Wednesday, May 29, 2013

strawberry rhubarb crisp with buttermilk ice cream

I adore rhubarb. It is just one of the reasons why I think Nigella Lawson and I would be good friends. I love it as much for it's sour tang as it's perfect pinkness. I read in a book once that every recipe should have salty and sweet but what really elevates it is the addition of acid. It is a sour brightness that makes all the other flavors dance around on our palettes. Rhubarb contains the sweet sourness all on it's own.

In childhood memories, rhubarb seemed to grow in every backyard in the neighborhood. Our own house had a much neglected plot of it that appeared on it's own every summer. Cutting across the yard on our way to a friends house we would stumble into it and it was kind of like 'Oh yeah, the rhubarb is back again.' Such is the magic of childhood. Nowadays I sometimes feel like the only reliable returning element in my backyard is ants.

But here is a dish of summer nostalgia perfection- strawberry rhubarb crisp. I mixed it up a bit by capping with a scoop of homemade buttermilk ice cream. The labor was not lost. The cool creamy tangy ice cream softened and puddled on the warm sweet crisp.

The crisp recipe is from Barefoot Contessa's 'How Easy Is That?'

strawberry rhubarb crisp

4 cups fresh rhubarb, 1-inch diced (4 to 5 stalks)
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, if large (I cut into quarters, I prefer for the berries to sort of melt into the crisp)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest (I omitted- the juice is enough citrus flavor for me)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal, such as McCann's
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2) For the fruit, toss the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and the orange zest together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the the cornstarch in the orange juice and then mix it into the fruit.

3) Pour the mixture into an 8 x 11-inch baking dish and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

4) For the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt, and oatmeal. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles.

5) Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely, and bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

6) Serve warm with buttermilk ice cream (recipe here).

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