bravery in the kitchen: strawberry rhubarb crumble

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Know that my intentions were pure and virtuous as I hit the kitchen on a sweltering Saturday, inspired by my all-day food styling class, in pursuit of a crumble. I’d purchased fresh rhubarb and strawberries from the farmer’s market and I was delirious about creating a recipe, from scratch.

And then it all fell apart.

It might be helpful to recognize that some glassware can’t be used in the oven. Mid-way through the baking process, I checked on the crumble to find shards of glass scattered inside the oven, and filling oozed on the rack. Naturally, as one would expect, my smoke alarm went off, my cat fled into the bedroom, and I spent the greater part of ten minutes on top of a chair swatting at said alarm with a towel.

I’m not done. Not by a long shot.

I tried to place the half-baked crumble into another dish and it was a HOT MESS. Literally. I also found it somewhat suspicious that there was entirely too much liquid compared to the dry ingredients, and it dawned on me that I’d used TOO MUCH FRUIT. And like any good baker, I fell into a deep denial, shoved my crap pie back into the oven and set the timer.

Unfortunately, the crumble wasn’t the masterpiece I expected. It was tasty and much better cold, but the filling completely overpowered the crust and the appearance — well, not even a Canon 5D Mark III can make this a beauty. SIGH.

After another round of tinkering, I got the adjustments right but it was entirely too dark to snap a photo. However, the day wasn’t lost because I created something from scratch, I conceived of a new way to make a crumble and I had fun doing it. Often we see perfect and pristine photographs of earthy delights, yet a great deal of us FAIL in the kitchen. And I think it’s important to show and share those mishaps, as well. We should do more of it.

So, after much grief and joy, I present…The Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble.

For the Crumble:
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup oats (please don’t use instant oats or oatmeal)
1/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp butter

For the Filling:
2 cups chopped rhubarb, chopped 1/2 inch dice
2 cups strawberries, chopped in half, stems removed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp rhubarb syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Pre-heat your oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients and add stir in the yoghurt with a wooden spoon and spatula. With your hands, work the cold butter into the mixture until you get the consistency of large clumps of peas. You want to ensure that the dry ingredients bind and cohere, so while the yoghurt is a terrific start, the butter will give you that tight bind and incredible flavor, which makes a crumble sing. Once the topping is ready set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb and strawberries with the syrup, vinegar and sugar until all of the fruit is completely covered.

In a 9inch pie dish, add the filling and ensure that it is evenly distributed in the dish. Add the crumble and bake at 375F for 45 minutes until your topping is crispy and golden and your filling is bubbling and oozing.

Serve hot with ice-cream!



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