If you’re looking for something to really WOW your guests this 4th of July, look no further. This recipe for strawberry rhubarb crumble was hands down a top contender for the title of the “Best Thing I’ve Ever Made.” Rhubarb is a single stalk of a celery bunch and is one of the first items of produce available in the spring. In 1947, the U.S. Customs Court in New York chanted rhubarb’s designation from a vegetable to a fruit. Rhubarb has a savory flavor and is commonly made with strawberries. The flavors of strawberry and rhubarb go together like salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, bread and butter. Take advantage of the abundance of in-season strawberries and rhubarb before its too late and TRY THIS NOW!!!
The first time I ever tasted rhubarb was at Blue Smoke when pastry chef Jennifer Giblin made a strawberry rhubarb pie for the restaurant. I never forgot my first bite, and was so blown away by the perfect marriage between the strawberries and the rhubarb. I knew the the love affair between me and the rhubarb would blossom into a life long romance and I was correct.
As a general rule, 1 pound of fresh rhubarb equals about 3 cups chopped or 2 cups cooked. When working with rhubarb, be sure to wash and trim the ends and remove the leaves before using. (The roots and leaves contain oxalic acid and can be toxic.) You will notice that the rhubarb stalks that are especially large have fibrous and stringy skin that needs to be removed.
Here is a recipe from an amazing Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, which I adapted from a recipe I found in Bon Appetite. A crumble is a British dessert where raw fruit is topped with a crumble pastry mixture and baked. This topping is usualy a streusel, consisting of flour, sugar, butter and spices. Streusel topping is very easy to make and can be sprinkled on coffeecakes, breads, muffins and cakes. This is an easy go-to recipe you will want to use again and again and is especially useful if you need to feed dessert to a crowd.
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats
1 cup of chopped almonds
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1//2 of vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 pound of strawberries, hulled and halved (or quartered if jumbo size)
1 pound of red rhubarb, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces (12 small stalks or 6 large, cut off ends)
Vanilla ice cream
Sprig of fresh mint
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, 3/4 cup of sugar and pinch of salt in a bowl. Rub in chunks of butter with fingertips until it forms coarse crumbs. Mix in oats and almonds. Cover and set aside (if hot, let sit in refrigerator.)
Spray a large tray with Pam baking spray (or use crisco or butter). Place 3/4 cups of sugar in a large bowl. Add seeeds from vanilla bean and mix well. Add strawberries and rhubarb. Scrape the fruit filling into a large shallow dish. (I used a 9X14 rectangular disposable tin baking dish.) Sprinkle crumble topping over the fruit filling. Spray with Pam baking spray or add some thin slices of butter over the crumble filling to get a golden brown topping.
Bake until filling bubbles and and is crisp and crunch, 45 -60 min. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream and a spring of fresh mint on top.