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Grandmother’s Rhubarb Custard Crisp

June 5, 2010

I’m of the opinion that if you live in the Midwest and own any land at all, you should never ever buy rhubarb. Not that I’ve followed my own opinion. Until last year, we’d never even had a rhubarb plant but I got a tiny one for fifty cents (or was it a quarter?) last summer at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market. I used to get rhubarb from a friend because she had some plants and didn’t like the stuff, but she dug them up and threw them away. (Seriously, if you hate rhubarb, don’t throw away your plants! Give them to someone who wants them.)

My dad tells stories about picking stalks of rhubarb from their family’s garden when he was a boy, dipping the stalk in sugar and eating it raw. Now that’s committment.

I prefer to eat rhubarb cooked, though.

There are a lot of rhubarb crisp recipes out there, but this one is unique because it is much more eggy than usual. The original recipe (this has been slightly adapted) was from Celebrate the Harvests!: Michigan Farm Markets and Farm Stands, a cookbook published in 1995 (out of print, but you can get used copies) by the (mostly) theological and biblical studies Grand Rapids based publishing house Eerdmans.

Evelyn’s grandmother made this while she was visiting us several weeks ago. It’s a seasonal recipe best made in the spring and early summer when you can pick fresh rhubarb.

Rhubarb Custard Crisp

2 eggs

2 T. milk

1/2 C. sugar

3 T. flour (whole wheat pastry flour, if you have it)

1/2 t. nutmeg (freshly grated, preferably)

3 C. rhubarb, chopped

1/8 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except the rhubarb, then add the rhubarb and put into a greased square pan (8 by 8 inches).

Streusel Topping:

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/3 C. brown sugar

1/3 C. white sugar

1/2 C. flour (whole wheat pastry, preferably)

1 T. cinnamon

1/2 C. chopped nuts

Blend the sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt with a pastry blender until crumbly. Add nuts and sprinkle over the rhubarb mixture. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until the rhubarb mixture is bubbling and the top is golden brown.

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