Rhubarb has never been in my baking vocabulary.  Never really even knew what it was until recently.  A neighbour of mine used to have some growing in her backyard.  To me, they kinda looked like overgrown weeds.

One year, we were chatting and she cut a few stalks and handed them over.  I kind of stared at them blankly for a few minutes and then finally asked…ummm….what is this?  She told me it was rhubarb.  Once again, blank look.  “What do I do with it?”    She started to list all the things I could bake and cook.  Jams, pies, crisps, compotes.   I thanked her and took the stalks into the house, set them on the counter and kind of just left them there for the day, eventually throwing them out.

But this past week, I’ve discovered the joys of rhubarb!  My sister, Rose, has been visiting from Ireland and every time she does, we get baking.  I’m not really sure how the topic of rhubarb came up, but it did and I told her that the house next door to my mom’s had plenty of rhubarb growing.   So we decided to go on a late night rhubarb collecting mission.

Picking rhubarb in the neighbours yard
Picking rhubarb in the neighbour's yard

While my nephew, Evan, rode piggy back announcing to the entire neighbourhood “We’re pickin’ rhubarb!”, we marched into the yard and cut ourselves a few stalks.  The stalks we picked were red at the bottom and slowly became green towards the top.  Not really sure, but I think they should have been all red.

Fresh picked rhubarb and local blueberries
Fresh picked rhubarb and local blueberries

We had a pint of local blueberries so we decided to make a rhubarb and blueberry crisp.  After a quick search online, we came across this recipe for Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp with Pistachio Crust on the site A Chow’s Life and decided to go for it.

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp with Pistachio Crust
Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp with Pistachio Crust

How delicious does that look???  Well, let me tell you that it tasted even better.  We served it warm with a scoop of ice cream and it was amazing.  AMAZING!  The rhubarb added a tart flavour to the crisp.  Not really sure what I was expecting rhubarb to taste like but it was actually really good.

Of course, this isn’t the end of our rhubarb exploration.  I’ll write up another post this week about the classic combination of rhubarb and strawberries and how we used leftover rhubarb to make compote.

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp with Pistachio Crust
from A Chow’s Life
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 pound rhubarb
2 cups blueberries
For topping:
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.  In a bowl stir together sugar and flour. Trim rhubarb and cut enough of stalks into 1/2-inch pieces to measure 2 cups. Add rhubarb and blueberries to sugar mixture, tossing well, and spread mixture in baking dish.

Make topping: Finely chop pistachios. In a bowl whisk together flour and sugars. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and with your fingers or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add pistachios and toss well.

Squeeze a handful of topping together and coarsely crumble in chunks over filling. Squeeze and evenly crumble remaining topping over filling in same manner. Bake crisp in upper third of oven until filling is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden, about 50 minutes.
Serve crisp warm or at room temperature.