Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

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I finally accomplished one of my goals for this year – cooking with rhubarb! Believe it or not, I’ve never made anything with the vegetable, and I wanted to remedy that this spring. It took weeks before the Schnucks I shop at got any in. I nearly gave up on it… and thus I was unprepared this May once there was finally rhubarb at the grocery store. I bought some without a plan and tried to figure out what to do with it.

The weather has been summerlike (again) here in St. Louis. Summer weather ignites two conflicting desires within me – the desire to not run my oven whatsoever, and the desire to make fruit pies and other baked fruit desserts. In spite of the heat, I knew I had to bake some kind of strawberry-rhubarb concoction for my first foray into rhubarb-cooking; it was only a question of what. I decided to make a lazy afternoon of it and make Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble instead of a pie.

Honestly, I love crumbles and cobblers because they’re so simple to make. Toss your fruit with sugar and thickener (generally cornstarch, sometimes flour) and place in a baking dish. Top with a cookie dough-like topping (for crumbles) or a biscuit-like topping (for cobblers), and bake.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble (this version with half the strawberries, all the crumble
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble (this version with half the strawberries, all the crumble

This recipe was likewise incredibly simple to make. First, mix together flour, brown and white sugars, lemon zest, and baking powder; stir in melted butter. Dough will be sandy. Chill the dough.

Next, cut up your rhubarb – be sure to discard any poisonous leaves! (I also peeled mine for good measure but you don’t have to.) Combine rhubarb, sliced strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch (I recommend a full 1/4 cup), and a little salt in your baking dish. Mix well and smooth out the fruit. Top with crumble topping.

Bake in a 375F oven for about 40 minutes, or topping is brown. Serve warm or cold.

I’ve actually made this recipe twice. The first time, I woefully under-strawberried my crumble; I didn’t pay attention to measurements, and only added a pint (little package of berries) instead of a quart (large package) of strawberries. I decided I needed to try it again for Memorial Day using the appropriate amount of fruit.

The crumble was much better with lots of fruit. The topping was lemony from the zest, and definitely decadent. The fruit was tart, sweet, and gooey. I think the lemon juice added brightness to the fruit. The entire dish is really pretty sweet overall.

The dessert was best the day it was baked. Unfortunately, the top got soggy once it was sealed up and reheated. The dessert also became even more gooey as time passed. I just don’t know how to preserve any kind of crispness for this dessert.

This was a delicious and easy recipe to make. However, if you don’t want mushy, gooey leftover crumble, definitely make a half batch. Luckily, this is an easy recipe to cut in half! The crumble is also very sweet, so if you don’t want as sweet a dessert, you should probably top it the fruit with a pie crust instead.

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