When I spotted this rhubarb in the store today, it finally hit me that spring will soon be on its way. I also decided on the spot that we would be having dessert tonight. Rhubarb is actually a vegetable and is similar in texture to celery. Before you’re completely turned off by it’s tart flavor and unusual texture, wait! Rhubarb can really shine in a pie or crisp. It sort of breaks down and becomes tender and homey when mixed with sugar.
We always grew rhubarb in our backyard when I was growing up. My parents chose to grow some unusual edible perennials – rhubarb and gooseberries. After trying them once, the gooseberries were never touched again. The rhubarb, though, was a yearly treat. When the stalks had grown tall enough, my mom would bake a pie. My mom’s pies are practically famous. If you’ve had one, you remember it.
While I love those pies, putting together the dough can be a bit time-consuming for a last-minute dessert decision. Crisp was the natural solution. Paired with a bit of orange zest and a dollop of ice cream and it feels like spring is here!
for the fruit:
6 cups rhubarb, sliced on the diagonal
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
zest of 1 orange
for the streusel:
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp cold butter
juice from one orange
Preheat oven to 375F.
Combine the rhubarb with sugar, flour and orange zest. Let sit while you prepare the streusel topping.
Mix the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender or fork, until pea-sized crumbles form. Stir in orange juice until just mixed.
Spray a baking dish to prevent sticking. Dump in the rhubarb. Drop struesel over the top. Bake until topping has browned and fruit is bubbly, about 40-45 minutes.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.