Rhubarb and strawberries make the most delicious desserts. I must admit to having an addiction for fruity pies, cobblers and crisps experiencing a rhubarb epiphany during my college years. On a trip home to meet my future husband’s parents, his mom Mary Clark Snyder, served my first and arguably the most memorable rhubarb dessert I’ve ever eaten.
The perfect combo of sweet and sour, this Proustian pie was no big deal to her. She grew up on a farm outside of Cincinnati at a time when families survived by raising their own food. If it didn’t grow or pasture on your acreage, you probably didn’t eat it. The Clark farm had a particularly abundant rhubarb patch each year and I’m sure rhubarb found its way into many meals. Though I never sampled her mother’s rhubarb pie, I understand that Mamoo’s rhubarb desserts were legendary. Especially good was her rhubarb crisp. Fruit crisps are a lot easier to make, less time consuming to construct and if you ask me, even more delicious than pie. The crispy crunchy topping over warm and chunky fruit filling is irresistibly good and it’s made with healthy oatmeal to boot.
Tart and sweet, this dessert is especially habit forming when rhubarb is combined with strawberries. There’s nothing like a local strawberry and I can’t help but nibble a few every day right from their little wooden container.
Start to finish: 1 hour
Hands on time: 30 minutes
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1-1/2 cups regular oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened plus more for buttering the dish
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt plus 1/4 teaspoon
3 cups rhubarb, spears halved lengthwise and diced, about 4 long stalks or about 12 oz
3 cups hulled and sliced strawberries, about 1 lb
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream as an accompaniment
Preheat oven to 375°F
In a medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, 1/4 cup flour, butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix together with your fingers or a fork until well blended.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, rhubarb, strawberries, zest and lemon juice in a large bowl and toss it all together. Set it aside.
Butter a 1-1/2 to 2 qt baking dish and heap in the fruit. Scatter the topping evenly over the top, breaking it up with your fingers to make evenly sized chunks.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the top is browned and the filling is bubbly and tender. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Make-ahead: Crisp can be made the morning it is served and kept at room temperature. Warm it up in a 350° F/180° C oven for about 10 minutes if you’d like to serve it warm.
Can’t find an ingredient? Ask any Heinen’s associate and they’ll be happy to help.