I promised my friend Yana a brunch with strawberries and rhubarb. I could have made pie, but after a strawberry-rhubarb pie, blackberry pie and a Tuscaloosa Tollhouse pie recently, I needed a break. I also needed the recipe to be finished by brunch at noon, and I couldn't get strawberries and rhubarb until I went to the farmers' market on Saturday morning.
I found a strawberry-rhubarb crisp recipe in Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking cookbook that just looked delicious, but Cook's Illustrated recent feature on how crisps are often just so-so had me worried. I had to dress this crisp up a little. I know the topping would make or break the crisp, and I wanted it to be richer. I swapped the melted butter for brown butter, reduced the flour, added oats and mixed in pecans to add some complexity.
Biting into this crisp made me glad I had not made a pie. The crisp was light. It felt very healthy since the filling wasn't surrounded by pie crust.
I like any dessert I can justify having two servings of in one day.
adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking and Cook's Illustrated Magazine
This crisp will provide 8 servings. Search for the reddest stalks of rhubarb you can find. Serve this with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or both).
For the filling:
6 medium stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a 2 1/2 quart ceramic baking dish ready.
Prepare the filling: Stir together the rhubarb, strawberries and granulated sugar until well mixed. Pour into a ceramic baking dish and set aside.
Prepare the topping: Combine flour, pecans, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Place butter in a saucepan on the stove, and heat over medium-high heat, swirling the butter constantly until it is browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir into the flour mixture until it is thoroughly moistened and crumbly.
Spoon the crumb mixture evenly over the filling.
Bake: Bake the crisp until the rhubarb is tender, the juices are bubbling, and the topping is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Reheat the crisp in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes before serving. The crisp will keep for two days at room temperature.