Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp

In my 27 years, I’d never been to Cape Cod before this summer. My family always took our summer vacations up to Maine, and off-season trips to the Vineyard in the fall. Cape Cod was only a means for transitioning from the mainland to the Island, where I fell in love year after year with the quaint villages and island communities in the quieter months. I never really thought it necessary to explore the Cape more, because the Island gave me everything I needed. That is, until, I started to share my time with someone whose Cape Cod roots run as deep as my Vineyard ones do.

Coming off of an incredible week on the Cape full of family, new experiences, relaxation, and fun, I’m still completely in awe of how great life can be. It’s obviously not sunshine and roses all the time, but sometimes, it truly is. Often I wish it hadn’t taken so long to reach this state of blissful living, but the mantra ‘better late than never‘ really applies here. What I’ve discovered though – maybe the secret to true happiness? – is that the bliss doesn’t lie in vacations or extravagance or big events, but in little moments and experiences and taking stock in the things you have, no matter how big or small, and appreciating them.

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

As we were wrapping up the week away with a family get-together at my grandparents’ house, this point resonated so strongly for me. I stood at my grandparents’ kitchen window that afternoon, watching the scene outside unfold: a picture so perfect I probably couldn’t have conjured it up on my own. What I saw was my big, boisterous, incredible family, a family I love beyond words, welcoming in a new member to their ranks. To my side stood a cousin I’ve spent too little time with in life, hanging out with me like it was the most normal thing ever, discussing the woes of life as an almost-14-year-old girl. My mom, my grandma, and my aunt wandered past, muttering little nothings I didn’t even hear because I was just so overwhelmed. How lucky.

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

Vacations are definitely wonderful, and provide an often much-needed reprieve from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But a vacation well-played isn’t one where you pack in the most stuff, it’s one where you make the most memories. And memories aren’t just made on the road, they’re made at home, during the unassuming get-togethers and the quiet nights and the early mornings together. Those times when life slows down just enough for you to reel in wonder at the incredible things around you. The abundance. The blessings.

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

We got back from vacation late on Sunday afternoon, and instead of rushing home, my other (better?) half decided to swing by my new house with me to look at the newly refinished floors and newly installed stairs. Once there, he promptly decided to mow the law for fun, and with that duty checked off my to-do list, I snuck inside, whipped out a paintbrush and a can of fresh white paint, and got to work. But not before stealing a few glances outside at the best guy around. Lawn mowing and interior painting are mundane tasks, but sometimes the mundane is so magical. In that moment, it really felt like I had everything I needed. A great companion, a beautiful new home, the physical ability to tackle all of these projects, and the tools to get it all done. They’re all the little things, but with really big meaning.

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

And what does this all have to do with a simple fruit crisp, you ask? Well — like life’s best moments, this crisp is simple. It’s full of bold, delicious, fresh flavors, vibrant color, and a free-form appearance. It may be a bit rough around the edges – surely not polished and perfect – but the flavors are deep and rich, and they convey all sorts of goodness with few ingredients and minimal effort. It’s the good stuff.

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients

  • 9 cups (total) fresh raspberries and rhubarb mixed
  • 4-6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, add fruit and sugar - use less or more depending on how sweet you like your desserts. If you're using more rhubarb, you may want more sugar to offset the tartness. Stir gently to mix. Pour into prepared pan and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and a pinch of sea salt, and stir to combine. Add in the told butter, and either with your hands or a pastry cutter, mix until the butter is evenly distributed and you have a cohesive crisp topping.
  4. Evenly scatter crisp topping over fruit, and bake in your preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the crisp topping is golden brown.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with dairy-free ice cream or coconut whipped cream.
  6. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days, though best when fresh.
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