june 22, 2013
Blueberry rhubarb crisp – enemy of all white clothing and tablecloths, but oh-so-very-worth it when you take one taste of the ultimate early summer dessert.
Crispy, creamy, tart, sweet, and, if you add sweetened whipped cream or ice cream to your bowl of summer delight, you can add chilly to that list of adjectives.
Here is a dessert you can make even if the baking bug has not bitten you like a persistent mosquito. Chop fruit, make a crisp topping, assemble all and throw it in the oven and forget about it for an hour. You and your guests can sit back and admire the finished product before devouring it enthusiastically. Crisps can be made the day before and stored at room temperature, and they will do well if baked and then frozen for a later occasion. Forgiving, attractive in a rustic manner and easy to make – beats a store bought dessert any day.
Another point about crisps (also called crumbles by our Brit cousins) : they are open to interpretation and reinvention, with all manner of fruits fair game, the addition of fruit sweeteners loosely ruled (use more, use less, use different types and it all seems to work out well) and the crisp topping takes well to improvisational riffs on types or absence of nuts, spices and flours. For today’s crisp I used my standard gluten free flour mix (2 cups white rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch and 1/3 cup tapioca starch) and Bob’s Red Mill GF oats and I doubt anyone would note any difference. It’s all good, and so this is a stellar example of a super easy and versatile dessert. Fruit crisps show up frequently on The Good Eats Company personal chef service menus.
Choose firm stalks of rhubarb, and remove any traces of the leaves, which are poisonous. Rinse the blueberries just before tossing with the rhubarb and sugar, to avoid berry spoilage.
Keep your butter well chilled until ready to cut into the flour mix with a pastry cutter (or two table knives), so that the crisp topping lives up to its name. Mix until the butter is pea size. Nuts are optional and lend a toasty crunch.
Pile fruit filling into the baking dish and don’t be dismayed if it appears as though all will overflow; the fruit cooks down and that edge of sugary fruit glaze at the edge will only add to its homey appeal.
Crisps are desserts that say home-baked love. Today’s post is dedicated to my mom, Mildred, who would have been celebrating her birthday with something sweet today if she were still with us. So, time to put on your best white shirt and dig in, raising your spoon to someone you love!
blueberry rhubarb crisp
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
serves six to eight
one pint fresh blueberries, washed and picked over for stems
one pound fresh rhubarb, leaves removed, diced
¾ cup cane sugar
¾ cup flour (all purpose or gluten free)
¾ cup light brown sugar
one cup old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free optional)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of fine sea salt (I like La Baleine)
½ cup (one stick) chilled unsalted butter
¾ cup chopped nuts (i used walnuts)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In large mixing bowl combine fruits and cane sugar with clean hands, gently and thoroughly.
- Place fruit mixture in ungreased 2 quart baking dish with 2 inch sides.
- In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and oats.
- Cut chilled butter in small pieces and use pastry cutter or two knives to blend into the flour mixture, stopping when butter is in pea size bits.
- Add nuts, if using, and place topping evenly over fruit mixture.
- Bake for one hour and let sit at least 15 minutes before spooning out and serving.
- Crisp may be made up to two days ahead, with reheating in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes, or frozen after it reaches room temperature.