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Bebopareebop Rhubarb Pie

Tue Jun 3, 2008

Rosemary Rhubarb Crisp

Rosemary Rhubarb Crisp

If you’ve ever listened Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” then you probably have the jingle for Bebopareebop Rhubarb Pie running through your head right now, poking sharply at the corners of your brain as you sing. I first heard of rhubarb about ten years ago, listening to the old-fashioned radio variety show on NPR. The jingle was annoyingly addictive, particularly since I’d never had rhubarb before. When I found some of the slender, celery-like ruby stalks at the Tahoe City farmers’ market I had to try it, if only to get the song out of my head. I loved the way its tartness, when raw, twisted my face like a mop. And I loved how just a touch of sugar tamed its tangy nature, harnessing a quality that was indescribably rhubarb-like. After that first rhubarb experience (I made a pie, of course) I’ve sought out this odd-duck treat season after season to celebrate spring.

Traditionally grown in colder climates, rhubarb isn’t terribly easy to find in Southern California, but in places like the Midwest it’s rumored you can’t walk five feet without tripping over rhubarb. After searching the weekly farmers’ markets to no avail, I was able to find it at the old Farmers’ Market on 3rd and Fairfax. Rhubarb is a member of the buckwheat family and, though generally used in desserts like pies and crisps, it is actually a vegetable. Its leaves are inedible; they contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic, so you generally find it already stripped and blushing. Rhubarb is at its peak from April to June and is a fabulous complement to other produce available at that time, particularly strawberries, but also cherries and early spring peaches. You can make it into sorbet, pair it with savories like pork or strong cheese, or bake it into crisps, pies, buckles, crumbles and compotes. Once you find rhubarb you’ll fall in love with its versatility.

I decided to play around with one of my favorite rhubarb preparations, the crisp, for this recipe adding a kiss of black pepper spice and some rosemary and reserving some of the sugar from a previous recipe. The results were so tasty; I ate the crisp hot for dessert with a scoop of ricotta cheese (mascarpone or vanilla ice cream would be delicious, too) and on its own for breakfast. It’s easy to make and could probably be cooked in a baking dish on the grill if it’s too hot to turn on the oven. Bebopareebop!

Rosemary Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups fresh rhubarb (about 1-1 ½ lbs), cut into ¾-inch pieces
½ cup fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

¾ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup Multi Grain Hot Cereal (Trader Joe’s) or oatmeal
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients, tossing to coat the strawberries and rhubarb thoroughly with flour and sugar. Pour into a small baking dish or individual ramekins. In another bowl, mix brown sugar, melted butter, multi-grain cereal and flour and sprinkle over the rhubarb mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the rhubarb is tender. Serve alone, with ricotta, mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.

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4 Responses to “Bebopareebop Rhubarb Pie”

  1. Neal Says:

    Holy cow! This was one of my favorite desserts you’ve ever made!

    Rhubarb is great, but mixing it with strawberries and cinnamon … It was off the charts!!!

    Oh yeah and… BEBOPAREEBOP!!

  2. Nikki Says:

    I found you on Foodbuzz. I like your picture 🙂 Thank you for giving me some insight on rhubarb. A friend asked me earlier today about it and I had to shrug my shoulders and say, It’s good with berries and cherries.”

    You blog is beautiful BTW. What is that on the title? A pizza?

  3. la stomach Says:

    I am addicted to rhubarb. Now, I’m not sure I should be telling you this since I’ve been scooping up every last stalk each Sunday at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, but there’s a farmer there who’s still growing it. I just spoke to them this week and they said they are trying to grow it year round. So head over to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market for your rhubarb fix.

    I’ve posted a few things about my rhubarb adventures:



  4. Rosemary Olive Oil Ice Cream | SpicySaltySweet Says:

    […] into fresh ricotta drizzled with honey for a bruschetta and snuck it chopped up fine into an earthy rhubarb crisp. I was looking forward to baking it into Nancy Silverton’s rosemary olive oil cakes when the […]

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