Tucked behind rough, twisted twin scrub oaks that supported a rainbow-colored Mexican hammock we rarely, if ever, used lay a shady secret garden best referred to as the “Pucker Patch”. While the rest of our childhood yard turned out buckets of sweet, delicious things like raspberries and wild strawberries, the edibles that grew in the Pucker Patch were dedicated to a different sort of taste sensation; if you’ve ever tasted wild gooseberries, currants, chokecherries, and especially rhubarb, you will know and understand that taste sensation to be a truly mouth-puckering experience.
As much as we children would have liked to use the hammock more frequently, the stinging nettles fought us for the turf and ultimately won until my mother, armed with a weed whacker, reclaimed that area of the yard. Of course, with reclamation came unrestricted access to the “Pucker Patch”, and we’d get to harvest armfuls of bright red rhubarb.
This is my Nana’s recipe for Rhubarb Butter Crunch. The ingredients are simple; it is exceptionally easy to make, and is so delicious that my son requested I make this in lieu of a cake for his birthday.
Nana’s Rhubarb Butter Crunch
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine:
4 C fresh or frozen rhubarb
1-1/2 C sugar
3 Tbsp flour
Place mixture in greased 7”x11” pan, distributing evenly across the bottom.
In another bowl, combine:
1 C brown sugar
1 C flour
1 C rolled oats
½ C butter
With pastry blender or two knives used scissors-fashion, cut until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the rhubarb mixture.
Bake 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. If desired, serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or drizzled with unsweetened heavy cream or half-and-half.