№ 63 - Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp
This is a variation of my rhubarb crisp recipe that takes advantage of the arrival of the first strawberries. Rhubarb and strawberries are a classic dessert combination and it's a happy coincendence they are springtime contemporaries. Replacing half the rhubarb with strawberries in this recipe lends the filling a rich, red color and also cuts some of the sugar needed to deal with the rhubarb.
For the crisp topping:
⅔ cup walnuts
1 ¼ cups flour
6 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 ½ Tbsp regular (granulated) sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
12 Tbps of unsalted, cold butter (1 ½ sticks or 6 oz in weight)
For the filling:
1 ¼ lbs rhubarb
1 quart strawberries (about 1 lb 2 oz)
¾ cups regular (granulated) sugar
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Equipment: Large, 2-inch deep baking dish. (A deeper dish would result in a soupier filling.)
Pre-heat the oven to 375F and bake the walnuts for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Turn the oven to 400F. Chop the nuts coarsely and put in a medium bowl along with all the other topping ingredients. Chop the biggest butter chunks into smaller pieces by sliding two butter knives against each other in the bowl and then work the butter into the mix with your fingers. You want the mixture to stick together but stop short of blending the butter in perfectly. Refridgerate until used.
Wash the rhubarb and trim the stalk ends (including any leafy parts, which are poisoneous). Chop into 1-inch pieces. Rinse the strawberries and remove the green stems. Toss the rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl with the other filling ingredients.
Fill the baking dish with the rhubarb strawberry mixture and crumble the streusel on top with your fingers. Bake for 35 minutes or so, until the topping is golden brown and the rhubarb underneath is bubbling.
When ready to serve, whip the cold cream until it hold soft peaks but before the peaks become pointed or worse the cream turns grainy and eventually into butter. (Since the crisp is so intensely flavored, I prefer the whipped cream unsweetened.) Serve the crisp warm or cold, in bowls with a spoon (or two or three) of whipped cream.
The crisp topping part of the recipe is a version from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food.