This site's been down on and off for the last week or so, due to technical problems that definitely are over my head in terms of complexity. But you know me, I tried to fix them anyway. After one full day of head cold-induced stupor and a second, semi-conscious day of tinkering around, I seem to have solved most of the issues, at least for now. My header still isn't showing up, but a) that may be the last little kick in the derriere that I needed to change the thing, and b) you're the best readers ever: you know where you are.
Meanwhile, I'm glad the site's up again, because I finally can share the stockpile of delicious things I've been cooking that you need to cook, too.
We hosted our monthly wine club on Friday night. Dinner was gazpacho and a big nicoise salad, but for dessert, I had two quarts of the sweetest sweet cherries an no plan. I'd had my sites set on a slab pie, but the head cold nixed my grand plans. That's when I remembered about the freezer bag of chopped rhubarb that I'd put away in early spring, and I got nervous that the cherries would be too sweet and one-note on their own, so I combined them into a spontaneous and really good crumble.
The cherries needed no help; they're perfect alone, and if you make this crumble with just cherries, as long as they're good ones, you'll be very happy. (I will also add that if you happen to have a mix of sour and sweet cherries, that combination is lovely, too.)
But if you have the rhubarb, the combination is truly lovely. I'm so used to the classic strawberry-rhubarb combination, but sweet cherries round our rhubarb's astringency even better than spring strawberries. Depending on where you live, rhubarb and cherries don't overlap for all that long, but I saw both at our market on Sunday, so now's the time. Make this pronto.
Any crumble topping you like will work, but the oats and the tiny hint of cinnamon here work particularly well. What's most important is that you fill that basket with all the berries you can, and then go eat a lot of them, and make some of them into jam, and make some of them into a crumble. It's happy summer time.
Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Crumble serves 6-8
This amount fits in a standard 9x13" baking dish. If you'd like to make a smaller crisp, halve the ingredients and bake it in either an 8x8" or -- even better -- an 8x6" baking dish. It's thinner in the 8x8, thicker in the 8x6.
1 1/2 lbs. sweet cherries, cleaned and pitted 1/2 lb. rhubarb, stems trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon corn starch (or tapioca starch)
1 stick butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup flour 1 cup oats 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375° and set out a 9x13 baking dish.
Combine cherries, rhubarb, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saute pan and set over medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the cherries and rhubarb have softened but not disintegrated. Use a slotted spoon to strain the fruit into your baking dish, leaving behind the liquid. Reduce the heat to low, add the corn starch, and use a whisk or a for to mix it into the cooking liquid. In a matter of 1-2 minutes, the liquid should have thickened. Drizzle the thickened liquid over the fruit.
In a separate bowl, mix the butter, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and brown sugar. Use a fork to combine completely. Add flour, oats, salt, and cinnamon, and stir until the mixture forms little clumps.
Pour the crumble topping onto the fruit and spread it evenly. Transfer the baking dish the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and crumble is golden. Set out to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delish.