Saturday, July 19, 2008

Easy Raspberry-Rhubarb Crisp

I have had black raspberries growing in the back yard for years. They are very seedy, and mostly I have just ignored them. But this year my son and daughter-in-law wrote about how much they were enjoying the various bramble fruits. And one of the bloggers I sometimes read wrote about raspberry pie. So I decided to try my black raspberries.

I like easy recipes, the easier the better. I am even willing to trade off quite a bit of taste to get more ease. This recipe does not give you the world’s best raspberry-rhubarb crisp, but it is very easy.

2 cups of oatmeal
A cup or a cup and a half of flour
A pinch of salt
A half a cup of brown sugar
Between a half a cup and a cup of sugar

The amount of sugar depends on how sweet you want it. If you like things a bit tart, keep the sugar low. If you want it sweet, increase it.

Add 1/3 cup or so of vegetable oil. Corn oil or canola oil work well. With a fork thoroughly blend the mixture. Cover the bottoms of two glass pie plates, which should take between 1/3 and 1/2 of the mixture.

As for the fruit, you should have a cup to two cups of raspberries, and about four cups of rhubarb cut into small pieces. (I know that technically rhubarb is not a fruit, but we will call it fruit anyway.) Make sure the rhubarb is not woody. One stalk of woody rhubarb will ruin anything you make using rhubarb, and as the stems get older, the veins get woody.

Spread the fruit evenly in the two pie plates. Then cover the fruit with the remaining crisp mixture.

We could put this in a conventional oven and bake about an hour, but it is much easier and the results are as good if we put it in a microwave for seven to eight minutes. It is not done if the rhubarb is still holding its shape. When properly cooked, the rhubarb will be reduced to mush and the juices of the raspberries and the rhubarb will soak into much of the crisp mixture. If it is runny, you have put in too much fruit relative to the crisp mixture. (I have had that happen because I do not measure very well, and if I have lots of fruit, I use it.)

You could serve this as a dessert; it works well with ice cream. But I prefer it with yogurt as breakfast. The oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt make it a healthy start to the day, but it tastes like dessert in the morning. Here is the result, served with some blueberry yogurt.

(Variations: You can eliminate the raspberries altogether and make a rhubarb crisp. You can replace the raspberries and rhubarb with cherries and the results are very good. You can also replace them with peaches or apples. As you get sweeter fruit, you should compensate by using less sugar. With really sweet apples, you might not want to use any sugar at all. And if the fruit is watery when cooked, use more flour. If the fruit is not watery, use less flour.)

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