Good recipes to share with friends.
What does spring mean? Well, rhubarb is starting to grow in the warmer climes, and strawberries are starting to fruit. But who am I trying to kid? What I mean to say is there’s fresh rhubarb at the supermarket and there are still strawberries. There’s always strawberries. They haul them in from Mexico where they grow year around I guess. Whatever, they’re organic and fresh and delicious.
Spring also means that I start to think about the May long weekend, beaches and the glorious sun that was up for 14 hours and 14 minutes today! The latter point puts me into the happiest of moods. It’s so satisfying to come home from work, have time to bike to the supermarket for some fresh fruit and make it home before twilight. Wonderful. And the amazing thing is that we’re only a bit over a month into Spring and the sun still managed to christen us with 25 degree Celsius temperatures this past weekend, illuminate the clear blue skies and make the river sparkle.
I couldn’t help putting on some of my favourite summer songs while I started to slice the fruit! I’ve had this Best Coast song stuck in my head all weekend so it only made sense to cast a playlist from that. It’s somewhat about summer, surfing and boys. If you’re efficient in the kitchen and not running around changing songs and taking pictures you’ll probably be just finishing the playlist as you pop the dish into the oven. I hope…. it’s half an hour and how long does it take you to slice? Really?
Watch above or watch on youtube.
So, I had my mood, ingredients and music ready to go. It’s off to the races. I actually Frankensteined this beauty together from two of my favourite recipes. The filling comes from a delicious crumble on Smitten Kitchen. When I made it the first time I wasn’t too thrilled with the topping. I remembered my Grandma’s fruit crumbles from when I was a kid and how flavourful they were with rolled oats. In fact, she still makes excellent crumbles. They melt in your mouth while giving a nice texture balance to the gooey fruit. That’s what I wanted.
While scouring my random ripped up pages scrawled on loose-leaf and torn out magazine pages of recipes and getting distracted looking at other things I could make I remembered my friend Joan’s recipe that she had published in a community cookbook. I quickly found it and it looked delicious. It even had maple syrup, which was genius because maple syrup is very vernal to me. I had to take out some of the more apple oriented ingredients like walnuts and cinnamon and replaced them with lemon zest to go with the strawberry-rhubarb.
In Quebec (where my Grandma is from) the spring time means it’s time to get out the buckets and tap the maple trees for their syrup. This is why they have sugar shacks where they pour hot maple syrup on the winter snow and twirl it up on popsicle sticks while enjoying french music and dancing. I got to do this once in Calgary and it is one of those priceless memories from my youth.
Rhubarb is notoriously bitter. That’s why my mom hates it. You don’t want to destroy the tanginess that the rhubarb adds but you also don’t want so much of it that it jumps out. The counterbalance is sugar. Luckily, strawberries have a wonderful, natural sweetness that does most of the work for us. There’s an approximate 2:1 ratio of strawberry to rhubarb and that does some de-bittering, but we still need sugar in the filling and on the topping to finish the balance.
For any non-rhubarb haters, it’ll be a great hit. The nice thing about bringing crisps and pies to potlucks is that they work fantastically when they’re cool. They heat up well and still retain their original flavour and a bit of the crispiness.
A Spring Day’s Strawberry And Rhubarb Crispy Crumble
Feeds 12 potluck goers when there’s no other deserts. Otherwise, works for about 20 people.
* feel free to use canola oil in place of butter to make a vegan version