It might come up as a surprise (it was to me when I realised it), but I’ve never used rhubarb in my kitchen before. Just like with sorrel leaves, I simply had no clue what to do with it and how to cook it.
The best way to break the ice with a new ingredient is to make something simple and relatively fail-proof. Otherwise, it’s easy to get discouraged and abandon it altogether.
Rhubarb crisp with fresh & juicy strawberries seemed to be a perfect choice for my rhubarby debut. It has a less formal vibe than a “proper” pie, and is a good thing.
My Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble – Step By Step
To be honest, I just made this recipe up and haven’t followed an exact formula. All of the ingredients (besides rhubarb and berries) were already in my kitchen cupboard.
I’ve noticed that rhubarb and strawberries release quite a bit of juice when gently stewed. To balance that fruity softness, I wanted for my crumble topping (in Polish: kruszonka) to be on a crispy side.
So I mixed flour, sugar and oats together and then rubbed in the butter with my fingertips to make a light, crumbly texture. This topping then went to the oven (it on it’s own) until it got a golden glow.
In the meantime, rhubarb and strawberries were cooking gently on the stove. Just for a little while – until they start to release their juices, while still keeping their texture. A bit of sugar and a splash of red wine aided the process.
Interesting fact: In Polish gardens, rhubarb started to be grown as a vegetable since the end of the 19th century.
Quoting the “Polish Gardener” (“Ogrodnik Polski”) from 1884: “Since the leaves may be at the end of May and in June – when the apples are not yet available – the rhubarb’s value increases considerably. Due to the advantages mentioned, these plants are worth cultivating in gardens.”
Then it all went into a baking dish and stayed there for about a quarter of an hour. I served it with some sweetened soft cheese. It would also pair beautifully with a drizzle of custard, a cloud of whipped cream or even some vanilla ice-cream.
Drumroll Please: Did It Come Out Well?
What can I say… the moment I polished off my serving, I started dreaming about the next one.
Actually we (me + my significant other) loved it so much, I baked it twice this week! This warm, sweet crumble puts rhubarb and strawberries front and centre. The natural sweetness of the berries cuts through the rhubarb’s tartness.
Rhubarb comes and goes so fast, so let’s enjoy it as much as we can while it’s still here (wink, wink – what an excuse to eat tons of this crumbly goodness 🤪)
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