Tuesday, June 7, 2011

want a recipe for rhubarb & strawberry crumble?

so...what is the difference between a crisp and a crumble?  summer is approaching (although here in napa you would never know it...it has been cold, cloudy and rainy for weeks!) and crisps/crumbles are the perfect, easy, delicious way to prepare the luscious fruit grown at this time of year.   but what is the difference?  definitions vary, but most agree that both desserts start with a bottom layer of fruit, but their toppings are a little bit different. crisp toppings are a mix of butter (or, in my case, olive oil), sugar, flour,  oats and sometimes nuts. crumbles include a butter (e.v.o.o.), flour, sugar mixture called streusel. the three ingredients are mixed until crumbly and then cover the fruit. the finished products are very similar, but crisps have a higher proportion of fat to flour so are usually crisper and a bit richer.  crumbles are more cake-like.  both are delicious.

i posted my crisp recipe last fall and used apples & pears . today i am sharing my "kind of healthy" crumble.  regular readers know i have been on a quest this year to take traditional recipes and make them a bit healthier.  i think i have been brainwashed by my friend laura's quarterly cleanses and want my body to feel good after consuming delicious food...(i.e.  not bloated, stuffed, heavy, too full)...  emphasize delicious in that last sentence.  it does me no good to create a healthy recipe if it tastes bad...or even marginal.  i need to love it or am not satisfied.  this crumble meets that criteria.

i used spelt flour instead of the more traditional white flour.  spelt flour is an ancient whole grain with high water solubility.  this allows its vital nutrients to be absorbed into the body very quickly. it also adds a bit of a nutty taste which i think works really well in crumbles. and, although it is NOT gluten free and therefore not suitable for people with celiac disease, many people sensitive to gluten report they can tolerate spelt flour.   my other substitutes are agave nectar for sugar, extra virgin olive oil for butter and, because i like the taste better, instant tapioca in place of cornstarch or flour to thicken the fruit juices.

it embarrasses me a bit to admit that i have never cooked with rhubarb.  growing up, i don't remember even eating it.  so it was a terrific surprise to find 8 stalks in my csa box last week.  rhubarb and strawberries are so often paired together that i decided this would be the perfect combo for my first attempt at using this fruit. i have heard rhubarb is very bitter so strawberries naturally add a bit of sweetness to balance everything out.  guess what?  i now am quite the rhubarb fan....how did i miss this my whole life?  rhubarb is 95% water and is rich in potassium, vitamin c, dietary fiber and calcium. one cup of chopped rhubarb contains approx 26 calories.  how great is that?  i can convince myself that leftover crumble is a healthy breakfast option  ha!  actually, once in a while, it really is....  so enjoy after dinner, as an afternoon treat...or breakfast...i think even laura would approve....(but probably without the ice cream)

rhubarb and strawberry crumble

2 1/2 cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup agave nectar 
zest of one lemon
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 stalks rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 quarts strawberries hulled and quartered
juice of one lemon
3/4 cup agave syrup
4 tablespoons instant tapioca
pinch of sea salt

preheat oven to 375°F.  in a mixing bowl combine spelt flour, baking powder, agave, lemon zest and olive oil. mix well.  you will have a dense dough.  set aside while preparing the filling.

add rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, agave, tapioca and a pinch of sea salt in a 12 x 8 baking dish. (my oval dish is approx the same size).  stir to ensure ingredients are well mixed. using your fingers, break topping into small pieces and sprinkle over fruit . cover fruit with topping. place crumble on a foil lined baking sheet (to capture any drips), and bake until crumble topping is brown and crunchy and fruit is bubbling. (approx 40 to 50 minutes.)
let cool for a minimum of 35 minutes to allow fruit to gel.  serve warm, room temperature or cold with your favorite vanilla ice cream

do you have favorite rhubarb recipes?  please share them in the comments section.  i am hoping for more rhubarb stalks in my csa box during the next few weeks.... what should i do with them?


diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style™ "

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thehealthyjunkie said...

This looks delicious! I love rhubarb. My Nana used to make yummy rhubarb pies. I also love that you used spelt flour instead of white. Since I'm not cleansing at the moment, I think I would have to add ice cream to my crumble. Yes please.
Laura Levesque Page

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

perfect laura...with ice cream now during the non-cleanse months...maybe coconut milk/agave ice cream while cleansing? do you have the recipe for the rhubarb pies?

miss garden face said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vanzare masini said...

In my opinion it looks very good and i`m sure it tastes delicious, so i will give a try to your recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.