Kitchn Love Letters

The 1 Ingredient That Instantly Upgrades Any Summer Crisp

published May 25, 2021
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Credit: Sheela Prakash

For as long as I can remember, the pretty pink combination of strawberries and rhubarb has been one of my favorite tastes of the season. As soon as they overlap at the farmers market, I tote as much home as I can carry to turn into crumbles, pies, and compotes.

But a couple of years ago, I was tasked to test a recipe from our very own Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, that completely upended my allegiance to the timeless pairing. Strawberry isn’t rhubarb’s soulmate — lavender is.

Get the recipe: Rhubarb Lavender Crisp

Rhubarb Lavender Crisp Is the Dreamiest Spring Fruit Dessert

Faith’s rhubarb lavender crisp is perfect. Rather than let strawberries dominate and force rhubarb to play nicely in the background, this dessert puts rhubarb front and center in all its juicy, tart, and assertive glory. Its counterpart here is lavender, which is the loveliest surprise.

If you’re nervous about lavender’s perfume-y or soapy taste, don’t be: You’re adding such a small pinch that all you’ll taste is the softest floral note, which marries so well with the floral undertones of the honey and helps tame the rhubarb’s tartness. The result is a spring fruit crisp that’s oh-so delicate — and truly something special. When rhubarb season is over, try using lavender in fruit crisps all summer long, from peach to blueberry.

Credit: Sheela Prakash

If You Make This Rhubarb Lavender Crisp, a Few Tips

Like all fruit crisps and crumbles, this a simple dessert to make. However, I’ve gathered a few tips after making it year after year.

  1. Don’t wing the quantity of lavender. Stick with the 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds and don’t be tempted to sprinkle in extra. You’ll get just the right amount of understated flavor without the risk of the crisp tasting overly floral or soapy.
  2. Sprinkle on sliced almonds — or any other nut. This recipe calls for a topping of sliced almonds before baking, which lend a toasty crunch. But I’ve swapped in chopped almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and even hazelnuts with great success.
  3. Embrace leftover crisp the next morning. It’s as much of a tradition in my house to enjoy this crisp warm with vanilla ice cream as it is to the next morning for breakfast. Reheating it (or even eating it straight from the fridge) with plain yogurt might even be better than dessert. The cool, creamy, tangy yogurt plays so well with the rhubarb, lavender, and honey, so make sure to save enough to try it.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.