My entire life I have heard my dad talk about his love for strawberry rhubarb pie, a specialty of both his grandmother and mother (my grandmother, Nana). Nana was a very special woman and I miss her every day. She was best known around the family and community for her artistic talent including her beautiful portraits that hang around our house at home in Charlotte and for her landscape paintings which adorn my grandfather’s home in Richmond. However, something I didn’t get to experience much from her was her food but I understand from my dad that she was an amazing cook. He has told me about many of her famous dishes, but when he talks about the rhubarb pie, he closes his eyes, licks his lips, and says, “mmmm,” every time.
I have been waiting for many months now for the rhubarb and strawberries to be in season so I can attempt this dessert. I am working on perfecting my pie in honor of Nana, which I hope to share soon, but I had to try the combination in one of my favorite styles of desserts – a fruit crisp. And let me tell you… it is perfection. The naturally sweet fruit needs only a sprinkle of sugar, some orange zest and my secret ingredient, pure vanilla extract, to bring out the beautiful flavors of spring. I top it off with a buttery, almost cookie-like, crispy crumble, which provides the additional richness and texture needed to make it an over-the-top dessert for any occasion. Serve it with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream and watch it melt into your spoon as you take each bite. Absolutely amazing!!
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature, diced
- 1 cup fresh rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 1 stalk)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ teaspoon all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Zest of ½ orange (about ½ teaspoon)
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- For the topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, rolled oats, both sugars, and salt. Add the diced butter and use your hands or two forks to combine until all the butter is incorporated and the flour mixture looks like large peas. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to chill.
- While the topping is chilling, make the filling. Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a medium sized bowl and combine. Add the sugar, flour, vanilla, and orange zest and toss with a spoon until the fruit is evenly coated with all other ingredients.
- Scoop filling into two individual 3-4 inch baking ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Remove the topping from the refrigerator and use your hands to place on top of filling. Use it all up, you will be happy you did!
- Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Remove and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes and then top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve! This is also very good at room temperature and the filling thickens over time, so feel free to make ahead of time and leave out.