Rhubarb, Apple and Coconut Crisp

When I saw some nice fresh rhubarb in the market, I immediately grabbed a few stems. I didn’t have a clear idea of what to do with it, but also didn’t want to let it stand for too long. My solution was to make a version of my “usual” fruit crisp (recipe can be found HERE) with it.
A crisp, or a crumble, is ideal for a last minute type of dessert. It can be assembled quickly, and placed in the oven while dinner is prepared. By the time you’re done with dinner, the crisp will be ready to be served.
In most crisps, the crumbs mixture is used only as a topping for the fruits, but I prefer to divide the mixture and use half of it for the base. This not only makes for easier serving, it adds another layer of texture and flavor to the dish.
In the version I have here, I substituted half of the semolina with desiccated unsweetened coconut. This small change made a huge difference – the aroma from the coconut and butter while baking was wonderful, and the roasted coconut added lots of flavor. No doubt I’ll use this “trick” again. Try it and enjoy.

* The crisp is at its best when freshly baked and served warm.
* If you can’t find fresh rhubarb, red plums, cherries, a mix of berries, or any soft fruit, can be used instead.
* I prefer to use less sugar in the crisp, but if you like it sweeter you can increase the overall sugar amount up to two cups.

Makes: 12
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes

For the crisp layer:
1 stick (115 grams) butter, cold, cut into large cubes
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar (see notes)
½ cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
½ cup fine semolina
¼ tsp salt
For the fruit layer:
3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb (from 4 stems, leaves part removed)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, coarsely grated
½ cup brown sugar (see notes)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 360F(180C). Line 9”X11”(22.5X28cm) baking pan with baking paper.
2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, briefly process the butter, flour, sugar, coconut, semolina and salt, to form a crumbly mixture.
3. Spread half of the mixture over the baking paper and flatten it with a spatula.

4. In a large bowl, mix the sliced rhubarb, grated apples, sugar and vanilla. Spread evenly over the crumbs mixture in the pan. Top loosely with the rest of the crumbs mixture.

5. Bake for 50 minutes, until the top layer is golden. Keep in a warm place until ready to serve. Serve warm.

Figs and Almonds Cake

Figs and Almonds Cake Ronit PensoAnyone who tried fresh figs in any Mediterranean country is likely to be a bit disappointed with American figs. I’m not sure why exactly, but they never taste the same. Since I’m a big fig fan, this is not to say I’ve stopped trying. Whenever I see reasonable looking figs, which is not very often, I buy them and hope this time it’s going to be different. Continue reading

Apple-Cherry Semolina Crisp

Apple-Cherry Semolina Crisp Ronit PensoFruit crisps are traditionally made of a layer of fruit topped with a crumbly mixture. In the recipe here, I’ve decided to change the original idea a bit and divide the topping mixture in two: half for a base layer and the other half for the topping. The result is more cake-like than the familiar crisp, but as easy and as quick to make as one. Continue reading

Citrus, Pistachio and Semolina Cake

Citrus, Pistachio and Semolina Cake Ronit Penso

Winter for me is the time for all citrus fruits, especially oranges. On top of eating them as is, or adding them to salads, I also always try to incorporate them in cookies and cakes. Lately I’ve been experimenting with Blood oranges as well, so I’ve decided to use both in a cake, combined with tangerine juice, and the result is before you. Continue reading

Plums and Prunes Cake

Plums and Prunes cake Ronit PensoPlum season is almost over, but there are still enough plums to make this very easy and quick moist cake, in which the plums serve as the main ingredient in both forms – fresh and dried.
The fresh plum puree gives the cake its’ moist texture, while the prunes add their deep unique sweetness and color. The red wine adds another layer of flavor, and the moist “icing” gives an extra kick of sweetness.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy this combination once you’ll make the cake. Continue reading

Chocolate Banana Cake

Banana Chocolate cake Ronit PensoI was about to make a chocolate cake, when I noticed didn’t have the amount of butter the recipe required. Noticing I have three very ripe bananas in the kitchen, I thought the bananas could act as a butter substitute, while also add their unique flavor to the cake. The result was a rich and moist cake – definitely a keeper.
Try it and see for yourself.

Continue reading