Garden Rhubarb & Okanagan Cherry Crisp

What to do with early season rhubarb? Make rhubarb crisp of course! Combining rhubarb with local cherries for sweetness allows you to cut back on sugar in this healthy, whole grain dessert. Living in Kelowna where cherries are plentiful and inexpensive, I always like to pit and freeze cherries in small freezer bags for jams, porridges, crisps in the winter months and even smoothies in the spring. An added bonus, cherries are a great source of healthy antioxidants!  This recipe is easy enough even for novice bakers, and always impresses the company! And yes, you can always use strawberries in place of the cherries. Enjoy!  ~Jenn

Filling:

6 cups chopped rhubarb (1″ pieces)

3 cups pitted sweet cherries, cut in half (or strawberries!)

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp flour (whole wheat is fine)

1/16 tsp or a pinch salt

3/4 cup unrefined sugar

Mix the filling ingredients and pour into an 8×11 pyrex baking dish, or something of similar size.

Notes: Any less cherries (ie. full rhubarb) would probably require a full 1 cup sugar. I tend to bake on the less-sweet side so I wouldn’t cut the sugar back any more, unless you increase the ratio of cherries to rhubarb. Those with a sweeter tooth than mine can always drizzle a bit of maple syrup on their crisp before eating!

Topping:

3/4 cups whole wheat flour (you could also use spelt flour or oat flour if you prefer)

3/4 cups old fashioned or quick oats (either is fine!)

1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)

1/2 cup unrefined sugar (if you are using a sugar that is fairly coarse, blend it into a finer powder in a food processor)

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup coconut oil or cold butter

1/3 cup oil (I like grapeseed or canola)

Mix flour, oats, salt, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder in a bowl. Oil makes an easy replacement for half of the butter in this recipe, drizzle it over the mixture and work it into the flour with your hands or a fork until it is crumbly just like cutting in butter. Cut coconut oil into the dry mixture with knives or a pastry cutter until it is the size of peas.

If using butter, chop into smaller pieces (or even easier, keep your butter in the freezer and grate it in with a coarse grater when needed) and add to mixture, cutting in with knives or a pastry cutter.

Spread topping over the fruit mixture. Bake at 350F for one hour with a baking sheet underneath just in case. It’s done when it’s bubbling merrily and the topping has browned. Leave out to cool for about half an hour and then… dig in! If you find this a bit tart, drizzle with 1 tablespoon or so of maple syrup.

 

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