Sunday, July 10, 2011

go with the oats

the beaches may be open and the wrigleyville streets filled with rowdy cubs fans, but it doesn't officially feel like summer until i have the smell of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb making its way through my apartment. crumbles are wonderful because they're typically easy to put together and difficult to mess up. at least that has been my experience.

every time i make one of these i have to resist the urge to eat the whole thing. luckily i have friends who come a runnin' when the mere possibility of my making a crumble is mentioned. those are good friends to have.

this is my all-time favorite summer crumble recipe, so take care of her. she is a recipe to be cherished and made over and over again until there are no more stalks of rhubarb to be found at the farmers market.

and yes, i do have a favorite fall crumble recipe, in case you were wondering. just wait until november rolls around. i will be happy to introduce the two of you.

the best part of this crumble is the topping. the oats add a lovely density that i find other non-oat recipes lack. i recently tried a different recipe without oats, because i could not for the life of me remember where the following recipe was hiding, and i was greatly disappointed with the outcome. thankfully i remembered to look through my old bon app magazines and this recipe and i were happily reunited. 

so trust me, go with the oats. 

strawberry and rhubarb crumble
adapted from bon appetit magazine, may 2010. original recipe by tamasin day-lewis (daniel day-lewis' sister. seriously.)

the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of husked hazelnuts (toasted and coarsely chopped) instead of a full cup of oats. the first time i made this crumble i wasn't in the mood for nuts so i left them out and haven't felt like putting them back in. so if you want more crunch, by all means use the 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. i use an extra 1/2 cup of oats instead.

3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar (one for the topping and one for the filling)
large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup old-fashioned oats (or 1/2 cup of oats + 1/2 cup of chopped nuts)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean as the original recipe suggests. however, i know not all of us have vanilla beans at the ready.)
1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved (about 4 cups)
12 ounces rhubarb, ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
vanilla ice cream (most important)

combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. add butter. rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. mix in oats and nuts (if using). cover and chill. topping can be made 1 day ahead, if ya want.

preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. add vanilla extract (or vanilla bean seeds); whisk to blend well. add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl. toss to coat well. scrape fruit filling into prepared baking dish. sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.

bake crumble until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. let cool 15 minutes. spoon warm crumble into bowls. serve with ice cream. (highly recommended)

yield: about 8 servings (or less depending on how hungry you and your friends might be)

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