Until last weekend, I had never worked with rhubarb before. I knew it was often used in pies, but if I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure exactly what it looked like or how it tasted. I don’t do a lot of pie making so rhubarb was left to languish on my mental list of ingredients that I’d get around to trying some day. That day unexpectedly came last Saturday, however, when I was over my friend Emily’s apartment. It was her birthday weekend and she wanted to make a dessert to take to a barbecue her mom was hosting the next day. Since rhubarb is in season, Emily had decided on a recipe for rhubarb-strawberry crisp that she found on the Food Network website. I can never turn down an opportunity to bake, so when I arrived, we set to work.
The first step involved cutting up the strawberries and rhubarb (which resembled a red-hued celery stalk). To the freshly chopped fruit we added granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and triple sec (the recipe calls for Grand Marnier or Cointreau, but triple sec was what we found in the liquor cabinet, so we went with it.) :
From there we made the crumb topping out of butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and flour:
The crisp went into the oven for 45 minutes and the most delightful smell filled the apartment while it cooked. Ah, yet another reason to bake on a regular basis:
I didn’t taste the finished product (OK, I did pull a little piece of crumble off the top and it was delicious) so I asked Emily to take a picture of the crisp once it was plated and tell me how it came out. She said it was a perfect blend of sweetness from the strawberries and sourness from the rhubarb. And the homemade whipped cream that her mom made as a topping only made it better.
It sounds like a perfect dessert for a Memorial Day barbecue! What’s on your Memorial Day menu?
4 cups diced rhubarb
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, and halved, if large
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, orange zest, cornstarch and orange liqueur, and toss to thoroughly combine. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and transfer the fruit mixture to the prepared casserole.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 9 tablespoons of butter, flour, remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar and salt and cut together until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit and bake until the topping is golden brown and crispy and fruit is bubbly in places, about 45 minutes.
Cool briefly and serve warm, with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or creme fraiche, if desired.