Last Saturday, interior designer Suzanne Shaker emailed us images of the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble she was making at her wondrous Shelter Island home. The recipe is from Sally’s cookbook A New Way to Cook. On Sunday, Suzanne sent a follow-up email with a gluten-free improvisation she’d made on the basic recipe. We’re publishing the recipe, below, along with Suzanne’s tweaks and raves, for an easy tart-like rhubarb dessert just in time for the last of rhubarb’s fleeting season.
I made another one this afternoon for dessert for tonight’s dinner party… So easy and with rhubarb in season, I couldn’t resist. I improvised by using corn meal for a guest who is gluten free, and pecans instead of almonds. And only light brown sugar, as that is what I had.It was light and flaky with a corn meal crunch..Everyone loved it… and kept asking: What is this delicious dessert again…???
A crumble is a fine quick solution when you hunger for a tart: it is nothing more than fruit topped and baked with a mixture of flour, butter and ground almonds to make a crisp buttery topping. It has many of the satisfactions of a pie crust with little work. We recommend serving the crumble with Whipped Cream with Sea Salt.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
You can substitute many kinds of fruit for the Strawberry Rhubarb Mixture below – figure about 5 cups sliced fruit (peeled if desired) and add sugar and lemon juice according to its sweetness and 1 tablespoon flour for juicy fruit, like peaches and berries.
I also like to use other kinds of nuts. Hazlenuts, roasted, peeled and thinly-sliced are marvelous.
For the Topping:
6 tablespoons sliced almonds (1 1/2 ounces)
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, slightly softened
Strawberry Rhubarb Mixture:
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, ends discarded, and sliced into 1/2-inch chunks (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups ripe strawberries, halved or quartered if large
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350. For the Topping, spread the nuts on a baking sheet. Roast until they are just golden and fragrant, 6-7 minutes (do not allow the nuts to brown past golden). Set aside to cool. In a food processor, grind the nuts, flour, sugar and salt to a medium fine meal. Transfer to a medium bowl. With your fingers, work in the butter by pinching and rubbing the mixture until it is very crumbly. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
In a 10-inch gratin dish, combine the rhubarb with the strawberries. Toss with the flour, white sugar and brown sugars. Then sprinkle the lemon juice over the fruit and toss again. Spread the fruit evenly in the dish and spread the topping evenly over the fruit.
Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the top is browned, about 40 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, cover lightly with foil.
Advance Preparation: You may prepare the topping up to 4 days ahead; cover and refrigerate. You may prepare the filling up to 2 hours ahead; add the Topping just before baking. The crumble is best eaten within 2 hours of baking.