Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

strawberry rhubarb crisp with star anise

I have been seeing Rhubarb pies all over Instagram lately, so when I was staring at a bunch of fresh Rhubarb stalks at Whole Foods today, I decided it was time to jump on that Rhubarb bandwagon! Since rhubarb is made up of so much tang, making a strawberry rhubarb crisp is a perfect way to balance the flavor and get a sweet crunch against the soft, juicy fruit in every bite. There are only two components to this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, the filling and the topping. This is such a quick and easy dessert to put together. This crisp is bright, vibrant, and filled with flavor and character.

I grabbed a few stalks of Rhubarb then roamed the aisles looking for some flavor inspiration. Rhubarb stalks look a lot like brightly colored celery. It is a very tart and tangy vegetable that people liken in flavor to sour green apples. Strawberries or sweet raspberries is an ideal pairing. Since the raspberries in our area have been tart lately, I chose strawberries to lend juice and sweetness while adding a brighter red color to the dessert idea floating in my mind.

The Rhubarb was placed next to fennel, which got me thinking that a licorice flavor twist was definitely going to happen here. And what spice gives that licorice flavor? Star anise! Star anise is usually a spice I use during the colder months, so this felt exciting to switch up some seasonal flair! I love making dishes where people will pause to discover what your “secret ingredient” is. Freshly ground star anise is a great enhancement in the topping of a fruit crisp as long as you go easy with it so it doesn’t overpower the other flavors.

Star Anise also adds flavor in poaching, in five spice blend, or in ginger cookies, to name a few. Find out all about this diverse and unique spice here- https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-the-heck-do-i-do-with-star-anise-111444755/.

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

The first step of your Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is to make a filling. For that you will get your strawberries rinsed, hulled, and sliced in half. Clean your rhubarb stalks by trimming the ends and stripping any of the stringy bits of skin. Cut the stalks into half inch pieces, cut in a diagonal. That is always how I cut celery and since Rhubarb stalks do resemble celery, it seemed like the right thing to do!

Bea and Tilly were of course watching me clean and cut all of the rhubarb and strawberries, so I lost a bit of the rhubarb and a bunch of strawberries along the way! I love having them with me when I cook to get them excited to eat their fruits and vegetables, but also, to learn about new ingredients in their natural form.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

To this strawberry rhubarb mixture you will add in some sugar, grated orange zest, a splash of orange juice, and a little flour or cornstarch. Then butter up a Gratin Dish, and put the filling inside.

The Topping

The next component of your Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is the topping. For this, you will first need to grind up your star anise seeds. The ground star anise into will give a hint of licorice and intrigue to this zany dessert. If you can find it ground, then use a pinch, or, 1/8 teaspoon of that. Remember, a little goes a long way! If you don’t have the ground spice then take apart some whole star anise and grind up the seeds you will find in each of the “star points” with a Spice Grinder. Then add it to your flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Dice up your butter and use a  Pastry Cutter to cut it into the topping until it resembles small pebbles. Then mix in your oats. Sprinkle it all over the top of your crisp.

strawberry rhubarb crisp with star anise

Bake, Cool, Serve!

Bake your Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp for about 40 minutes until it is bubbling and the topping has browned and crisped like a crisp should!  Let cool a bit. Then serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The vanilla ice cream will add that cold and creamy element that a warm crisp deserves.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

And let me tell you, love at first bite! Imagine the warm, soft filling, tart and juicy with a crisp sweetened brown sugar oat topping and cool, creamy vanilla ice cream to bring it all home. Such a flavorful and memorable dessert!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is a tangy, sweet, and juicy dessert that has a mouthful of crisp oat and brown sugar topping in every bite. Try A La Mode!

Ingredients

Filling

  • 2.5 cups sliced Rhubarb About 5 Stalks
  • 2.5 cups Strawberries Hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar see notes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or AP Flour
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest Optional!

Topping

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup AP Flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground star anise
  • 5 tab butter chilled, then diced
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter a gratin dish.

    Hull and slice your strawberries. Clean and trim your rhubarb stalks. Slice them into half inch pieces. Put into a big bowl. Toss with orange juice, sugar, and flour. Put into your dish.

    For Topping:

    Add all ingredients except for butter and oats. Mix. Then cut in your butter with a pastry cutter. Mix in oats. Sprinkle over the top of the strawberry rhubarb filling,

    Bake for approx. 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crisp has browned. 

    Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Recipe Notes

Rhubarb is more tart in the early spring. By Summer the stalks mellow and sweeten out a bit. You can increase the sugar up to 1/2 cup if your stalks seem extra tart or you prefer a sweeter crisp overall.

For extra zest, add a little orange zest! I love to do this when I am serving the crisp with ice cream. I love tangy desserts!

If you prefer not to use star anise, try ginger.

If you want to try a different take on this strawberry rhubarb crisp, switch out the orange for lemon and swap the star anise for some fresh chopped thyme. 

Special Tools For This Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp



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