Medjool dates. Dark chocolate with salt. Meringue. Nougat. Chocolate chip cookies. There are certain foods that make my eyes grow large and the corners of my mouth go up. Any recipe making mention of those above sweets goes right into my “to bake” file. Rhubarb is another favorite of mine and I love its name in German: Rhabarber. When the season was in full swing here in Zürich last May, I was buying fresh bundles of vibrant rhubarb almost weekly at the market. Baked into tarts, cakes, jams and even rhubarb roll-ups! That peak season hasn’t quite arrived yet, but the first stalks are here. Strawberries too, from Spain rather than the local Swiss variety (small and softer) that will come in later summer months. Armed with rhubarb and strawberries,… it was time to get baking.
And it was time to mark the beginning of spring too, finally as many would say! What better way to do that than bake a rhubarb crumble and fill my apartment with colorful, aromatic flowers.
And just look at all those tulips below (at Zürich’s Bürkliplatz Markt). I got one of each color!
Since many of you reading don’t have fresh rhubarb where you live, I decided to use frozen; that way you can make this recipe wherever you are and all year round (which I’ll be doing for sure). One of my favorite jams to make is rhubarb, raspberry and strawberry. So into my rhubarb crumble went some frozen raspberries (of which I always have in my freezer) and a handful of fresh strawberries. For a little surprise at the bottom of the ramekin, in went some blueberries too. My inspiration came from Tartlette, who made gluten-free rhubarb and red berry crumbles with honey and cardamom, and from Desserts for Breakfast (what a great name – and idea !), who made strawberry rhubarb crumbles with orange juice and zest. Aha! I didn’t add any spices to my fruit filling, but I did like the idea of freshly squeezed orange juice. All of the flavors blended so nicely and the orange was a perfectly subtle touch. I’m ready to make this recipe below again. And when I do, I’m doubling the amount of crumble!
Makes 6 individual ramekins
about 3 1/2 cups frozen (or fresh) rhubarb chunks
1 cup frozen (or fresh) raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
6 medium strawberries, hulled and halved
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup flour
2 big pinches fleur de sel
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
Prepare the fruit filling. You don’t need to defrost the rhubarb and/or raspberries if frozen. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together and make sure the cornstarch and orange juice are well distributed. Spoon into ramekins (2 strawberry halves in each) and set aside.
Make the crumble topping. Combine all of the ingredients except the butter in a bowl. Mix together. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture (you can also use a pastry cutter or fork, but it’s more fun with your hands!). Continue until the butter is evenly distributed throughout the mixture, which should resemble… crumbs. Top the ramekins generously with the crumb topping, pressing down lightly and making sure none of the fruit is exposed.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the fruit bubbles up and inevitably runs down the sides of the ramekins. The topping should be golden brown. Remove and let cool before serving. Serve warm and top with a scoop of ice cream if you’d like. If you don’t serve them right away, you can reheat at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) for about 5-10 minutes. But they are quite delicious served cold too.