Do I really want to start an “I hate to bake” rant here on my blog? Take a look at my postings and you will find precious few dessert recipes. Ok , actually this may be the first one I have posted to date. I suppose … “hate” is too strong a word. Suffice to say I rarely bake because A) I am not gifted at it; B) My tastes tend to lean more toward savory than sweet and; C) My 50-year-old metabolism does not take kindly to large amounts of refined sugar and butter.
That said… while in Wisconsin over the weekend, I came across a generous bounty of end-of-the-season strawberries at the local farm. Their sweet smell enticed me and on impulse I purchased an enormous box of them, knowing that this meant many baking projects in my near future. But I didn’t care. I was under their spell. The fact that several bunches of fresh rhubarb next to them sealed the deal.
Making an actual pie was out of the question due to time constraints and the fact that the few times I have been reduced to tears in the kitchen always seem to occur while I am making a pie crust. A “crumble” or “crisp,” now THAT I can do. And this recipe seemed to fit my needs perfectly. Simple and straight forward. My sweet red berries and tart ruby stalks needed little adornment. Just some sugar and a flavorful, crunchy oatmeal topping. Served warm with french vanilla ice cream, and I’m suddenly re-thinking this whole baking thing.
Farmers Market Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and halved (about 6 cups)
1 1/2 pounds fresh rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 to 1 1/4 cups sugar, depending on sweetness of strawberries
3 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, slightly softened
Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
To make filling, gently stir all ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a 3-quart shallow baking dish.
To make the topping, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter with fingertips until mixture forms small clumps.
Crumble the topping evenly over the filling. Bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly on rack. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Serves 8 to 10