Joy and I love to go grocery shopping at this time of the year. The flowers are beautiful and the produce is plentiful and full of spectacular colors. Just about now the green asparagus is perfect. They are thin and tender and such a bright green! But we can’t stop looking at the rhubarb. The color is just gorgeous. Kind of like our red lipstick — LOL!
Rhubarb stalks look a lot like celery with a reddish-purple color and large green leaves. It should never be eaten raw and the leaves must be chopped off and thrown away. It is often nicknamed the pie plant because most people think of it as an ingredient in a pie recipe.
Our Grandmother, Nana, loved to make rhubarb anything. She used it in her famous pies, crumbles and crisps and even a pudding. We knew if it was a warm, sunny Sunday, she would be serving it out back on the stone patio. As soon as you stepped outside the scent of the lilac bushes mixed with fresh perked coffee was truly intoxicating. Because of this, we both have lilac bushes in our yards! Papa would take a break from cutting the grass and join us for a little snack. Nana would always come out with a tray filled with tall, frosty glasses of iced coffee, Papa’s favorite, and one of her rhubarb desserts.
We still visit the small patio on the corner of Hall Street; the lilac bushes are now overgrown, but the memories are priceless…
Here is Nana’s recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Enjoy!
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1 cup flour
1/3 cup oats (quick or regular)
2 tablespoons + 4 teaspoons of sugar* (yes that is exactly how it reads on Nana’s recipe)
1 stick of butter, melted
3 or 4 tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling on top so it glistens (we use a coarse sugar)
5 stalks of rhubarb, sliced (it came out to about 1-1/2 cups)
1 quart strawberries, halved
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup sugar*
3 tablespoons cornstarch
*use Vanilla Sugar if you have it!
Heat oven to 375º F. Prepare the crumble topping: Mix flour, oats and sugar with the melted butter in a mixing bowl, until crumbly, refrigerate until needed.
Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb,strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch in a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Sprinkle with the topping mixture, thick and evenly. Place on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake until fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Watch it, all oven temperatures vary. Enjoy!
If using small glass jars or coffee cups (aren’t they amazing!!), make sure they are oven-safe, fill each jar halfway with filling, pile high with crumble and place mason jars on a lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Serve either presentation with ice cream or fresh cream, yum!