May 22, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Every spring growing up, my grandmother's garden exploded with rhubarb. She would put it in a pie or a cake, and we'd hang out at her kitchen table talking. I always find it fascinating how certain people in my life are so associated with certain foods in my head. For Grandma, it's rhubarb, lemon cake and marshmallows (she used to keep a container in one cabinet in the kitchen and sneak them to me). For my Nana, it's an ice cream concoction she used to make me called "puddy-pandy" and molasses cookies. I never can replicate any of these in my kitchen so they taste as good as they do in my memory. Even the grilled cheese and tomato soup I ate with my Dad isn't quite the same. 

Last summer when I visited my Grandma, I asked for her rhubarb recipes. I'm still trying to perfect them...they just aren't perfect yet. As she once told me when I complained about it-she's been making them for so long she doesn't even need the recipe-all I need is practice! 

This recipe, though, is inspired by those days in the kitchen and it's pretty fabulous even without years of practice. It takes two of the first signs of spring and covers them in a thick crumb topping. You get just the right combination of sweet and tart fruit with crumbly crust. If I was given the chance I could eat the entire thing myself. I make sure I don't give myself that opportunity! This is perfect for those easy summer afternoons where you just want to sit around outside after dinner and let the kids stay up late.  I'm hoping for lots of those nights this summer.

Good thing I have a stash of flash frozen rhubarb ready for it.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the topping:
1 1/3 c flour
6 tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, melted
zest of a lemon

For the filling:
1 1/2 c rhubarb, chopped
1 pint strawberries, chopped
1/2 c sugar
juice of a lemon
2-3 tbsp cleargel (or 3 tbsp cornstarch)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix all the ingredients for the filling together and pour in the bottom of a baking dish or pie pan. Set aside.

Combine the dry topping ingredients together and then add the melted butter. Mix with a fork or your fingers until everything is crumbly.

Pour topping over the filling until evenly covered. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold.

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