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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rhubarb Again, for a Spring Day

The fragrance of the lilacs in the vase on top of the refrigerator, the cinnamon-y smells from the oven, the thrill of actually having a little asparagus from the garden big enough to harvest-spring is again giving us a sensory overload, even in the house.

Not enough asparagus yet for any real recipe, but I can cut it, still uncooked, into a wonderful fresh tossed salad. (I still prefer raw asparagus anyway!)

On the other hand, the rhubarb is sprawling across its patch in the lawn. Mine is not as red as some varieties, but it still works fine for spring desserts--for other people, since I'm still not a fan.

I am baking for a friend who can eat very little dairy and has to stay away from fructose, so honey and even some fruits have to be avoided. Plain old sugar works fine, however, as do berries and rhubarb, so a rhubarb crisp will be fine.

Today's recipe uses a method I hadn't tried before, preparing a cornstarch thickened sauce to spread over the fruit before baking, a little extra step that has given a juicy but not too runny filling.


Fructose-free Rhubarb Crisp

4 c diced rhubarb
1 to 2 c diced strawberries

3/4 to 1 c sugar, depending on the sweetness you desire
2 T cornstarch
1 c water
1 t vanilla

Topping:
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c flour
2 T oil plus 2 T butter OR 1/4 c margarine
1 1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c rolled oats

1. Mix the fruits and spread in a 7 X 11 (OR 9 inch square) baking dish.

2. Stir the sugar and the cornstarch together in a small saucepan until evenly mixed. Stir in the water. Cook over medium to high heat until translucent and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

3. Pour the cornstarch mixture over the fruit, mixing well.

4. Stir all the topping ingredients except the rolled oats until evenly mixed. Blend in the oatmeal and spread the topping evenly over the fruit.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the crisp is bubbly and golden.

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