Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

A few months back I mentioned how excited I was to have rhubarb plants growing in our yard.  At least that's what I thought they were. They sure look like rhubarb, but the sad truth is they're not.

However, sometimes just when things are looking down, something unexpected happens.  The day I realized that I had a faux-rhubarb plant in my yard, I also received my weekly CSA box with a big bunch of shiny, reddish-green rhubarb stalks inside.

I knew we'd be having friends over for a BBQ over the weekend, so I set the rhubarb aside and found just the right recipe for it.  For weeks it seemed like every food blog imaginable featured a rhubarb recipe, but I selected the Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble from 101 Cookbooks.  I guess what drew me to it most (other than the photos) was two intriguing ingredients in the crumble topping:  black pepper and pine nuts.  Okay, why not.  Plus, it called for spelt flour, something that (surprise, surprise) is easily accessible here.

The crumble comes together really easily, and I ended up doubling the recipe to feed six adults.  We ate it all with the exception of a spare serving or two.  It goes incredibly well with vanilla ice cream.  As for the pepper and pine nuts?  Didn't even notice the pepper but can't say that the pine nuts were my favorite.  When it comes to crumbles, I'm a toasted walnut kind of gal.  The pine nuts--though lightly toasted--were strangely overpowering to my palette.  Next time, I'd simply substitute in walnuts or even hazelnuts perhaps.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
3/4c or 85g spelt flour
2/3c or 85g pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2c or 45g rolled oats
1/2c or 60g natural cane sugar
1/2 t finely ground sea salt
1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
1/3c or 75g unsalted butter, melted

1T cornstarch
1/2c or 60g natural cane sugar

1/2lb or 225g hulled medium strawberries, quartered
12oz. trimmed rhubarb, cut into 3/4" pieces
1/4c or 60ml port wine, optional

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.  Butter a 10" round gratin dish or 9x9" square dish.

1.  Combine the flour through the pepper in a bowl.  Stir in the butter with a fork, squeeze into a few patties, then place in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes.

2.  Make the filling by whisking the cornstarch and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add the strawberries and rhubarb, and toss until evenly coated.  Wait three minutes, add the port, and toss again.  Transfer to prepared baking dish, remove the topping from the freezer, and crumble evening over the top of the filling.

3.  Bake 35-40 minutes until a deep golden brown on top and the filling is bubbling.  Let cool 20-30 minutes before serving.

The kids had their own table, although one kid is missing from my photos.  I'll just call Anton a little jackrabbit.  But really, none of the kids stayed seated for long.  The crumble isn't the most kid-friendly dessert, so I organized a plate of cookies for the kids instead.  I picked up some chocolate sandwich cookies at the grocery store and added slices of hindbær snitter, a special Danish shortbread cookie filled with raspberry jam, about which I'll go into more in a future post.

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