This recipe reminds me of my grandma so much! She had huge rhubarb plants and I remember thinking the leaves were surely something the dinosaurs ate way back when. I also remember her telling me the leaves are toxic but the stems are delicious when cooked. That fun fact fascinated me as kid!
Grandma Sweetie, as I used to call her, came over on Sundays with pies and desserts. She often brought stalks of green rhubarb from her garden and cooked them down with sugar and water. She called it “stewed rhubarb” and I could hardly wait for it to cool before digging into a bowl full. I started eating rhubarb at a young age so I am always delighted to see it as a leading ingredient in spring desserts as an adult. That being said, I know many people who say they don’t like rhubarb and I sure have to wonder what’s not to like!!
For those people who are more apprehensive about trying rhubarb, this dessert combines two terrific flavor partners, sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb. These two dial up one another in a magical way. The fruit filling is easy to assemble. The topping also comes together simply as long as you use cold butter as directed. To serve this dish successfully, allow it to cool for at least an hour after baking so that the fruit mixture can firm up a bit. Because the moisture content of homegrown strawberries varies tremendously this desert produces a juicy filling. No worries, just serve your portions in a bowl.
If you want to try an excellent vintage recipe guaranteed to blow your socks off, give this recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp a try! I know Grandma Sweetie will be smiling.
Eat well this strawberry season,
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
4 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch pieces
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved if large
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. grated orange zest
3 Tbs. cornstarch
½ cup orange juice
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a metal baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter bottom and sides of an 8-by-11-inch baking dish. Place baking dish on the baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
In a large 6-quart bowl, toss rhubarb, strawberries, granulated sugar and orange zest. Set aside. With a fork, stir cornstarch in orange juice until completely dissolved; about 1 minute. Add to the reserved fruit mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pour fruit mixture into the baking dish. Set aside.
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) uncooked or dry oatmeal
12 Tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, dice each tablespoon into 4 pieces
In a 2-quart bowl, mix together flour, granulated and brown sugar, salt and oatmeal. Distribute pieces of cold butter over top of the dry mixture. Using a metal forks, pastry blender or food processor combine butter into the mixture until crumbly. (Take care not to over mix; the mixture should be crumbly.)
Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Allow to cool about 1 hour before serving. (The crisp will be ‘soupy’ if served too hot.) Serve warm with Eckert’s vanilla custard if desired.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.