Nothing says Spring like fruit desserts. I absolutely love fruit, and come summer I begin dreaming of lemons, and strawberries, and melon, oh my! In celebration of the lovely weather here in the Midwest, and my longing for juicy fruit, I made a lovely recipe for crumble.
Crumble is also sometimes called fruit crisp. Crumble is a delicious topping consisting of oats, some type of fat (usually butter or margarine), flour, and sugar. It is a very simple English peasant dish that was made for dessert when fruit was abundant. It’s a lovely, simple dish that is very comforting.
Crumble can be made with any combination of fruit. I used rhubarb and raspberry because I had these hiding out in my freezer. I also chose them because rhubarb naturally somewhat sour, so it is commonly paired with a particularly sweet fruit to even out the flavor. This is why there is often strawberry/rhubarb combinations in recipes. You can use any combination of fruit you would like in similar measurements.
I recently discovered that rhubarb is not as common as I had initially assumed. Growing up, I ate rhubarb frequently. At home we had a neighbor with an overflowing patch of rhubarb. She frequently gave us large bundles of the vegetable (yes, it is technically a vegetable). It seems as though everyone had their own little patch of rhubarb. In fact, my father’s favorite breakfast was pancakes and rhubarb. Yet, after moving to the city, I found that some of my friends had never heard of rhubarb! If you are one of those people I encourage you to try some. You can often find it at farmers markets or local organic food stores. Sometimes, even the larger food markets have it fresh or in the freezer section.
So, here is what you need to know about rhubarb.
1) Rhubarb is to vegetables what tomatoes are to fruit. While it is technically a vegetable, it is cooked, eaten, and treated like a fruit. It has a tangy, sour, and slightly sweet flavor. You can easily cook it with a little sugar and water and make a delicious sauce.
2) Do not eat rhubarb raw! Without cooking, rhubarb is very fibrous and bitter. The stalks are similar in texture to celery, but nearly impossible to eat. Don’t worry; cooking rhubarb is simple. See #1.
3) If you are getting your rhubarb from the garden or with the leaves attached, do not eat or use the leaves. Rhubarb leaves have a small amount of toxins in them. While not dangerous if touched, eating them could be hazardous to your health. Simply chop them off and throw them out!
Adapted from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
2 cups of rhubarb, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (if using frozen, allow to thaw)
3/4 cup of raspberries (again, if frozen, allow to thaw)
1/3 cup of flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed
5 tablespoons of cold butter
1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide fruit equally between 4 ramekins.
In a food processor, cut butter into flour. Pulse until butter is approximately pea sized. Roughly mix butter and flour mixture with sugars and oats. I usually use my hands to do this. Pack this mixture onto the top of the fruit-filled ramekins.
Cook crumble until top is browned and fruit is bubbling. This will take 40 – 50 minutes.