Simply Tart Rhubarb Apple Crisp {Recipe Redux}

Ω August 22nd, 2015 Ω Tagged , , , , Ω 4 Comments

rhubarb apple crisp

You’d never know it based on the mercury bursting out the top of our hypothetical old-timey thermometer, but fall is approaching. Soon we’ll be donning wool clothing and making non-ironic pumpkin recipes. I can’t wait. These 100+ degree temperatures have been wearing away at me faster than a hot dessert over ice cream.

Speaking of.


This month’s Recipe ReDux theme had me heading straight for the kitchen with an idea for a hot dessert of my own.

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday/vacation season, August is the time many families get ‘back to routine.’ Show us your favorite recipe to help families get ‘back to the dinner table.’ It might be a favorite family recipe from your childhood that you’ve ReDuxed; or maybe it’s your family’s current favorite. Let’s all gather back at the table!


Peter and I often make fruit desserts in the summer, and one of our favorites is a fruit crisp. While we usually agree on the fruit filling, our interests diverge when it comes to the topping. Peter prefers a butter-filled crumb topping akin to the top layer of a coffee cake while I enjoy a lighter, crunchier topping packed with oats. How do we decide which topping to make? When I make a fruit crisp, I use a crumb topping. When Peter makes one, he uses a crunchy oat topping.

This is marriage, dear reader.


For this recipe, I decided to combine our two loves into a crunchy oat topping with a hint of butter and crumb.

rhubarb apple crisp

Why rhubarb and apple? Unlike the rhubarb strawberry crisp I made a year ago, this crisp contains the perfect marriage of summer-y rhubarb and the quintessential fall apple. (Was that metaphor heavy enough for you?) Light on sugar and heavy on whole grains, this healthy dessert will have you wondering if your life began with the first bite.*

*Results may vary. A bite may cause a reaction ranging from an exclamation of “by golly gee!” to spontaneous bursting into a top ten show tunes song. I can write anything I want here because no one ever reads the fine print anyway. Educate, folks!



If you’re worried there’s not enough sugar in the recipe, don’t be! Remember The Rhubarb Meter?

chartz the second

This recipe is designed to show off the wonderful flavors of rhubarb and apple without being cloyingly sweet. Give it a try, and I’ll bet you won’t miss a single pinch of sugar. Besides, if you serve this dessert with a little vanilla ice cream, isn’t that all the sweetness you need?

rhubarb apple crisp

Simply Tart Rhubarb Apple Crisp

  Prep Time: 15 minutes

  Cook Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients (Serves 16)

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced
  • 3 cups tart apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Pinch salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb and apples. Sprinkle sugar and cornstarch over the top and mix. Spoon mixture into a 9-inch by 9-inch baking pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle butter over all and combine. Sprinkle over fruit. If more texture is desired, chill topping for 15 minutes, then use fingers to form grape-sized balls of topping. Scatter over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is crisp and fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.

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P.S. Check out the other awesome Recipe ReDux creations here!

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The Little House Cookbook, Part 1: Apple Turnovers

Ω August 17th, 2015 Ω Tagged , , , Ω 9 Comments


Back in June, I lamented the fact that I was so busy, I couldn’t fulfill my summertime goal of cooking my way through The Little House Cookbook. No longer!


Although summer is almost is over, my goal remains. Why not make it a long-term goal? Over the next however long (way to make a SMART goal, Jessie), I will make every single recipe in The Little House Cookbook. As written. This experience should be interesting as some recipes call for ingredients that I literally cannot procure. Like starlings, a type of small bird that must be hunted wild. I have a feeling that the end of this journey will involve some creative shenanigans.

You might be wondering why in Maddie‘s name would I want to cook through a book of old-timey pioneer recipes that use obscure ingredients and little seasoning?

(1) I like a challenge.
(2) Coincidentally, I also enjoy occasional kitchen torture.
(3) Just kidding. These recipes are actually really fun, and they have tons of history behind them. The 1800’s were an interesting time in America.
(4) I’ve made some of the recipes before. Verdict? Awesome.
(5) I’ve been a huge fan of the Little House books since I was a kid.

And finally,

(6) As mentioned in this classic post, The Little House Cookbook is one of my five most influential cookbooks. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is my most influential cookbook of all time.


Quoted from the aforementioned post:

The very first real recipe I ever cooked was from The Little House Cookbook. Up until the age of nine or ten, the most “cooking” I had ever done was to layer roast beef and cheese in a dish, sprinkle it with salt, and microwave it (no, I’m NOT kidding). Then one day, I laid my eager little hands on this cookbook and took a leap forward in culinary prowess in the form of Almanzo’s apple turnovers, made from scratch. Sure, apple juice ran everywhere and the crust was thicker than a hand-knit sweater, but those turnovers were MINE.

(On a side note: How narcissistic cool is it that I quoted from my own post within a new post? There’s something very meta about it.)

Of course, I had to begin with the classic apple turnover.


While mixing the filling ingredients, I encountered my first stumbling block. Having gained some kitchen experience in the last, oh, twenty years or so, I was tempted to add “embellishments” to the original recipe. Honey inched its way toward the apples, and lemon dangled precariously over the innocent bowl. It was a battle, dear reader.


Using these ingredients would have abandoned the pioneer spirit. Almanzo’s family surely would have had access to honey, yet molasses would have been used more often as a sweetener and that would have overwhelmed the apples. As for lemons? They were a rare treat.

Also, the apple turnover recipe calls for neither.


One enormous improvement over the turnovers my eager nine-year-old hands produced? I now know how to roll a thin pastry dough. This crust was flaky and delicious.


The filling was surprisingly flavorful despite consisting of only apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon, although it was a little dry. No fault of the recipe; rather, I suspect the dryness resulted from leaving the apple-sugar-cinnamon mixture in the fridge for two days before actually making the turnovers (oops).


Still, the results were amazing. Taking a bite of this turnover transported me back to the quaint taste of childhood, of apple picking and quiet afternoons in our New York kitchen.

Peter’s verdict? “Hey, that’s really good!” Said in a surprised voice, of course.

[Next up? Fried salt pork with gravy (really).]

Have a wonderful week, dear reader!

P.S. With fall approaching, I want to try this apple-squash turnover recipe. Unique!

P.P.S. A Maddle who thinks she’s gettin’ some turnover.


P.P.P.S. Nope. Sorry, pup.


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