Rhubarb Crisp: No Sticky Hair!

Rhubarb Crisp

I bought rhubarb on my trip to Connecticut this weekend.  My mother always stewed it with honey and oranges and served it with the meal or as dessert. My nephew used to call it “sticky hair.”  I’ve preferred the tangy stalks paired with berries in pies and crisps though have tried a few recipes where it topped fish and poultry.  This crisp recipe was in my dessert folder- a Mark Bittman offering from last year.  I used more rhubarb, threw in some raspberries and blackberries that were on last legs, added more nuts (of course!) and a teaspoon ginger.  For more on rhubarb, check out http://www.rhubarbinfo.com.

Here’s the recipe: Time: About 1 hour, largely unattended

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing pan

2 1/2 to 3 pounds rhubarb, trimmed, tough strings removed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 to 6 cups)

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice

1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

Pinch salt

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup pecans.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking or gratin dish with a little butter. Toss rhubarb with white sugar, orange or lemon juice and zest, and spread in baking dish. 

2. Put the 6 tablespoons butter in a food processor along with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt, and pulse for about 20 or 30 seconds, until it looks like small peas and just begins to clump together. Add oats and pecans and pulse just a few times to combine.

3. Crumble the topping over rhubarb and bake until golden and beginning to brown, 45 to 50 minutes. (check often to be sure nuts don’t burn- took only about 40 minutes in my oven) Fast, easy & delish with ice cream!

Young plants in our garden. Not sure they’ll get big enough this year to cut.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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4 Responses to Rhubarb Crisp: No Sticky Hair!

  1. I bet the orange and cinnamon really make that sing. Great recipe! I like that you threw in some blackberries too.


  2. Madeline Taylor says:

    i never really cared for the stuff mom ate – but being the dutiful daughter and foodie with no control – I ate it anyway. I remember David tried his hand on several occasions to make strawberry rhubarb pie. Everyone raved about them – again, not my thing but your version with raspberries and blackberries and I assume there will be ice cream/ Sounds worth a shot!
    By the way, my favorite memory of mom’s rhubarb was how excited Jacob was to eat it: “More Wubarb, Dramma!”


  3. Nathan says:

    I also liked “Dramma’s” Rhubarb though I’ve never tried making it myself, sounds like a fun project for when I have time.


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