I’ve held off on baking for a few weeks now and couldn’t resist the urge last night. Although a luscious cake sounded good, I knew something using fruit would be a better choice so I made a ‘crisp’ with rhubarb, cherries, and apples.
I love the sharp, tangy flavor of rhubarb and received several stalks in my last two friday produce shipments. The key to using rhubarb is to pair it with something sweet, like strawberries. I didn’t have any berries on hand but did have a few apples and figured they would work well. As I prepared the fruit, I remembered a bag of sweet cherries in the freezer and added a few of them too!
There may be some debate about how healthy this dessert is … it does use Splenda, which you are either for or against. I like using it here and there to cut out lots of sugary calories and this was my first time using the Splenda brown sugar.
In general, I think Splenda can create an overly sweet flavor, but the overly tart rhubarb matches it well and I think it works in this situation.
Figure-Friendly Rhubarb Crisp
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 3/4″ pieces
2 apples, cored and sliced (do not peel)
1 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen)
1 tablespoon white flour
1 cup splenda
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white flour
1 cup regular rolled oats (not instant)
7 tablespoons light butter spread (I used light Smart Balance)
1/2 cup splenda brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Place fruit in a mixing bowl and combine with 1 tablespoon flour and 1 cup splenda. Pour mixture into a baking dish.
Prepare the topping by combing the wheat flour, cornmeal, and white flour with the rolled oats, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I used my fingers to mush it all together until it formed a somewhat crumbly dough. Use your fingers to pinch of bits of the dough and drop onto the top of the fruit.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until fruit is tender and bubbling up through the topping.
The crisp turned out well with a couple interesting things to note. The topping isn’t as rich or crumbly as it would be with full-strength butter. However, it has a pleasing cookie-like texture and tastes great. I’ve also been playing with a blend of flours (wheat, white, corn) and liked it in this topping. The goal was to reduce the white flour content and boost the topping with higher-fiber whole grains. The cornmeal adds an extra bit of crunch which I liked. I’ve also used this flour combination when making corn bread and it turns out wonderful!
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