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Dorothy Dean presents: Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp represents the perfect marriage of sweet and tart. Add ice cream for creaminess. (Audrey Alfaro / Audrey Alfaro)
Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp represents the perfect marriage of sweet and tart. Add ice cream for creaminess. (Audrey Alfaro / Audrey Alfaro)

Growing up I was never a fan of rhubarb.

I had only tried it straight from the garden and thought it was like bitter, stringy, celery. So I dismissed it as a veggie to avoid. That was until a few years back when my hubby mentioned how he missed his grandmother’s rhubarb crisp.

And though I disliked eating rhubarb, I had no problem cooking it for him. So I scoured the internet, searching for the best rhubarb crisp recipe I could find. And you know what?

I found it. And it is divine.

It has turned me into a rhubarb lover. Well, cooked rhubarb at least.

This recipe calls for strawberries as well. And let me tell you, if you haven’t had rhubarb and strawberries together, you’ve been missing out on a culinary marriage made in heaven. Sweet and tart go hand-in-hand. They balance each other out perfectly.

A big, fat layer of buttery, crunchy, crumble helps, too. So does creamy, vanilla ice cream.

This comforting and delicious dessert was my welcoming back into the land of rhubarb. And I am never leaving.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Adapted from Food and Wine

For the filling:

2 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the filling, add the rhubarb and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl. Toss and let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In another bowl, stir the strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, add the rhubarb to the strawberries; discarding any rhubarb juice. Stir the cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla into the fruit mixture. Pour mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or pan.

For the topping, add all of the ingredients into a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingers, combine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Evenly sprinkle the topping over filling and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees; and continue baking for about 30 more minutes, until filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Rest crisp for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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