Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Cure for the Common Dessert

As news about our blog slowly spreads, many of our friends are expressing interest in securing a dinner invitation from The Affordable Foodie. We're absolutely thrilled by this turn of events and are trying to entertain small groups (Kingsley's apt. only holds about 8) on a regular basis. After all, there's nothing better than chowing down on good food with good friends, and we have so much fun cooking for the people we love! However, with recognition and attention comes pressure to perform.

Last weekend, our friends Elisha and Casey (a.k.a. Beard, his Majesty the Rev. Zilla, Beardinator, Casey #1, etc.) came in from D.C. for a short visit. Kinger and I decided to dazzle the engaged couple, my brother David and Mr. C with some sophisticated dishes we saw in the May issue of Bon Appétit. We ended up making a Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble for dessert, which turned out very well if I do say so myself.

According to Bon Appétit, the crumble is the British version of the American crisp. All I know is that it's one of the simplest desserts I've ever made and delivers a huge payoff. It took me less than 30 minutes to put the dish together, and it cooked while we were eating our dinner. This recipe easily feeds at least 10 people for only $10. It also features the classic combination of tart rhubarb, which is in season right now and available at any local farmers market, and sweet strawberries. We did not include the hazelnuts that are part of the Bon Appétit recipe to our streusel topping because Casey isn't a fan, but feel free to add them if you're looking for some extra crunch.

Don't even attempt to enjoy this dessert without ice cream. I don't care if you're lactose intolerant, trying to lose weight or just don't like ice cream. The value of adding a cool, creamy component to the warm crisp is too great to ignore.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble


3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
Large pinch of salt
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup husked hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved (about 4 cups)
12 oz. rhubarb (preferably bright red), ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick pieces
Vanilla ice cream


Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter. Rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats and nuts. NOTE: Topping can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill. Also, the strawberries and rhubarb can be cut up in advance, but do not mix it with the other ingredients any sooner than 30 minutes before baking. Otherwise, you'll end up with a soupy crumble (not ideal).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 11 x 7 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and whisk to blend well. Add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl; toss to coat well. Scrape fruit filling into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.

Bake crumble until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Spoon warm crumble into bowls and serve with ice cream.


  1. I am all about anything a la mode! This looks so good, and so simple! Thanks, AF!

  2. You can help me pick out the perfect spot for a rhubarb patch at R.'s new house!
    Then I'll get a goat and we can have honey-lavender goat's milk ice cream to top it off! It's a veritable funny farm 'round here.

  3. I can speak from experience -- if I could bathe in this rhubarb crumble... I WOULD!

    Twas a glorious dessert fit for a king... which was fitting.


  4. Can we please add this to the menu when AF hits the road and travels OTP a la chez Johnson?

  5. AF's crumble was just what the doctor ordered! The crumble itself was super hot (like Casey #1) and delicious. The ice cream was its perfect foil: cold & creamy. I'm so glad I got to be there to taste this delicious desert in person. Thanks AF!

  6. This might be my favorite recipe yet...but that's no surprise since it's a dessert. Yummm!