Rhubarb Crisp Recreated
Every spring, when rhubarb arrives in the market, I feel energized to make our favorite rhubarb crisp which we absolutely love. I have a wonderful yet simple recipe for it in my book Sharing the Table. This year, however, I am on a quest to recreate some of my time-honed recipes making them a bit less sugar-laden, and healthier. This is the new favorite recipe in our home.
Some nerdy background info: Rhubarb dates to China around 2700 BC where its roots were grown for medicinal the qualities in balancing the digestive system. It spread to Europe and finally to Maine by a gardener between 1790-1800. By 1822 it was being sold in US produce markets. The leaves are poisonous, but the stalk is usually cooked with sweetener in a variety of dishes. It is a vegetable but is mostly used in desserts because of its sour and fruity flavor.
Recreating this recipe with a few things in mind.
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting farmer/author Bob Quinn who wrote the book Grain by Grain. He has a fascinating life story of being raised on a traditional Montana wheat farm evolving through many trials and tribulations to become an organic wheat farmer and scientist who stumbled on an ancient grain, Kamut which changed his life and the life of many rural Montana farmers. The Kamut ancient grain is high in protein, and moderate to low on the glycemic index (how rapidly the body converts carbohydrates to blood sugar which can create sugar highs followed by craving lows). Some gluten sensitive individuals find they tolerate this ancient wheat whereas they cannot suffer commercially grown modern wheat. Kamut has a buttery nut flavor that is quite endearing in this recipe where both the flakes and flour is used. Kamut is quite pricey compared to white all-purpose flour but our health is worth it! Pay now or pay the doctor later.
Honey at a moderate glycemic index replaces white sugar that has a high rating is mixed with the rhubarb. Coconut sugar at a low glycemic index replaces brown sugar with a high GI rating in the topping.
Happily, the substitution of these alternative ingredients yields a tasty rhubarb crisp to enjoy guilt-free!
3 tablespoons Kamut flour
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
6 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 pounds rhubarb stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup Kamut flakes
½ cup Kamut stone ground flour
½ cup coconut sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Heat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl mix the three tablespoons of flour with orange juice. Heat the honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is bubbling. Stir in the flour orange juice mixture. Cook until mixed and thickened. Mix in the orange zest.
Place the rhubarb in a baking pan, like a deep-dish pie pan. Drizzle the honey mixture over the rhubarb.
Mix the Kamut flakes, Kamut flour, coconut sugar, and cinnamon together with the melted butter. Distribute evenly over the rhubarb mixture.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for twenty minutes or until the top has browned a bit. Rotate the pan 180 degrees. Loosely cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Continue baking until bubbling and fruit in the center is soft when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about twenty to thirty more minutes.
Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. Remove the foil and let sit for five to ten minutes before serving.
Bob’s Red Mill stone ground Kamut flour and Eden Foods Kamut flakes can be found on Amazon. I found my Kamut flakes in the bulk section of my local Food Co-op.