Oh Chicago. One day we are all lamenting over the fact that we still need winter coats and then, without warning, it’s full on summer and we are sweltering in our tank tops and shorts. Despite the lack of some nice spring weather to prepare us for the hot summer days ahead, you’ll hear no complaints from me about the weather. Just like that, it’s summer and just like that, we went from a family of four to a family of five, one warm sunny Sunday in June.
Last weekend we zipped through the farmer’s market and picked up some rhubarb (at long last!), some strawberries, grape tomatoes, potatoes and a cute little bird feeder for the kids to paint. I still had my mind on the Rhubarb Plum Crisp from Rachel Allen’s book Favorite Foods at Home so I adapted it by subbing strawberries for plums. My father and brother-in-law came over for dinner and helped us eat the crisp. Our strawberries were those amazingly sweet little ones that make grocery store berries taste like watered down Kool-aid. Their sweetness worked well with the tartness of the rhubarb that I had been craving for weeks. The original recipe uses only all purpose flour but I used a full cup of almond flour in place of the same amount of all purpose. The result was a deliciously nutty topping that made me feel just a little bit better about all that butter.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Adapted from Favorite Food at Home, by Rachel Allen
For the fruit:
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 lb rhubarb, washed and sliced into 1/2-inch (2cm) pieces
1 lb strawberries, washed, large ones sliced, small left in tact
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 half-inch wide strip lemon peel
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup almond flour
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted
1 tablespoon muscovado sugar, for scattering on top
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
2. To make the fruit filling, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan and stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar. Add the rhubarb and strawberries.
3. Add the honey, cardamom, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel, and cook for five minutes, stirring regularly.
4. Meanwhile make the topping. Mix together the dry ingredients and add the 12 tablespoons of melted butter, mixing quickly but lightly to form a crumbly texture.
5. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Transfer the fruit mixture into a low baking dish, or just do it all in a low sided dutch oven like I did. If your fruit gives off a lot of liquid, spoon some out and reserve for another purpose, then scatter the crispy topping on top. Do not press it down or it will get mushy. Scatter a tablespoon of muscovado sugar on top and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
6. Remove from the oven when the top is deep golden brown and you can plunge a paring knife into the middle and the knife meets no resistance, indicating the fruit is fully cooked.
Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.