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The One Ingredient Your Crisp Is Missing

Elena North-Kelly

June 04, 2018

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Photo: Galdones Photography

Rhubarb is, in all its fleeting glory, inarguably one of springtime's greatest pleasures. As James Beard himself wrote, "The minute I see those enormous leaves and red stalks coming up through the ground... I know that the earth is once more sending forth good things to eat." Another item on the season's hit list? A sweet yet tart strawberry–rhubarb crisp, fresh from the oven. Beard Award nominee Matt Jennings couldn't agree more, and takes the classic dish to new heights with a surprising twist added to the crumble topping: lard.

"Yes! Rendered pork fat makes the topping especially lacy and delicate, with a hint of meaty savor," writes the Boston-based chef in his Beard Award–nominated cookbook, Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots. While the topping may be less traditional than your standard crumble, the recipe itself is flexible; you can apply it to any fruit crisp of your choosing—apple in the fall, peach in late summer, the choices are endless. Upgrade your dessert game.

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Elena North-Kelly is managing editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.