Things can be a little slow up here in the North country. Early spring blessings don’t always greet us in early spring–sometimes we have to wait until much closer to summer for delicious things like strawberries and rhubarb to emerge.
But, oh, when they do…
I can’t snap a stalk of fresh rhubarb or bite into a juicy, homegrown organic strawberry without being transported to my grandmother’s farm kitchen in Denmark. I was often tasked with collecting fresh berries for whatever sweet treat she was cooking up. In the one-for-the-basket, one-for-my-mouth tradition of gathering, I would languish down the rows dodging wasps and collecting the ripest fruits.
If I was lucky, she would make my favorite: a bubbling cobbler of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb.
I make a modified version of her delicious cobbler in keeping with our food rules: no flour, no processed sugar, and no gluten. We call it CrumbBumble.
Our version features a topping of almond flour, chopped almonds, gluten-free oats, chilled butter (or vegetable shortening if you’re vegan!), and a little agave nectar.
The bubbling fruit base is pure strawberries and rhubarb simmered until soft.
It’s a small wonder this treat fills my heart with love and memories of a strong Scandinavian woman from my childhood. Strawberries are associated with love, joy, youth, and the Nordic goddess Freya.
Aligned with love, beauty, and passion, Freya is also the curator, keeper, and giver of deepest Norse magic. Kitchen witches are wise to embrace her energy in crafting this late spring indulgence.
Rhubarb, for it’s part, is RICH in antioxidants–even more so after cooking!
This recipe makes enough for two large or four small ramekins of CrumbBumble.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut approximately 5 large (or 10 small) rhubarb stalks into 3/4 inch pieces. (If they need to be cleaned, wipe then with a clean, moist cloth–rinsing them will cause them to split!)
Wash 1 1/2 to 2 cups strawberries, cut off the tops, and halve.
Place rhubarb and strawberries in a heavy-bottomed pot, add 2T water, and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer–watching closely!–until the berries and rhubarb have softened and released their juices. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup gluten-free oats (from Bob’s Red Mill), and 3T chilled butter or vegetable shortening with a hand pastry cutter. When well combined, add 1/4 tsp almond extract, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 2T agave nectar, and 1/4 cup chopped almonds. Mix well to combine.
Pour the fruit mixture in the bottom of un-buttered ramekins. Top with almond/oat mixture.
If you’re working with magical intention, say, creating a dessert for sharing with your beloved to anchor your commitment, protect your happiness, and elevate your passion, add your crumble topping in the shape of a star.
Bake for 10-20 minutes or until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling up around the sides. (Duration of baking will depend on the size of your ramekins…)
Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. (We like ours when they are still a little warm…)
Note that rhubarb is quite tart–that’s what makes it such a wonderful contrast to the sweet strawberries.
That said, an unsweetened fruit blend with rhubarb may be too tart for some. If you prefer your treats on the sweeter side, you can either shift the ratio of fruit to include more sweet strawberries or add agave nectar/honey to the fruit mixture after the fruit has cooked and softened.
Bless and blessed be!