Sweet and Savory Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp: The Crisp Confluence

Hello there, strawberry rhubarb crisp.  I will eat you now.

Hello there, strawberry rhubarb crisp. I will eat you now.

You know how sometimes you have a Thought, and then you wander out into the Hinternet with the Thought in your head and then, lo and behold, that Thought is given Life somewhere?  Well, it happened to me this week.  The Beloved and I went to the farmer’s market on Sunday and purchased the largest piece of rhubarb we had ever seen.  I wish I had taken a picture of it to show you guys, but you know how I don’t Plan and then I can’t find the camera or it is Upstairs when I am Downstairs so it is too far away to slog up the 16 steps to Fetch.

So, anyway, once we found the Mondo Rhubarb, we went in search of warm, fresh North Carolina strawberries.  Because what is better, honestly, than the stands-the-test-of-time pairing of tart rhubarb and sweet strawberry?  We found some lovely strawberries and took them home.  I asked The Beloved what we should do with our Bounty.  He said he would enjoy a Crisp with oatmeal in the streusel, so I said, “sure,” because I am nothing if not Accommodating.  So then, I wandered over to [No Recipes], as I do at least a few times a week, to see what Marc was cooking up.  And guess what?  Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp!  One cannot ignore such confluence as Mere Coincidence, so I read his post Very Carefully to see what Goodness he had cooked up.  I mean specifically.  The thing about Marc, if you don’t already know, is that he always gives everything he makes a Marc Twist, not to be confused with Mark Twain.  His point, I believe, is to experiment and play and make us think about food as more of a blank canvas as opposed to a paint by numbers board.

So, the twist du jour was the addition of some Parmesan cheese to the streusel.  Genius.  It’s a little salty; it’s a little nutty, and it will distribute more or less evenly in a topping, as opposed to nuggets of nuts, which don’t.   So, I took that idea and added it to the Idea Stew that was already simmering in my little brain.  Here was my thinking:

What’s better with strawberries than balsamic vinegar?  Nothing.  Okay, then what will go with strawberries and vinegar?  Well, let’s see.  Basil sounds nice–green and peppery.  I’ll heighten the pepperiness by adding some pepper.  And with cheese in the topping, I’ll have a nice balance of sweet and savory notes.  Yay.

And, friends, let me tell you, this little guy worked out so well that I will surely make it again.  And maybe even again.  It was sweet and tart and a little savory.  It smelled amazing in the oven.  It tasted amazing in my face.  In short, I was Pleased with the Results.   So was The Beloved.  I will say that, since it contained a lot of savory ingredients, it was pretty rich, so I decided to whip up a Creamy Sweet Topping to offset the dense savoriness of it all.

I didn’t measure any of the strawberry-rhubarb portion of the activity, but I did weigh the streusel ingredients.  And here’s how it went.

Oh, things to note:  I do not like big hunks of rhubarb, so I prefer to stew the rhubarb down into Thick Jammy Goodness and then fold in strawberries.  That’s where the juice comes in.  It’s just what I had in the fridge.  Use what you want.  If you don’t mind big pieces of rhubarb, skip the stewing.  Also, any measurements I’ve given are Approximations.  Just go with it and make it to taste.  It’s basically just sweetened fruit with some crunchy stuff on top, so approach with Confidence.

Sweet and Savory Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp, with a big Thank You to Marc for the Parmesan Idea

For the strawberry rhubarb portion

  • 1 1/2-ish cups diced rhubarb
  • sugar or other sweetener, to taste
  • about 1/4 cup cranberry pomegranate juice (100% juice kind)
  • healthy pinch of salt
  • several grinds of black pepper
  • about 2 TBSP chiffonade basil
  • 1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar (just because I didn’t want the color to get brown-ish)

Throw all of the above ingredients into a saucepan.

See?  Just dump it all in the pot.  Here, it has been cooking for maybe a minute or so.

See? Just dump it all in the pot. Here, it has been cooking for maybe a minute or so.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer, stirring and smooshing the rhubarb when it gets soft.  Simmer and smoosh until you end up with Thick Jammy Goodness.

Here's the smooshing part.  It has been cooking about 6 minutes.  When it was finished, there were no chunks of rhubarb left.  Just jam.

Here’s the smooshing part. It has been cooking about 6 minutes. When it was finished, there were no chunks of rhubarb left. Just jam.

  • 1 pint lovely strawberries, big guys quartered; smaller guys halved
  • about 2 TBSP flour
  • some sugar, to taste
  • wee pinch of salt
  • about 1 TBSP white balsamic

Place the lovely strawberries in a baking dish.  Sprinkle on some sugar and flour, and toss everything lightly.  Drizzle the balsamic over the strawberries.

