Well, not “forgot” exactly. Just, sort of… well I would remember for a fraction of a second and think I should go check on it and then get distracted until a day or two later and then… well… rinse, lather and repeat.
It sits at the very back of the garden tucked amongst raspberry canes that are trying valiantly to take over every inch of space. It’s nestled against a fence covered in honeysuckle, pushed up against my neighbour’s old log cabin workshop and walled in by my garden shed. It’s dark and overgrown. Racoons and squirrels frequently amble along that part of the fence safe in the knowledge that Sam can’t get anywhere near them.
To be honest, it’s a little scary to get to. (Racoons freak me out)
This weekend I finally remembered, and got out a knife and a basket and headed back to the bottom of the garden. I was met by not one, not two, but THREE rhubarb plants that had formed a small forest. I have never seen so much rhubarb! I guess they’re fighting back against the raspberries.
So I hacked all but one of the plants right down to the roots. And in the process harvested enough rhubarb to keep me in rhubarb muffins easily all winter.
(If you live in the greater Vancouver area and have a one foot patch of yard, do NOT buy rhubarb at the farmer’s market. Get a plant and stick it in the ground, forget about it and you will have enough rhubarb to last you a lifetime – the stuff grows like weeds. The damper and darker the more they seem to like it!)
I think I’ve done a pretty good job over the years of coming up with rhubarb recipes that are a little more interesting than the usual crisp, crumble or pie. (Chocolate rhubarb cookies anyone? Chocolate rhubarb muffins? Rhubarb butter tarts – that one wasn’t mine but it was pretty good!)
But there is nothing wrong with a good rhubarb berry crumble. Nothing at all. It’s the first dessert of spring!
I decided to try an apple rhubarb crisp this time around. Mainly because I wanted to test apple and rhubarb together for another idea I’m pondering. While floating around the internet I came across a recipe for an apple rhubarb crisp using maple syrup and I knew that was what I had to make.
A lovely client in Montreal sent me some Quebec Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar as a gift last year and I knew they were both going into this crisp. I’d also never made a crisp that mixed an egg with the fruit and sugar. All I can say is… genius. The egg gives the juices this beautiful thick, almost caramel like sauce that is just gorgeous.
- 3 cups chopped rhubarb - fresh or frozen
- 2 apples, peeled and diced
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup maple sugar + 1 Tbsp maple sugar (if you don't have maple sugar you can sub regular brown sugar)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 tbsp maple sugar
- preheat oven to 350F
- combine rhubarb, apple, ½ cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl
- whisk together egg and maple syrup together and pour into the fruit mixture
- stir until well combined and set aside
- in another large bowl, combine flour, salt, ¼ cup maple sugar and brown sugar
- cut butter in to the flour mixture until mixture looks like pea gravel or coarse crumbs (you may need to use your hands!)
- pour the fruit mixture into a greased 9x9 baking dish (or equivalent)
- sprinkle the tablespoon of maple sugar over the fruit
- cover the fruit with the flour mixture
- pop in the oven for 45-55 minutes until fruit is bubbling and oozing out of the topping and topping is golden.
- let cool - serve with ice cream on it's own!
All the photos for this post except for the pile of rhubarb against the white backdrop were shot outside. The weather has been so beautiful that it seemed like a good idea. I’ve found a nice little alcove under my sundeck where I have an old weathered wooden patio table I always forget about. It makes for a good backdrop.
And, because it’s covered but south facing, I have ample but indirect light! Right now I’m just experimenting with it but I’ll make more detailed notes as I get into a rhythm with the new space.