May 27, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

I know it has been a looooong time since I posted here. The excuse is one that I've been using a lot lately--at the grocery store when I need help out with my bags, in the parking lot when I park in the closest space that's not really a space, at night when I can't reach the remote control that's 6 inches away, and basically any time I need a break. I'm pregnant!! and it works. People are so accommodating and nice to you. So, while I don't think I've abused it, I have been getting extra special treatment lately because there is no denying based on my huge watermelon-shaped belly that I am a very expectant woman. Indeed, this baby could come any day now!

So that's not to say that I have not been cooking and eating and entertaining a little bit. It's just that a lot of our meals have not been blog-worthy and a lot of times, I just can't be bothered with the extra step of taking blog-worthy photos or of sitting down to write. But things are picking up and the blog is going to soon undergo some major changes and I look forward to getting back into it as my life allows.

In the meantime, here's a quick recipe for one of my recent favorite go-to desserts: strawberry rhubarb crumble. I've brought it to several parties lately, made it for us for no special occasion (it's one of my man's favorite things) and it is always so good, served warm out of the oven with or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's such a forgivable recipe, too, that even non-bakers cannot go wrong with this one.

Although strawberries and rhubarb have already hit their peak and given way to other seasonal fruits, any of the fruits of summer like peaches, blueberries, blackberries and plums are perfect for this cobbler. Use whatever you have and whatever is in season--in any combination that suits your taste buds-- and it will be delicious. A crumble (also known as a crisp or a cobbler) is pretty open to interpretation and I have many recipes, but this one just happens to be my most recent version. I love the addition of toasted hazelnuts (almonds or walnuts would work equally well) to the crumb topping. It gives it a nice crunchy and nutty flavor that most flour-sugar-butter toppings lack.

Strawberry and rhubarb crumble (adapted from Bon Appetit May 2010)


* 3/4 cup all purpose flour
* 2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
* Large pinch of salt
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
* 1/2 cup husked hazelnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
* 1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved (about 4 cups)
* 12 ounces rhubarb (preferably bright red), ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
* Vanilla ice cream (optional)


*Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter. Rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats and nuts. DO AHEAD Topping can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
*Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; whisk to blend well. Add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl; toss to coat well. Scrape fruit filling into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.
*Bake crumble until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Spoon warm crumble into bowls. Serve with ice cream if desired.