One of my favorite things about reading a shit-ton whole bunch of food blogs and having my own is that it makes me experiment with ingredients and try recipes that I would have never thought to make on my own. Last year when rhubarb popped up in the market and amongst the blogs I had no idea what this fruit/vegetable thing was all about. But this year I am more experimental in my ways and I knew that I wanted to give rhubarb a try.
Man am I ever glad that I did. I made this crumble last weekend during the lull between my last two law school finals EVER (did I mention that I am done and graduate on Sunday :-D ? ) and it was wonderful. I decided to meld a couple recipes together by adding some vanilla extract to the fruit and vanilla sugar in the topping. I think this was the perfect foil to the tang of the rhubarb and orange and the sweetness of the strawberry.
After I made the crumble, I had a few stalks of rhubarb leftover that I transformed into a rhubarb flavored simple syrup.
It was a very simple process which rewarded me with vibrant pink sweet liquid. I haven’t had a chance to play with this yet but I have a few ideas in mind for a fun Spring cocktail or a celebratory beverage of sorts. Do you have any ideas for the simple syrup that you would like to share?
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
3-4 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch slices
1 quart strawberries (about 3 cups) trimmed and quartered
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Brandy
1 teaspoon OJ
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
Preheat the oven to 375°.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of kosher salt. Cut in the 6 tablespoons chilled, diced butter using a pastry blender. Place the mixture in the refrigerator.
Generously butter a 9×9-inch pan. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, Brandy, OJ, zest, extract, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of kosher salt. Spoon the mixture into the buttered dish. Cover the strawberry-rhubarb mixture with the chilled crumble topping. Sprinkle vanilla sugar on top of the crumble. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I personally like Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla since I can’t get Blue Bell up in Chicago.
1 1/2 cups of rhubarb, roughly chopped
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of water
Place the ingredients into a sauce pan. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 to 20 mins. Let cool, then strain into a jar. Store in the fridge. Experiment.