Every summer, my mom makes a ton of rhubarb crisp and rhubarb pies. The reason for this is that in her yard, there is a mutant rhubarb with a root stem about a foot wide. In fact, this gigantic rhubarb is famous amongst my friends; a few years ago, I remember catching my best friend Lauren’s mom in my backyard stealing some! Of course, that’s never a problem; we could never eat all of it before some of the stalks went all tough or went to seed. In fact, I remember using the leaves of the rhubarb for umbrellas playing in the yard as a kid! Anyhoo, it’s safe to say that both me and my sister associate the smell of rhubarb baking with summer vacation.
Now that I’m married and have moved out, I had to get some of Mom’s rhubarb and bake up a crisp- it just isn’t summer without it! (And boy do we need to be reminded that it’s just about summer- we got snow the other day and I believe there’s still a frost warning. Boourns!)
Now, I didn’t use a specific recipe for this; Mom tells me she goes by feel, really. So cut enough fresh rhubarb to fill up your casserole dish, using only the red ripe parts of the stalk.
This is about five stalks of rhubarb.
Toss the rhubarb with enough sugar to coat it all, as well as cinnamon. (I also added a bit of flour- less than 1/4 cup- since Mom warned me that often you need it to thicken up the juices when it bakes.)
This is at least a cup of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
The dry ingredients.
Add 1/2 cup of cold butter, and cut it in until the texture resembles breadcrumbs.
Then, pour all that good sweet stuff on top of your rhubarb, like so:
Nice n' thick.
Next, pop it into a 350°F oven…
Mmm... if only you all could smell this baking!
…until the topping is golden-brown and the juices have formed a thick sauce.
I had to bake about 40 minutes.
Around Mom’s house, we like to eat this stuff warm with vanilla ice cream.
Excuse me while I die and go to heaven...
Another family variation? Adding strawberries to make a rhubarb-strawberry crisp. This also makes a yummy pie- half the recipe, and use a storebought crust or make your own. You can also add oatmeal to the topping if you prefer something with more texture than just sugary streusel stuff. A little hint of my own, too- it’s really yummy cold from the fridge as an ice cream topping, or just plain for breakfast!