Today is my husband’s birthday and we’re having a small, socially distanced family dinner. Just 5 guests, big picnic table, no hugs, stay outside. Minimal risk. Kinda sucks, but at least we’re together.
To make up for the Covid-19 suckiness, we are going to have amazing food! Mike chose seafood, so we have large scallops and shrimp for grilling on skewers, local lake trout marinated in soy sauce and lemon juice and garlic, also grilled to perfection, fresh Ontario asparagus, rice for the carb eaters, and as a birthday dessert – rhubarb crisp!
Rhubarb, actually a vegetable (think stem, like celery), is the first “fruit” of the temperate northern summer. Many think of it as a “spring tonic”, rejuvenating the blood and digestion after a long winter of storage foods. Its tartness and crunch would have been a welcome change after a winter of eating out of the root cellar – mealy apples and limp carrots. It’s a good source of Vitamin C and the plant version of Vitamin K. It’s also a good source of fibre, thanks to all the stiff cell walls that make up the stem. It has lots of calcium, over 100 mg in a cup, but with it’s extremely high oxalate content, most of the minerals are not likely to be well absorbed. For those avoiding oxalates, it’s not a great choice. One of my dinner guests will be avoiding the rhubarb dessert and sticking with ice cream.
Rhubarb, a hearty perennial, was a pioneer and farmhouse favourite. It’s dead easy to grow, returning year after year. If you have a corner of your garden that is sunny and well-drained, you can plant your own patch and enjoy it every spring for years to come.
The downside of all that wonderful spring tartness is that most people only serve rhubarb in a 50-50 mix with white sugar. As kids, I hated rhubarb, but my brother would pull a stalk, dip the damp cut end into a bowl of white sugar and eat it like celery. Every bite came with a sugar coating…
As an adult, I had to get past the “dietitian mindset” and allow myself to sweeten it adequately, then I discovered that I love rhubarb. So now, every spring season includes several rhubarb dishes, usually just crisp since that’s my favourite.
This June, I’m strict keto-ing, along with a friend, in a month that includes four birthdays and my wedding anniversary! Mike’s is birthday number one of that parade. So what to do?
The following is my modification of rhubarb crisp. It turned out awesome! If you have a bigger crowd to feed, you can size up the recipe accordingly, but I made two small ramekins of keto crisp for myself and a traditional one for the non-keto-ers (using only organic sugar and flour of course – no glyphosates for my precious family!) The first bowl became breakfast, the second will be for the birthday supper. I added some heavy cream over top – it was decadent and delicious. Enjoy!
Keto Rhubarb Crisp
- 1 1/2 cup raw rhubarb washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tbsp monkfruit/erythritol blend sweetener or sweetener of choice
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 3 tbsp raw pecans chopped
- 2 tbsp monkfruit/erythritol blend sweetener (can also use a golden sweetener for a more brown sugar taste)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp butter softened or melted
- Mix chopped rhubarb and first sweetener amount and stir to combine. Divide between two small ramekins (1 cup size each).
- Chop pecans, not too fine, as they provide the crunch in the finished topping. Add almond flour and cinnamon and mix. Add soft or melted butter and mash together to mix thoroughly. Carefully spoon the topping over the rhubarb. It might be quite full, but will cook down.
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet for safety (in case of boiling over), and bake at 375F for about 25-30 minutes. They should be bubbly and the topping browned nicely.
- Serve warm. Top with heavy cream, whipped cream or keto ice cream if desired.