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes, or until the topping is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving. Crisp is best eaten the day it's made, but leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge, covered.