Rhubarb is an odd fruit. To begin with, it's actually a vegetable — a vegetable with poisonous leaves. The stalks are crisp and juicy, with a vegetal crunch rather like celery. And yet this prosaic stalk can produce some of the most beautiful and delicious food of the spring season.
It's also far easier to prepare than we realized; this crumble involves no pre-cooking, no stewing. It's a fast dessert with a delicate sweetness and hearty topping.
The minute I polished off my serving of this crisp, I started dreaming about my next serving (which came the next morning, for breakfast). This is such a unique dessert yet it still feels so homey and comforting. Both rhubarb and lavender are assertive flavors — one tart, the other floral — yet when they join forces, along with honey, they mesh and mellow and become something delicate and perfect. In fact, the floral notes of the lavender are so understated that guests may wonder what that extra something is that makes this rhubarb crisp stand out.
I also really love that strawberry doesn't stand in the way here, as it does in so many rhubarb desserts. If you celebrate rhubarb as much as I do, I encourage you to make this dessert immediately. Eat it with ice cream tonight and enjoy leftovers for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
- Sheela, May 2018
Rhubarb Lavender Crisp
Serves 6 to 8
Butter or cooking spray
fresh rhubarb, leaves removed and discarded, diced
Pinch fine salt
dried lavender buds (food safe)
Vanilla or strawberry ice cream, or whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- For the crisp topping:
1 1/2 cups
packed light brown sugar
Pinch of fine salt
unsalted butter, melted
Water or milk
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Coat an 8x8- or 9x9-inch baking pan or 2 to 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter or cooking spray; set aside.
Place the rhubarb, granulated sugar, honey, and salt in a large bowl. Rub the lavender between your hands and add to the bowl. Stir to combine, then transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer; set aside.
Place the oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir to combine. Add just enough water or milk (a tablespoon at a time) so that the mixture comes together in loose clumps but is not too moist.
Sprinkle the topping over the rhubarb. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top.
Bake until the topping is lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then serve with vanilla or strawberry ice cream, or whipped cream if desired.
Storage: Leftovers will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days. Serve cold, room temperature, or re-warmed in a low oven for 20 minutes.