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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

I prefer an indecent crisp-to-fruit ratio; I tend to double the amount of crisp called for in a recipe. I love the buttery, nutty, sweet topping, what can I say. I also like the texture I achieve by cutting in half of the butter cold and the other half melted; somewhere between cookie and pie crust, perfect against the soft, tart fruit.

Rhubarb, however, is not truly a fruit, it is a vegetable. It is often referred to as a pie plant, since it is treated as a fruit in the kitchen, used in many sweet preparations like preserves and pies. Where I grew up, it grew like a weed. I would often eat it raw, dipping the end in a bit of sugar to tame the tartness.

I am lucky to live very close to my childhood home; I also have a patch of rhubarb that grows without any effort on my part. It seems to have sprung up overnight this spring; as soon as the stalks looked long enough I harvested a few for my crisp. Strawberries pair beautifully with rhubarb; they enhance the red color and their natural sweetness helps to tame the tartness of the pie plant. I hope you can get your hands on some; enjoy!

1.5 pounds rhubarb, 1/2 inch dice
1.5 pounds strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Toss the fruit with the tapioca starch and sugar and pour into a prepared by 9 by 9 inch dish. Set aside.

Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar, flour, white sugar, nutmeg and rolled oats. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, then pour in the cooled melted butter and lemon juice. Mix to combine. Add the nuts.

Spread the topping evenly over the fruit, and bake until the fruit is soft and the crisp is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before serving. I suggest whipped cream, ice cream, or creme anglaise!


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