Rhubarb Hazelnut Crisp


Hello friends!  It has been a very strange few days.  As I type, Loretta is sleeping on the couch.  We both fell asleep while watching cartoons this morning.  Three hours later, she is still asleep.  This is unheard of, and I fear we're getting hit with another round of sickness.  Still neck-deep in grace, though.  It so happened I don't have Milo today and we don't have anywhere we need to be.  I can't remember the last time I fell asleep with one of my children. What a gift to wake up next to her and just lie there, a slight breeze coming through the window and a little gathering of songbirds doing their thing. 

The other strange thing is that, for the first time, I am now distantly connected to one of the casualties in Iraq. Sarah, an acquaintance  from church, lost her 20 year-old brother there this week in a non-combat incident, and I just can't stop thinking about her and her family as they grieve.  I have been vehemently against the war from the beginning, but still grateful for all the men and women sacrificing everything to be there.  The "Support Our Troops" signs generally carried by war supporters have always confused me.  Of course we should be supporting our troops, but I don't support this war.  Sam's death (and I did not know him) reminds me again that his war is real, and reminds me of the call on my life to promote peace.

On the home front, I am very slowly recuperating, still lethargic and almost zero appetite.  In spite of that, several pounds of rhubarb were calling my name last night and I wanted to do something with them before it was too late.  (Thank you, Bethany!) I have made countless crisps in my life--berry, apple, rhubarb, peach--and am a big fan of them.  However, I've had lots that disappoint, mostly because I haven't gotten the topping crunchy enough.  It ends up being more of a sog than a crisp, though still delicious.

I found this recipe in the Food Network Magazine that was at Phyllis' house when we visited.  She may start hiding her magazines from me.  As soon as we walk in, I switch into vacation mode, which means I start hunting for magazines.  It's how I relax, keep myself from reading real things.

If you don't have hazelnuts, you could use pecans or walnuts, but the hazelnuts really put this over the top. And the crunch factor is mostly from melting the butter in the topping instead of using cold butter.  This was my most perfect crisp ever, and the scribbled recipe is now in my official book.  And if you have anyone in your life that is sad, lonely, or grieving, a crisp delivery wouldn't hurt.  May God comfort and sustain you and your family, Sarah.

Rhubarb Hazelnut Crisp
Adapted from the Food Network magazine.  I did 1.5 x this recipe because I had a deep 9x13 and I wanted it chock-full.  If you do these proportions, your crisp will be a little shallower than what's in my photo.

For topping:
1 c. flour
1/3 c. oats
3/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
 1/2 c. chopped hazelnuts
6 Tb. melted butter

For rhubarb:
2 lbs. chopped rhubarb
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 ts. vanilla
zest of one orange (I didn't use, but it would be delicious)

Preheat oven to 350 and get out a 9x13 pan.

For topping, combine dry ingredients and nuts.  Pour melted butter over the top and stir till clumps form. (Clumps are good!)

Toss rhubarb with flour, sugar, vanilla, and orange zest (if using). Put into pan and crumble topping over.

Bake for at least 45 minutes until bubbling.  I baked mine for an hour because it was so huge.