The local fruit market got rhubarb this week! I was so excited when I grabbed a handful to toss in my basket because we had some early spring strawberries at home that I knew would be the perfect match.
Also I wanted dessert.
That happens a lot. A Lot.
Funny story. I just switched the winter comforter on our bed to the lighter spring/summer blanket. I guess I got overly excited about spring and did it too early because I’ve been freezing my ass off at night. So I shoved a cozy fluffy throw under the sheets to keep my feet warm, but at 2 am I wrestled to pull it up, my hand slipped, and I punched myself right in the face.
I wish I would have just knocked myself back to sleep, but instead I lay there annoyed at my weak late-night hands and tried to focus on happy thoughts, baking thoughts…which led me to the rhubarb we bought. Before long I was thinking of the endless possibilities of strawberry rhubarb; muffins, cakes, crisp, crumble, jam, bars, ice cream…and eventually drifted back to sleep peacefully.
My loss/sore face is your gain.
So today, I present to you middle-of-the-night inspired strawberry rhubarb crisp with cinnamon oatmeal streusel. I love this recipe because it’s not overly sweet. The tart rhubarb speaks for itself while the strawberries balance it with their familiar sweet flavor. The hint of warm spice is perfect in the oatmeal streusel, and it’s brought together with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Crisps are fairly simple to make. Grab some fruit, throw it in a dish, sprinkle a topping, bake, eat. They’re always a crowd-pleaser and super easy to throw together in a pinch. There’s a few tips and tricks to keep in mind, whatever combination you want to make, and you can be creative with what you use depending on what’s hanging around in your kitchen this season.
Things to keep in mind:
-Fruit will get sweeter as it bakes, so don’t overload it with sugar.
-Some fruits release more juice than others (berries vs apples, por ejemplo), so try to keep an appropriate balance when mixing fruits and adding thickener. In this recipe, it’s vital to keep the ratio of strawberries to rhubarb so the crisp doesn’t become soupy.
-Crisp=oatmeal in the topping, crumble=no oatmeal in the topping.
-Don’t pat a streusel topping or it will be like trying to crack a frisbee when it’s out of the oven.
-Be brave and play around with combinations, it will likely taste good even if it’s not always pretty. I worked at an ice cream shop for one day in high school, and when I asked how to make the different sundaes, the boss said to me, “It’s a sundae, ya can’t screw it up, just do it.” The man had a point.
Here’s my shot at it today.
- 1 lb rhubarb, washed and sliced into 1/2 in pieces (5-6 medium stalks)
- 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/4 c granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 c flour
- 1/2 c light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 c old fashioned oatmeal
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1/2 pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb and strawberries together.
Sprinkle sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla over the top, and gently combine until no traces of white are left.
Transfer to a 2 qt baking dish (no need to butter), and let sit while you make the topping.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, and oatmeal.
Add butter, and using your fingertips (or pastry cutter), rub together until the mix resembles wet sand.
Add pecans and stir.
Sprinkle (don't pat) the streusel over the top of the fruit.
Bake for 45-50 min until top is golden brown and fruit is lightly bubbling around the edge.
Let cool for 15-20 min, then serve with ice cream.