Some folks actually look forward to rhubarb season, a brief period in spring when the tart, bitter vegetable (yes, botanically a vegetable although it’s treated like a fruit) makes its annual appearance. Because of its unusually sour taste, rhubarb is generally paired with a sweet fruit — most often strawberries or raspberries — for balance and for another flavor combo. Appearing in pies, jams, syrups, soufflés, sauces and crumbles, rhubarb is a delightful springtime treat.
SERVES 6 TO 8
A crumble, perhaps the world’s easiest dessert, is made with little more than fresh fruit sweetened with a little sugar, thickened with a little flour, and topped with a crumbly mixture of butter, oatmeal, flour and, sometimes, nuts. For another twist, you can use Irish digestive biscuits (such as McVitie’s or Carr’s brand) in the topping instead of the more widely used bread crumbs or oatmeal. This is delicious with vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, or crème fraîche.
For the filling
5 to 6 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
For the topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup crumbled digestive biscuits
- Make filling. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a 9-inch square glass baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, and cornstarch; stir to coat the fruit. Transfer to prepared pan and sprinkle with sugar.
- Make topping. Combine flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times, or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in crumbled biscuits. Sprinkle over fruit and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is browned and crisp and fruit is tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, or crème fraîche.