Rhubarb is an interesting fruit. For someone like me, who until a few days ago had never even tried it before, the taste is one that can catch one off guard. It’s sweet, kind of. It’s also tart, but not too tart. When paired with strawberries, the two play off the others distinct flavor profiles, creating a new flavor that is just makes your mouth water. Throw in a buttery crumb topping and you have a summer dessert that anyone should be proud of.
This dessert is a milestone moment for me: it is my first time making a crisp! Needless to say, I as a bit worried about mucking the recipe up. While I wasn’t bracing myself for another food disaster (unlike a certain chocolate cake), I was a wee bit worried about preparing the rhubarb. As you will see below, the recipe asks for four cups of peeled rhubarb. Not totally sure about peeling rhubarb, I went to my go-to source, Baker’s Illustrated, just to verify that peeling was indeed the right way to go. Although BI insisted that peeling rhubarb was the correct thing to do, I wasn’t 100% convinced so I sought aid from the internet. Apparently, there is a big debate surrounding rhubarb. To peel or not to peel. Some sources say yes, others say don’t, that peeling rhubarb will remove some of the flavor. Slightly worried about what to do, I decided to go with the directions in my BI. The process was a bit tedious since I did have a quite a bit of rhubarb to go through and a cat that wouldn’t stop playing with the shavings but an hour later, the rhubarb prep was over!!!! Throw in my slices of strawberries and the two made quite the pair.
In the end, peeling seemed like the right choice. The flavor was still there though I am curious about trying it the other way next time. As for the family? They loved it, marking this as a new family favorite. Except for my older sister. She is allergic to strawberries. Ooops. Sorry D.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
From The Back in The Day Bakery Cookbook (serves 8 to 10)
For the Topping:
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon of canola oil
For the Filling:
2 cups of strawberries
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled rhubarb
1 1/4 cup turbinado sugar*
3 tablespoons of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
*If you do not have turbinado sugar like I didn’t, you can substitute it with brown sugar. Don’t worry, the required amount stays the same.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Topping: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, cornmeal, cinnamon, salt, butter, and oil with a
fork hand mixer on low until completely blended. Set aside.
Filling: In another bowl, combine the strawberries and rhubarb with the turbinado sugar, flour, and cornstarch, stirring to coat the fruit.
Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit mixture. Place the pie plate on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown and crispy. Let cool slightly.
Serve the crisp warm. It is best served the same day, but it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.