Spring Fever Rhubarb Crunch
I keep rhubarb in the freezer. When it's ripe and I can't bake it quickly enough, I dice it and freeze it in one-cup portions. To make this recipe I needed six (6!) cups. Here's the recipe and the play-by-play commentary.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
2 tablespoons orange juice
6 cups diced rhubarb (about 1 1/2 pound)
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
2 slices white or whole wheat bread, cut into quarters
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, macadamia nuts, or almonds
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or nutmeg (I used both, 1/8 teaspoon of each))
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1. For filling: In a large bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, orange peel and orange juice. My rhubarb was so juicy when it thawed, I wondered if I should skip the juice. I didn't. Add rhubarb; gently toss until coated. Let the rhubarb mixture stand about 15 minutes or until a syrup forms, stirring occasionally.
2. Using the 1 tablespoon butter, generously coat the bottom and sides of an 8X8X2 inch baking dish (2 quart square). Set the baking dish aside. I had supper in the oven (homemade mac & cheese, mmm), so I put the pan in the oven to let the butter melt.) Set aside.
3. This is the part I changed from the original. I used the right ingredients, but I prepared it a little differently. Place a steel blade in a food processor. Add bread quarters, pecans, graham crackers, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Pulse a few times until mixture is crumbly. Somehow, it didn't seem worthwhile to get out my large and heavy food processor for just two slices of bread, so I threw in the whole thing. It worked like a dream, creating a nice and even and aromatic crumble.
-Okay, we take a break here because I did when I baked this for the first time. As soon as I set aside the baking dish and the rhubarb syrup mix and made the crumble, my mac & cheese was ready. I set all three pieces of the dessert aside and had supper with my kids. After supper I finished the rhubarb crunch, put it in the oven, and cleaned up the supper dishes. Maybe that's why I....never mind. I'll get to that.
4. Evenly scatter 1/3 of the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with the rhubarb mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the rhubarb. Drizzle melted butter over all. Oh, no! I just took the finished dish out of the oven and realized that I completely forgot the melted butter!
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 6 -- or 4, with a little left over for lunches tomorrow.
I found this recipe in the April issue of Midwest Living Magazine. They suggest modifications such as mixing berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries with rhubarb, substituting 1 1/2 cups of berries for the same amount of rhubarb. I suggest increasing the amount of sugar; mine was a little tart.
They also suggest not forgetting the butter. I won't tell the family if you won't.
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