Another reason to be joyful about the coming of spring -- it's rhubarb season, typically peaking from April through June. Rhubarb crisp needs plenty of sugar to tame its acidity, but its fruity, almost citrus-like flavor still shines through the sweetness.
Size doesn't matter when choosing rhubarb, because tenderness isn't dependent on size; choose the reddest stalks you see for the sweetest flavor and the firmest stalks for freshness.
- For classic American strawberry-rhubarb filling, substitute half of the rhubarb for strawberries, cut in half.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger to the crisp as the British do for rhubarb pies.
- Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar to the rhubarb filling to deepen the flavor of the rhubarb and take away its single-note tartness.
- Substitute frozen rhubarb for fresh, using two 2-ounce packages in place of each 3 cups of fresh fruit, a ratio recommended by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst, authors of The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion.
- Top the crisp with caramel, cinnamon or vanilla ice cream or yogurt.