Monday, March 22, 2010

Rhubarb Cardamom Crisp

I love the tartness of baked rhubarb, which is why even though it's early in the season I had to pick some up at the farmer's market last weekend. I figured that even though what I was getting was almost certainly hothouse rhubarb, baked into a crisp it would still be delicious. And it was, although my adapted recipe needs tweaking.

I'd had a package of Amaretti cookies in my cupboard for months, can't even remember what I originally bought them for. So rather than the typical oatmeal topping I usually employ for fruit crisps, I thought crumbled up Amaretti would be just as good -- maybe even better! With only a few cups' worth of rhubarb on hand, I chopped up three good-sized Ida Red apples to fill my nine-inch-square baking pan. I mixed the rhubarb and apple with some lemon juice and sugar, then poured it into the pan. I sprinkled the roughly crushed cookies over top and then dotted butter over that. Then into the oven for 45 minutes.

It smelled good almost immediately, but here's where I went wrong. After only 20 minutes the cookie topping was already a deep brown. I knew the fruit still had a long way to go so I put foil overtop to prevent it from browning any more. It succeeded in that regard, but the moisture from the fruit softened the topping somewhat. Next time, I'd put the foil on for the first half hour, then remove it for the last 15-20 minutes to ensure a crisp topping.

Rhubarb Cardamom Crisp
Adapted from David Lebovitz's Peach and Amaretti Crisp on Epicurious


3 cups rhubarb, chopped
3 cups apple, chopped (I used Ida Red but feel free to use your favourite baking apple)
1/4 cup white sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp ground cardamom


1 cup Amaretti cookies, crushed (about 20 cookies)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
8 tbsp butter (1 stick), chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix together filling ingredients. Pour into 9-inch-square pan.

Mix together topping ingredients and sprinkle over fruit filling. I like a rustic topping with bits of different sizes, but if you want it to look more uniform pulse together the ingredients in a food processor.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. If the top starts to look too brown, cover it with foil. Just make sure you leave enough room at the end of the baking process to uncover it and crisp it up again (you don't want a soggy topping).

Note: Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I had to settle for pistachio kulfi (all I had in my freezer), which was good, but vanilla would've been better.

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