Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ingredient 15 - Rhubarb

This week's ingredient was rhubarb and I made strawberry-rhubarb crumble.  I have been waiting weeks to type that sentence.  I thought I would cook with rhubarb in March, an ode to the arrival of spring.  However, Mother Nature was feeling spiteful this year and delivered a March that was miserable.  Thankfully, the weather these last few weeks has been consistently nice and I was finally able to feature rhubarb without feeling like a total fool.

Before I lovingly discuss the recipe, a little information on rhubarb.  Rhubarb is a vegetable known for its tart flavor.  Originally considered medicinal by the Chinese, its use dates back to 2700 B.C.  The two main varieties found in grocery stores are bright red or more green in color.  The traditional, greenish, variety has a milder flavor.  Regardless of variety, select rhubarb with smaller stalks that are dense and shiny.  Avoid stalks that feel rubbery or dry.

The recipe listed below is a slight variation on Deb from Smitten Kitchen's crumble.  The main difference being, my version has more rhubarb.  Deb is a genius.  Everything I have made from her site has come out really well.  Her dishes are approachable yet sophisticated.  Instant pudding and cream of mushroom soup are not the common denominators of her recipes.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbp sugar
3 tbp Sugar in the Raw
Zest of 1 lemon
1 stick salted butter
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 lb strawberries
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbp cornstarch

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Begin by making the topping.  Place flour, baking powder, and sugars in a mixing bowl.  If you don’t have or care not to purchase Sugar in the Raw, you can substitute in an equal amount of regular sugar.  The raw sugar just diversifies the texture of the topping.

Next, grate the zest of 1 lemon into the bowl with the flour and sugar.  Gently mix contents of bowl with a fork.  Place the stick of butter In a separate bowl and melt it in the microwave.  Do not melt on high, 50% power works just fine.  Pour melted butter into bowl with flour and gently mix with fork until ingredients are thoroughly combined.  The topping will have a sand-like texture when complete.    

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Once the topping is made, pre-heat the oven to 375 and start on the filling.  Wash and trim the ends from the rhubarb, just like you would celery.  Slice the stalks into 1 inch pieces.  Wash and quarter the strawberries.  I cut the tops of my strawberries before quartering. 

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Place strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl.  Add sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to bowl and gently stir.  Use a strainer to keep the lemon seeds out of the bowl.

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Place the filling in a large baking dish and cover evenly with topping.  Bake for 45 minutes.

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I served my crumble with some fancy vanilla gelato.

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This crumble was ridiculously good.  The cornstarch kept the filling from being a sloppy mess and the addition of lemon juice and zest was divine.  The dessert was flavorful and not too sweet.  An A for Deb from Smitten Kitchen.


  1. I'm usually disappointed with rhubarb but this looks pretty good :) I wanted to suggest tomatillos for an ingredient if you haven't cooked with them before.

  2. This sounds good! Just made two strawberry-rhubarb pies. Orange zest is really good in anything strawberry-rhubarb.