Hello there! What a crazy few weeks it’s been. I feel like I’ve been neglecting the ol’ blog (not to mention my friends, family, and laundry) as I’ve flown all over North America: from my home base in Calgary, I’ve been to Fort McMurray, Alberta; San Antonio, Texas; and most recently, Kitchener, Ontario for my brother’s wedding. We arrived home late last night from Ontario, and thank goodness we didn’t have to work today because I needed to catch up on some serious lost sleep.
I should be relatively stationary for the next little while, though – I might head out to Vancouver once or twice in the summer to visit my parents, but that’s it until our big trip to Italy in September. Can’t wait!
I’ve had this recipe ready to share for some time now. I actually photographed it about two weeks ago, but have been too busy to put the proper amount of time and effort into a post. I definitely wanted to get this out to you as soon as I could, as I know rhubarb season can be short-lived in some places.
Luckily, I have a few large rhubarb bushes in my yard, which produce way more than I could possibly consume each year, although in this climate they don’t usually ripen until early summer. Truth be told, the squares you see were made with last year’s rhubarb which I have kept in the freezer. Since you’re basically stewing the rhubarb with strawberries, frozen is fine and you won’t be able to taste the difference in the final product.
Speaking of which, the filling for these buttery, crumbly squares might look familiar to some of you: it’s just the strawberry rhubarb portion of my Oatmeal Ginger Pancakes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. That recipe inevitably results in excess compote, and I always thought the leftovers would be fantastic in some sort of crumble or cake or bar.
The filling is a perfect balance of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb, surrounded by the crisp, buttery oatmeal crumble. The crumble recipe is a staple in my kitchen, and can be used in infinite applications by pairing it with any sort of compote, jam or other fruit curd you may have on hand. If you’re in a pinch and need to throw a dessert together, or if (like me) sometimes you just crave some sort of sweet baked good to pair with a cup of coffee in the afternoon, look no further. The crumble comes together in a flash and you can layer it with that half-used jar of jam that’s been sitting in your refrigerator forever.
To my Canadian friends: I hope you had a wonderful May Long Weekend! Enjoy.
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup strawberries, hulled and quartered (fresh or frozen)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ½ cups rolled oats
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold & cut into ½-inch pieces
- In a small heavy saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rhubarb is tender and beginning to break down, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in strawberries and vanilla and cook for 5 more minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9x9-inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the cold butter, and use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs about the size of small peas. Reserve 2 cups of the oat mixture and set aside.Press remaining oat mixture into prepared pan.
- Spoon 1 and ½ cups of the strawberry-rhubarb mixture onto the bottom crust and spread evenly overtop (Note: you may have extra filling; reserve for another use). Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the filling.
- Bake about 50-55 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling. Let cool on a rack for 2 hours before cutting into squares and serving. The finished squares will keep covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Source: Crumble recipe my own; compote recipe compote recipe adapted from Epicurious (originally published in Bon Appetit, May 1993).