One of my favorite and easy desserts to make is a fruit crumble...or cobbler...or crisp, depending on what you call it. This versatile baked dish oozing with sugary fruit juices around a crunchy crumbly topping lends itself beautifully to whatever fruit is in season. I love to work with stone fruits in the late Summer and apples and pears into the Fall months. Even better is using mixed berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries with a little vanilla bean and voila - you have a delicious end to a meal that everyone will be talking about.
But, as we slowly move from Spring to Summer, there is one combination of fruit that I love to work with: strawberries and rhubarb. Though we won't be seeing the best of the strawberry harvest until early June, right now at the Farmer's Markets they are starting to look (and taste) great. Rhubarb is also in season until about September, so this is a recipe that can (and will) last you throughout the Summer months with the abundance of these two great ingredients.
Rhubarb, being slightly uncommon to most, is a celery-like looking stalk that is red to light green in color. It is a very tart fruit (or vegetable, depending on what part of the world you are in) that when cooked with strawberries, sugar, spices, and orange zest, turns into a lovely soft texture, melting together with all of the other flavors. If you have never worked with rhubarb before, you are missing out. This dish is a true crowd pleaser, especially served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
(*I have adapted this recipe for my own private use from Barefoot Contessa and Epicurious.com)
* about 5 cups (about 2 pounds) rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/4"-1/2" slices
* 2 cups strawberries, stemmed and halved
* 3/4 C sugar
* 1/3 C fresh orange juice
* 2 tbsp AP flour
* 1 small orange, grated
* 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
* pinch of kosher salt
* 1 1/2 C AP flour
* 3/4 C sugar
* 3/4 C brown sugar
* 1/2 tsp kosher salt
* 1 C dry oatmeal
* 8oz (2 sticks) butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large bowl, combine, rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, orange juice, flour, orange peel, nutmeg, and salt; stir well to combine. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes (while making crisp) to allow juices to form.
Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and oatmeal to the bowl and combine with paddle on low speed to combine.
Begin to add in the small cubed and chilled butter to the bowl ; after all has been added, turn mixer on low speed and slowly increase speed to break up butter and allow it to form into a "crumbly sand" like consistency, about 5 minutes.
Add the rhubarb/strawberry mix to a 13" or 14" x 9" x 2" baking dish with all of the juices.
Spread out evenly in the pan.
Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top of the fruit.
Place the pan on top of a cookie sheet (to prevent spillage in the oven) and place in oven for 45 minutes. The juices and fruit will be bubbling up and around the crumble topping.
Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes to cool before serving. When ready, use a spoon or a spatula to remove a portion and serve with a generous scoop of ice cream.
Cheers and enjoy!