I’m on the fence when it comes to crisp. Oatmeal and fruit have a very solid place in my heart. I eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast all year long. Even when the summer gets hot I keep eating steamy bowl after steamy bowl, swapping summer berries for wintery bananas. Oatmeal & Fruit, I’m so into you. Oatmeal Crisp, I’m skeptical. You’re usually too sweet and the truth is, I’d rather have your fruit tucked safely away in a tasty pie crust.
But, when my husband came home the other day with a GIANT bag of rhubarb and asked hopefully, “Can you make something with this?” I felt I had to try. According to the story, he and his brother found themselves at a farm stand with a genuine old man in suspenders, who might have even been chewing on a piece of wheat or smoking a corncob pipe. The man took them out to the field and cut the rhubarb fresh. Maybe he even slung rhubarb stalks over his shoulder as he went down the field, letting some young whippersnapper in overalls catch the bounty as it rained down. Or something like that. Anyway, it was nice, fresh rhubarb and it deserved a happy home.
I was excited to make a pretty pie or maybe an oozy, warm cobbler but Gus was really hoping for crisp and since he got the rhubarb I gave in. (Maybe I am a really nice wife after all.)
Ok. It was pretty good. Crunchy and oaty on the top. Sweet (but not too sweet because I was in charge of the sugar!) and tart, and gooey on the bottom. And, if we’re being honest, crisp is damn easy. Easy peasy. There’s no dough to roll, leavener to measure, biscuits to scoop. You can get your (clean) hands into the topping and just smoosh it together and that’s fun. No mixer. No food processor. Cut, mix, smoosh, top, bake. That’s all.
Oatmeal Crisp. I guess I changed my mind.
Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Crisp
Serves 6 to 8
This crisp happens to be gluten-free. I used almond flour instead of wheat flour. Feel free to use whichever flour makes you happy.
By the time you read this, rhubarb just might be out of season. Fear not. Use whatever fruit you have handy. Stawberries and plums. Peaches and blueberries. Raspberries and pears. Go nuts. It will always taste good.
3 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
3 cups sliced rhubarb
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats (quick-cooking work fine too!)
3/4 cup almond flour
a big pinch kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Toss the strawberries and rhubarb into a 9 x13 baking dish. Add ½ cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla and toss to coat.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, almond flour, salt, and remaining ¼ cup brown sugar. Add butter and use your hands to work the butter into the oat mixture until just combined. Distribute this mixture over the top of the fruit. Don’t worry if it isn’t evenly covering the fruit. It’s crisp! It’s easy and we don’t care.
3. Bake crisp until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 minutes.