I’ve had a wonderful few weeks here in St. Paul. Yes, I’ll admit it has been a bit too rainy and cold for my taste, but there have been beautiful days as well. As for those rainy days, well, they green the grass and allow the flowers and trees to bloom. I’ve been wandering around the neighborhood with my children, taking in Spring while they shake off the effects of a Winter spent indoors. Getting back outside is magical.
Once the weather turns for the better, I start counting the days until various fruits and vegetables ripen. Rhubarb is one of the first, and its also one of my favorites. As a child, I never understood why anyone would ever put rhubarb in anything. I had tasted it raw, as many children have, and was less than impressed. Bitter, sour, overly-tough celery. Yum. Now I love baking with it, and love the tartness that it adds to any dessert– especially those that are quite sweet.
Rhubarb goes great in many desserts (rhubarb-strawberry pie, anyone?), but I really love it in that simplest of inventions– the fruit crumble. Cut up some ripe, delicious fruit, mix it with a bit of sugar, then make a crumb topping and bake. Done. It’s the perfect stress-free dessert to throw together and enjoy with friends. It’s very difficult to mess up a crumble– no matter what it’ll be delicious.
The original recipe called for just rhubarb. I’m sure it would be fantastic if you use just the one ingredient, but I didn’t have enough so I improvised. Instead, I replaced half the recipe with fresh organic strawberries. It ended up with that perfect balance of sweet and tartness.
The Recipe: Rhubarb, Strawberry, and Sticky Ginger Crumble
2 3/4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 cups strawberries, cut into large chunks
2/3 cup brown sugar
Zest and juice of 2 small blood oranges (or 1 regular orange)
1 scant cup of whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
2 pieces of fresh ginger, pealed and chopped
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Put the rhubarb half of the sugar (1/3 cup) into a sauce pan. Add the orange juice and zest, put lid on top, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for a couple more minutes, until the rhubarb has softened slightly. Remove from heat and add the strawberries. Pour into an ovenproof baking dish and spread out evenly.
To make the crumble topping, use your fingers to lightly rub together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the oats, walnuts, the rest of the sugar (1/3 cup), and the ginger. (If you like, you can make the crumble topping in the food processor. Just add the flour, butter, sugar, and ginger and pulse a few times. Then add the oats and walnuts and pulse for a few seconds more.) Sprinkle the crumble over the rhubarb and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rhubarb is bubbling and the crumble is golden.
Source: Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie At Home Cookbook
Thanks again for stopping by for a visit! Would love to hear if you are making any of the recipes and how they are turning out for you. Hope you have a great start to the week!
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