My rhubarb is pushing up through the earth in my garden which means it’s high time to use up last year’s frozen rhubarb. It’s also time to work through the remaining jams and compotes I put up each year. My jams are really more like compotes–not very sweet and a bit looser than regular jams. I have long used these fruit preserves to sweeten, thicken and flavor desserts, from crisps and crumbles to pies, cobblers and tarts and coffee cakes. This weekend I added 1/4 pint each blackberry lime jam and Italian prune compote to frozen rhubarb for a simple crisp. I reduce the sugar I would have added to the fruit a little and I get more flavor, color and lovely syrupy fruit.
You could use most any kind of fruit, frozen or fresh and any kind of fruit preserve. I still have frozen peaches and may make a cobbler with those and some raspberry jam. Use what you have. I don’t think you can go wrong!
Rhubarb Crisp with Blackberry and Italian Prune Preserves
For the fruit:
1 tablespoon cornstarch (if you’re using really juicy fruit like rhubarb, berries or peaches–apples, pears, and the like certainly don’t need cornstarch)
1/2 cup sugar or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional but lovely with these fruits)
About 5-6 cups rhubarb, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (fresh or frozen–thawed if frozen)
1/2 cup fruit preserves/compote (I used blackberry and prune)
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose or a combination)
1/2 – 3/4 cup walnuts or almonds, lightly toasted and chopped or ground (optional)
Generous 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 -2/3 cup sugar (more if you like your desserts on the sweeter side–this will be quite tart if using rhubarb). And the amount of sugar will also depend on how sweet your jams are–if quite sweet reduce the sugar a bit.
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients well and then stir in the melted butter and press everything together with your fingers to get varied size crumbs and then set aside.
In another bowl mix the cornstarch and sugar and cardamom, if using, and preserves (s) together and add to the fruit. Toss well to evenly mix.
Put the fruit mixture in a 9 x 13 pan and top evenly with crumble mixture. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned and the fruit juices are bubbling and syrupy. Cool for about 20 – 30 minutes before serving.