Rhubarb is in season now and we have been happily adding it to the menu here at Sugar Ridge. It has to be one of my favourite fruit (even though it is technically a vegetable!). It has such a wonderful tangy flavour and works so well with other summer fruits like apples and all manner of berries, especially strawberry.
So, for your baking and eating pleasure, here’s a recipe for a crisp that we make quite often. There is not a lot to it, so it is easy to make, and it can easily be made vegan and gluten free.
Technically, this rhubarb “crisp” is actually a “crumble”, as crumbles have oats in the toppings and crisps do not. But since this is the way the recipe was given to me from my mom and previously from my great aunt, I am keeping it this way. We don’t have to tell anyone and it still tastes the same!
- 1 cm-sized chopped rhubarb to almost fill 9″x9″ baking pan
- maple syrup
- water (as needed)
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup brown or Demerara sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cups oats
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease 9″x9″ baking pan.
- Wash and chop rhubarb into ~1 cm pieces. (Smaller pieces will cook faster.)
- Fill the baking dish with the rhubarb to almost the top. The volume of the fruit will reduce during the baking.
- Drizzle maple syrup liberally over the rhubarb to act as the sweetener and give it some of it’s liquid to bake. It is mostly done by feel and to taste, but you will probably need 1/4-1/3 cup syrup.
- If there does not seem to be enough liquid in the pan and the rhubarb is very firm, add a few extra tablespoons of water to help it soften during baking.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter/margarine and sugar.
- Mix in the flour and then the oats and cinnamon. The topping should be crumbly, but still loosely hold together. If it has, for some reason, no stick-togetherness, then add a bit more butter/margarine.
- Spread the topping evenly over the pan of rhubarb so that all of the fruit is covered. You may need to press down slightly on the topping to gently compact it all into the pan.
- Bake the crisp for 30 to 40 min, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is soft when tested with a knife. Put the crisp back in for 5 min more if it is still too firm.
- as mentioned at the top, pretty much ANY berry I can think of can be added to this recipe. The most obvious (and my favourite!!!) rhubarb berry combo is to add strawberries. Berries can replace 1/3 to 1/2 of the rhubarb. You may need less syrup to sweeten the rhubarb with berries in the mix, as they already are pretty sweet. Other great berries are raspberries, blueberries and cranberries. Consider trying a combo of several berries and make it a bumbleberry-rhubarb crisp! Apples are also an old standard for an addition to a crisp.
- gluten-free flour can easily be substituted for wheat flour and the substitution has little to no effect on the recipe, as it plays such a small role in the topping and there are no concerns whether it rises or not.
- other sweeteners can be used instead of maple syrup. As maple syrup is the “sugar” in our Sugar Ridge, it is a go-to sweetener for us, but honey, cane sugar, brown/demerara sugar or whatever you want will work well.