I have this vision of a clean but gently broken-in kitchen, a breeze though an open window rustling the dish towels and a pie, baked up in an Americana Pyrex dish, perched on a sill to cool. All is simple, tidy and smells like heaven. I’d be off somewhere gardening in the shade, reading a book or spreading corn out for the hens.
But dammit it’s like 100 degrees in my house and everywhere I go I’m sweating like a pig. I’m trying desperately to walk without my thighs sticking together. I keep dropping my garden shovel to swat away spiders with little shrieks of terror every 5 minutes and the heat makes reading outside impossible unless “reading” really means “napping”. So why on God’s green earth would I want to heat up a big metal box to 375 degrees within my 989 square foot un-air conditioned home? Why?!
This is why.
This crumble is worth it. It’s worth realizing its hotter inside your house than outside. It’s worth an extra trip to the store if you don’t have rhubarb. It’s worth the red fruit stained blob on your floor. It’s worth the 40 – 50 minute baking time. It’s worth the sweat that comes with opening and reopening the sweltering hot box to check to see if it’s done.
As I peered down into this crumble, anxiously trying a bite after it had cool for about…eehhhh like 5 seconds, I just closed my eyes and there I was. Standing in that cottage kitchen, the dishes washed, the laundry folded, the garden blooming, the chickens clucking, a pleasant breeze and the sound of life off in the distance.
BANG BANG RRRRROOOAAAARRR BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP!!!!!
That would be the sound of our road being torn out and re-paved this week, snapping me oh so pleasantly back into reality. The rumbling of said construction causes every dish in the house to vibrate. Oh and I haven’t actually done the dishes, there is a layer of crusty something on the counter that will have to scraped off, the mile-high stack of dirty clothes are on the floor in my room, the chickens are pecking each other and my thighs are still stuck together.
I think I’ll just get a bowl of this and go sit in a corner.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble – Smittenkitchen.com
Yields 6 to 8 servings.
For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw)
Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (I used an oval dish this time, because they fit better in the bottom of a shopping bag.)
3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.