I used some organic demerrara sugar--that's what all that light brown stuff is.

I used some organic demerrara sugar–that’s what all that light brown stuff is.

Spread the rhubarb jammy part on top of the strawberries.

Just kind of spread the jam over the strawberries.  It will all mix up in the oven.  Promise.

Just kind of spread the jam over the strawberries. It will all mix up in the oven. Promise.

For the Streusel portion

  • 3 oz. butter
  • 3 oz. all purpose flour
  • 1.5 oz. oatmeal
  • 4 oz. brown sugar
  • healthy pinch of salt
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese (okay, I used the green can kind, because that’s what I had)
  • a couple of grinds of black pepper

Smush up all the ingredients into a big ball of streusel.  You see, I believe that if you don’t smush it all up into a ball, you end up with Parts of the streusel that are still floury, and floury doesn’t get Crispy in the oven.  It just gets Hot.  So, mix and mix until you have a big Pla-Doh ball of streusel, and then pull off bits of it to sprinkle all over the rhubarb jam part.

Dry streusel ingredients.  Not so appetizing, but they will be.

Dry streusel ingredients. Not so appetizing, but they will be.

Scatter the butter on top and then blend it in.  Very, very thoroughly.

Scatter the butter on top and then blend it in. Very, very thoroughly.

Look--a ball o' streusel.  You could even roll this out and make cookies, if you wanted.

Look–a ball o’ streusel. You could even roll this out and make cookies, if you wanted.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it’s all Bubbly and Delightful and the streusel is Deep Golden Brown.

Well, welcome out of the oven, little crisp of mine.

Well, welcome out of the oven, little crisp of mine.

My, what lovely, crispy topping you have there.

My, what lovely, crispy topping you have there.

Remove from the oven and let cool until warm-ish.  Serve with your choice of Creamy Topping.  Here’s the one I made:

The Creamy Topping I Made

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • pinch of salt
  • brown sugar, to taste

Stir and stir.  Let sit in the fridge until the sugar has dissolved.  Stir and stir before Dolloping Attractively on the warm crisp.

So, guess what?  I’m entering this in the Royal Foodie Joust sponsored by the wonderful Jenn at The Left-Over Queen.  Feel like participating yourself?  Go check out the Royal Foodie Joust Thread on her forum!

Share

Comments

    • says

      Hi, Marielle, and thanks for stopping in! I must say, this stuff was Crazy Good. I laughed maniacally like Dr. Frankenstein (but in a good, non-horror movie way) when I tasted it! :D

  1. says

    I may have to trademark “Marc Twist”… That’s for all the nice things you said, remind me to cook for you next time you’re up here;-P

    I love that you continued the evolution of this dish with your own twist. I love basil in desserts (it also goes great with grapefruit) and will definitely be giving this combo a try:-).

  2. says

    @elra I was very pleased with it; thanks! :)

    @Marc You should consider it seriously, Marc–you have Brand Recognition going for you, big time! When next we are in NYC, I will absolutely take you up on the offer. If you find yourself in the Raleigh area, you’d better come by for a meal here, too!

    @Jim Yes, you must! ;)

  3. says

    This looks and sounds GLORIOUS! I don’t actually care much for the combination of strawberry and rhubarb in most cases, but this sounds so good that I want to try them together. You rock!

  4. says

    You and Marc have intrigued me, but unfortunately I tried to get my hosts to go for a crisp or cobbler and they snubbed the thought of me making it!

    Oh Darn, since this sounds and looks so great :(

  5. says

    I’m still trying to get past adding parmesan and basil to a fruit anything…and I’m not too fond of balsamic vinegar. At least, I don’t think I am. I’ve never actually tasted it.

    I know. I am so ashamed.

    [Groovy, get out of your rut and try this! Think of it as a fun food adventure. With SUGAR!]

    OK, ok. I will as soon as Maine berries are available, which should be in the next couple of weeks.

  6. says

    @Libby Yes, it’s nice to have a bright, fruity dessert on a sunny day! :)

    @ChefE Respectfully, what is wrong w/your hosts?! Unless they opted for chocolate. Then I totally get it! ;) Try it when you can–the stuff is Good!

    @groovy Balsamic vinegar is sweet and tart. You will love it. If it would help, I will lovingly kick you out of your rut. Start slowly–leave out the parmesan and use some finely ground nuts instead. And sub lemon or lime juice for the vinegar. Baby steps, groovy; baby steps! :D :lol:

  7. says

    A classic dessert recipe -love it! I am with you regarding chunks of rhubarb, I prefer it jammy as well. I feel you get more of the true spring time flavor that way!

Speak Your Mind