My grandmother is a woman of great willpower.
Some might call it stubbornness, but she would argue she just knows what’s right to do.
Though, in hindsight, she probably knows exactly how stubborn she is.
Why am I telling you this? Well, for one, I like to explain at every moment possible that my own opinionated-ness and stubbornness are, in fact, due to inheritance.
And, of course, I have a little story to share behind this recipe, or else it would just be another set of instructions floating around the interwebs, and how boring would that be?!
So here’s the backstory of this recipe, and how my experience will help YOU make this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp without any unforeseen hiccups.
Right, stubborn grandmother.
This stubborn grandmother of mine is a proud grower, harvester and tinkerer in her little garden. There are rumours that she broke her hip and was supposed to rest, but her granddaughter found her weeding in her vegetable patch, cough cough, but alas, it’s just hearsay.
In this beautiful, bountiful garden, she grows rhubarb.
And when I say rhubarb, I don’t mean a few pesky stalks. I mean rhubarb as in this plant has been growing for years and is a gigantic heap of leaves and stalks.
It takes up quite a lot of space.
My grandmother doesn’t even like rhubarb.
YES I KNOW.
She’s not a lazy woman in ANY way, but she just lets this rhubarb grow and grow for whatever reason her strong will told her to.
So, every time we’re there during spring and early summer, she tries to trick me into taking home pounds and pounds of gigantic rhubarb.
And one time I did. Because, you know, I can cook it into compote and it will not even end up being that much.
But. Because this dang rhubarb had been growing for so long, and the stalks were so huge, it was also full of water. And my pot of rhubarb compote turned into a gigantic mess of dissolved rhubarb floating around in sugary water.
To top it all off, my in-laws were visiting and my father-in-law loves rhubarb compote. Yeah, that wasn’t embarrassing at all. #daughterinlawoftheyearaward
Had I known this, I would just have gone ahead and thickened the compote with a little cornstarch or flour, instead of attempting to cook it down.
And that’s what I’m getting at here — there’s science involved when it comes to crumbles.
It’s no secret that I love good fruit crisps. During fall I make apple crisp every week, and come summertime I can’t resist a good blueberry peach cobbler. Which also means that I’ve absolutely pinpointed my recipe over the years.
Firm fruit, such as apples, aren’t a huge problem. There the issue is more to actually get some juices flowing for a delicious and bubbly sauce.
But with strawberry and rhubarb? You can easily end up with a soupy mess, if you don’t pay attention.
So, to avoid any surprises, you need to slightly adjust this recipe according to your fruit:
If you suspect your fruit to have a high water content, you might want to increase the flour in the filling to 2, or even 3 tablespoons. Indicators of this can be very early-season fruit, fruit that has grown for a long time/is very large or fruit that is already very ripe.
Or fruit grown by rhubarb-hating grandmothers.
If you don’t pay attention to this, your filling might easily turn out too liquid.
Other than that, this is a very straight-forward spring dessert. Fruit filling, oatmeal streusel topping, a few almonds scattered on top for extra crunch and specialness, and you have yourself a quick and easy baking pan filled with farm-fresh deliciousness.
For the Topping :
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- pinch of Salt
- 1/4 cup Cold Butter, diced
For the Filling:
- 1 pound Rhubarb, sliced
- 1 pound Strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Flour, or more, see note
- 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
For Serving :
- 3 tablespoons Chopped Almonds
Make the topping:
- Combine the flour, oats, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cold butter and rub into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers. Do this until the butter is evenly distributed and there is no leftover dry ingredient mix. It should look like a pile of small to coarse blobs of streusel. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
Make the filling:
- Combine all ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and mix well.
Assemble the crumble:
- Preheat the oven to 360°F. Transfer the filling to a 7x11 rectangular baking dish. Evenly top with the streusel topping, then sprinkle on the chopped almonds.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown and crunchy. Allow to stand for 30 minutes so the sauce can thicken.
- If you suspect your fruit to have a high water content, you might want to increase the flour in the filling to 2, or even 3 tablespoons. Indicators of this can be very early-season fruit, fruit that has grown for a long time/is very large or fruit that is already very ripe. Otherwise your filling might turn out too liquid.