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For The Love of Rhubarb

Rhubarb Crisp

It was about 5 years ago that I was talking to Ruthie, my friend in the neighborhood, and she was going on an on an on about Rhubarb.  How she loved it and makes kugels and pies and G-d only knows what else.  Well  I was flabbergasted to say the least.  I mean who eats rhubarb?  I always saw it in the freezer section but just passed it over like soup on a hot day.  So nowadays I am a lot more adventurous. That coupled with the fact that Ruthie doesn't much seem the adventurous cooking type - gave me the courage to try this peculiar plant in my cooking.


What I once thought was a strawberry wannabe (based on nothing other than the fact that it was red and next to the strawberries and other frozen fruits in the freezer section) is actually not a berry but a stalk.  Turns out Rhubarb in it's raw state has long crisp reddish stalks that look a lot  like celery and have a really strong and  tart taste.  When cooked with sugar or sweetener of your choice rhubarb is commonly used in pies and crumbles and kugels if you're Jewish.  We really make anything into a kugel, don't we?  I remember I had a recipe tester for my first book who never tasted a kugel so when she was testing everyone's favorite brocoli kugel from my first book - she was like - "uhm I think this is good, not sure what I am supposed to be tasting here...".

So back to rhubarb.  Here is a Rhubarb Crisp using frozen rhubarb - which is great because frozen fruits and vegetables are packed at the peak of their ripeness and then are conveniently available for us to enjoy year round.  Although rhubarb season is now: April/May until September in the Northern Hemisphere, which is where I reside I use frozen chopped because it's so easy to work with.  So in keeping with modern Jewish tradition you can serve this Rhubarb crisp as part of the meal instead of your usual apple crisp or blueberry crisp, or peach crisp or whatever other "crisp dessert" you all serve alongside the chulent (I personally love any excuse for a meal with double dessert!).  Or you can serve it with a scoop of (pareve) ice cream for dessert.

Coeur a la Creme

One more favorite rhubarb recipe perfect for Shavuos Coeur La Creme with Rhubarb Compote.

What is your favorite crisp?  And when do you serve it, with the main or for dessert?