Celebrate the Sunshine With This Seasonal Dessert
Rhubarb is one of the great enigmas of the food world. Is it a fruit? No. Is it a vegetable? Technically, yes, but a vegetable that is often treated like a fruit, or at least paired with them. You've probably seen rhubarb and strawberries together, but rhubarb is also delicious with raspberries. The sweet floral notes of the raspberries compliment the tart earthiness of the rhubarb. Top with a mix of butter, toasted almonds, brown sugar, oats — and a scoop of vanilla ice cream — and you have a quick and easy dessert that screams summer!Rhubarb ranks right up there with asparagus as a sure sign that winter is finally over. As a southern transplant it took me a while to warm up to this cold climate vegetable, but now I love it. I know New Englanders love their pie, but I'm partial to a crisp because the toasted topping offers a nice contrast to the texture of the cooked rhubarb. The fact that it can be made without much notice, without a fuss, and with just a few pantry staples, is a bonus. I usually assemble the dessert and put it in the oven to cook just as I'm sitting down to dinner. That way, it's warm and ready to serve when I'm ready to eat! It truly is a dessert on par with a summertime state of mind, so go ahead and get your double-dose of R and R today!
Batch is a local craft ice cream that is widely available in the greater Boston area. The vanilla bean flavor takes the classic vanilla up a notch and is delightful with the tart, sweet flavors of the rhubarb and raspberry crisp.
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the rhubarb, granulated sugar, orange zest and juice, vanilla, and orange flower water (if using) in a large bowl. Stir to combine, and let sit until ready to use.
2. Combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in another large bowl or food processor. Using your hands, a pastry blender, or the food processor, cut in or pulse chilled butter into the flour until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture resembles course meal. Add the oats and the toasted almonds. Stir to combine.
3. Pour the rhubarb mixture into a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the raspberries evenly over the surface of the rhubarb and cover with the crumb topping.
4. Bake until topping is golden brown and crisp and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes.
5. Serve warm with your favorite local vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.