In May when rhubarb is coming up and then in June when strawberries are ripe, I harvest and freeze as many bags as I can. Later in the season bags filled with wild berries are added to the freezer shelves. Come the deep snows of February, hungry for scents and tastes of spring, I pull out a couple bags of fruit to bake crisps.
I freeze all my berries one layer deep on big cookie sheets. They freeze quickly this way, and store loose in freezer bags. When I’m ready to bake I can pour out half a bag of strawberries and half a bag of rhubarb. Dessert can be in the oven in 15 minutes.
A fruit crisp is a very simple baked dessert with a slightly sweet, crunchy topping. Crisp recipes are versatile and flexible, most any combination of berries works well, and cooks quickly. If you are using apples or pears they may need to be pre-cooked so they are soft enough when baked into the crisp.
This recipe developed a couple summers ago when I made it with wild berries and it served for breakfast with a scoop of plain yogurt. The topping is thick and dense like granola, the fruit is tart and smooth and intensely bright, complemented by mildly tart yogurt or sweet creamy vanilla ice cream. But it needs no embellishment. Serve hot, with small spoons, so you savor every bite.
One tray of crisp can serve eight at brunch, or ten smaller servings with or without ice cream, for dessert
Rhubarb Berry Crisp
2 c frozen (or fresh) berries
2 c frozen (or fresh) rhubarb
1/2 c turbinado sugar or honey
2.5 T cornstarch
1 c uncooked rolled oats
1/3 c whole-wheat flour
5T melted butter or mild flavored oil
½ c brown sugar (you can substitute turbinado, maple syrup or honey)
½ t salt
½ t cinnamon
1 c chopped walnuts of pecans
Set oven to 350
Toss berries and rhubarb with sweetener and cornstarch. If you are using all berries without the rhubarb you can cut the sweetener to 3 or 4T.
Pour the fruit into the baking dish. I use an oval gratin pan, choose a pan that is about 7 x 10”
Add all the topping ingredients to the bowl and stir well to combine. Sprinkle on top of the fruit mixture.
Place on middle rack of oven; bake at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes until bubbling and slightly brown and crisp on top.
Serve warm as breakfast or dessert.