I pick blackberries from the school yard and rhubarb from the side yard. I remember to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect myself from the blackberry brambles, but my hair keeps getting tangled up in the thorns. Later I find a picture of my teenaged self picking blackberries with my best pal, both of us wearing overalls with bandanas tied around our heads*. I cut thin stalks of rhubarb from a forgotten plant and free them from their massive leaves. They are red almost all of the way through. I turn them into summertime crisps. I mix and stir the crumb topping with my hands. I bake them in borrowed ramekins and old jelly jars and they spill all over the baking sheet in the oven. We eat them on my brother's birthday with earl grey ice cream on top, after the babies have been put to bed.
Blackberry Rhubarb Crisp
yield 8-10 individual crisps or, 1 9x13 pan
A few notes on this recipe: If making individual crisps, you'll want heatproof dishes (ramekins, canning jars, etc) that can hold about 6 ounces. The rhubarb gives the filling a wonderful tartness, which is just about perfect with some ice cream on top. I like a fairly equal fruit to crumb topping, so this recipe makes a generous amount. If you don't want to use it all at once it can be frozen for up to 2 weeks. Don't thaw before using, just break up the crumbs and sprinkle them over your dessert before you bake it.
For the Filling
1 1/2 pounds blackberries
3/4 pounds rhubarb, chopped into 1/4''-1/2'' pieces
1 ounce flour
4 1/4 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest (meyer lemon if available)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Crumb Topping
6 ounces softened butter
4 1/2 ounces rolled oats
4 1/2 ounces whole wheat flour (or sub half all purpose)
4 1/4 ounces brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375º
1. In a large bowl, gently toss the blackberries, chopped rhubarb, flour, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract together. Set aside while you prepare the topping.
2. In a medium bowl combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add in the butter and use your hands to work it into the mixture until it holds together in medium clumps.
3. If making individual crisps, divide the filling mixture evenly between 8-10 ramekins, then top with a generous amount of crumb topping. If making 1, 9x13 crisp pour all of the fruit into the dish and evenly sprinkle the crumb over the top.
4. Place the ramekins or baking dish on top of a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any juices) and slide into the oven. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the the topping is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream on top.
*No doubt an attempt to channel Angela Chase