Rescue undercooked rhubarb crisp?
June 22, 2011 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Rescuing an undercooked rhubarb crisp: how can I cook the rhubarb interior without destroying the crumble on top?

The other night I baked a rhubarb crisp, giving it about the same time I usually do -- 45 min or so, taking it out when the crumble was golden. Because we weren't going to have it right away, we let it cool and put it in the fridge. Had some for brekkie this morning, and come to find the rhubarb still crunchy -- waaay underdone.

Given that the too-crisp-crisp is now in a ceramic dish at fridge temp, what's my best option for cooking the rhubarb with minimal damage to the crumble (either burning or sogginess) and without undertaking some ridiculous dismantling/reassembly? Microwave? Back in the oven? With/without a cover? Let it come up to room temp first or not?

Oh, and the recipe we use is based on Mark Bittman's, which features a puckeringly tart rhubarb layer underneath a pecan praline crumble. It's delightful. Halves well, too, if you're running short of rhubarb as summer encroaches (use a loaf tin).
posted by Westringia F. to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would tent the crisp with aluminum foil and stick it back in the oven at a low-ish temp - 250 or 300 until tender. Then I'd remove the foil and up the temp to 375 or 400 for 10 minutes or so to recrisp the crumble.
posted by Siena at 7:48 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

If it was me, based on what's in the original recipe, I would try this:

1) let crisp come back to room temp, then
2) put it in the oven at a fairly low temp (like, say, 300) covered with tinfoil, for another 30 mins. (or until a knife or toothpick poke past the crisp layer feels like the rhubarb is cooked through). The tinfoil should keep the crumble part from getting too browned, while keeping some steam inside to help the rhubarb get fully cooked.
3) Take the tinfoil off, and increase the heat to 350 or 375 for 10-15 mins - that way, if the crumble got a little soggy underneath the tinfoil during the first step, it will dry out and re-crispify.

Good luck!
posted by amy lecteur at 7:50 AM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]

Or, well, um, yes, what Siena said.
posted by amy lecteur at 7:51 AM on June 22, 2011

Cut your rhubarb into smaller pieces so they'll cook faster.
posted by Specklet at 9:09 AM on June 22, 2011

I'm so sorry, I mis-read! Please disregard my unhelpful comment. Next time you can try smaller pieces.
posted by Specklet at 9:10 AM on June 22, 2011

A short run in the microwave might also work (they do tend to cook from the inside out). But you will have to put it under the broiler for a bit to re-crisp the top because the microwave will make it soggy.
posted by rtimmel at 9:24 AM on June 22, 2011

I came in here to say just what Siena said. I don't think you even need to let it come to room temperature first... just stick it in the oven without pre-heating the oven and let it warm up as the oven does.
posted by booknerd at 9:25 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Microwave 5 minutes, then tent with aluminium and put in a preheated oven for as long as needed till tender, take off the aluminium and get the top crisp again.

And next time, start the fruit off by cooking on the stovetop in a pot, then transfer to a baking pan and put the topping on. You'll have an extra pot to wash but you'll save money from not running the oven for so long.
posted by hazyjane at 11:22 AM on June 22, 2011

Thank you all for the tips!

In the end I took the all-oven route. It took much longer than I'd anticipated -- from room temp, 45 or so min, plus another 10 to re-crisp the top. Came out pretty well, though the topping's tougher than it should be. Still tasty, though!

My guess is that I might have fared better re-cooking it using the microwave + oven technique. I flinched, worried that without being able to stir it I wouldn't be able to nuke it uniformly. But the long time in the oven was a result of if taking so long to merely come up to temperature in the center of the dish, so baking wasn't necessarily a win on that front.

I'm so sorry, I mis-read! Please disregard my unhelpful comment. Next time you can try smaller pieces.

Heh, n/p; you're right that size was definitely the issue. It was late, we got lazy, and some of the pieces were about twice as big as we ordinarily make 'em.

And thanks, hazyjane, for the suggestion of cooking the fruit separately. (I could even see doing that step in the microwave.) If there's any rhubabrb left at market this week, I'll try that out.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:26 AM on June 24, 2011

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