Friday, May 25, 2012

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with Orange-scented Honey & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

As we approach Memorial Day—the official kick off of the summer season—I thought I would post a recipe for one of my all time favorite early summer desserts: Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp. I can't think of a better way to end your holiday meal.


Like all crisps it can be made in a big pan for communal/casual/potluck-style dining:


And it can also be made in small individual serving dishes if your party is a bit more formal:


However you choose to make it, make sure your baking vessels are wide and shallow so you get a nice ratio of juicy berries and tart, tender rhubarb to sweet, crispy topping in every bite. If you have time, do make the ice cream...it is the perfect texture, temperature and flavor accent. As far as I'm concerned—at least in the dessert department—it doesn't get much better than this.



Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Topping:
1 c. plus 2 T. (225g) light or golden brown sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
9 T. cold unsalted butter, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 c. quick oats

Combine the sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until homogenous. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks like clumpy, damp sand. Transfer to a bowl and toss in the oats. Chill until cold. (If the topping isn't cold, the baked topping will tend to be soft and greasy rather than crunchy and light.)

Filling:
2 T. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar (see note)
1/4 t. salt
6 c. diced (3/4-inch pieces) rhubarb—1 1/2 lbs. trimmed weight
2 c. hulled and quartered (or halved, depending on their size) strawberries
2 T. water


Stir together the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb with the water. Add the dry ingredients and toss until well combined. Spread the mixture in a buttered 2.5- to 3-quart oval gratin or a 13x9-inch baking dish. Scatter the strawberries over the rhubarb and spread the topping over all.


The topping should generously cover the fruit. Bake in a 375° to 400° oven until the topping is golden and crisp and the fruit is bubbling around the edges (with the occasional bubble seen in the center)—about 35 to 45 minutes.

For eight individual crisps, butter 8 shallow 1 cup capacity baking dishes. Divide the rhubarb (about 3/4 c. per dish) among the dishes. Divide the strawberries over all (about 1/4 cup per portion). Top each with 2/3 cup (70 grams) of the chilled streusel, carefully spreading to fully cover each. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake in a 400° to 425° oven until the topping is golden and crisp and the fruit is bubbling around the edges—about 20 to 30 minutes.  (When building individual crisps, they will seem very full—probably too full—but as you can see from the pictures below, the contents of the dish shrink considerably in the oven.  If you don't fill the dishes generously, the portions will end up looking very meager.)


Cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Note: This is the correct amount of sugar. There is plenty of sugar in the topping to sweeten the rhubarb just enough.

(Filling adapted from Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis)


Orange-Scented Honey & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2 c. milk
1 vanilla bean
5 or 6 strips of orange zest
2 c. cold heavy cream
8 egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. raw honey (4 oz.)
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Place the milk in a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture. Add the vanilla bean pod to the pan with the orange zest. Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep (covered) for 20 minutes.

Return the infused milk to the heat and bring to a boil. While the milk is heating, pour the cold cream into a chilled bowl, set aside. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale yellow. When the milk boils, temper the egg yolks by gradually whisking in about 2/3 c. of the hot milk. Stir the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thickened and forms a path when you draw your finger across the back of the spoon. Immediately strain the custard into the bowl of cold cream. Add the honey and the vanilla extract and stir until the honey has melted. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for an hour or two before serving. Makes about 1 quart ice cream.




2 comments:

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

A beautiful post and a wonderful flavor combination!
Mary x

Paige said...

Thank you! Yes, I love this combination!