There’s been a seasonal bounty convention in my kitchen lately, sort of a Produce-Con, and the most popular local superheroes have been that dynamic duo of strawberry and rhubarb. They’re starring in many dishes, with some recipes approaching blockbuster status. (So says I, although I’ve yet to see one of my recipes go viral. I could pretend that I’m above all that, but truth to tell, should one of my concoctions make the rounds on the internet for my 15 seconds of fame I’d be thrilled. We don’t get 15 minutes any more these days, right?) Anyway, getting back to the script, let me tell you what these two fruit crusaders got up to today.
A friend came for a visit a couple days ago, and to welcome her I made a strawberry rhubarb crisp. My goal was to make this dessert low sugar, gluten-free* and vegan**. I had the fruit prepped and mixed before my friend’s arrival and then conferred with her about her dietary needs and preferences. What I ended up with was a crisp with a hit of tartness sweetly offset with a generous drizzle of maple syrup. So good!
I ate half of the leftovers yesterday, and today came up with a genius way to repurpose the rest. (Okay, first ‘blockbuster’ and now ‘genius’ — modesty seems to have deserted me.) I was working with yogourt for another recipe and got the idea to create a strawberry rhubarb crisp parfait.
You can do this when you have leftover crisp of any kind; just be sure to balance out the sweetness. I spooned a good layer of the crisp into a glass, topped it with a healthy dollop of yogourt (I used plain Greek yogourt, but vanilla would be tasty too) and a luscious drizzle of maple syrup. Repeat once more and there you go: a parfait!
Strawberry Rhubarb Coconut Crisp (Parfait)
This is one of those dishes that I threw together without measuring anything, so I’m estimating in the directions below. This makes enough for a 7- by 11-inch baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 ℉ and grease the dish with a small bit of coconut oil.
*If it’s imperative that this dish be gluten-free, for example if you’re making it for someone with celiac disease, you need to make sure the oats are certified gluten-free; otherwise they could be contaminated by being processed in a facility that also handles grains with gluten.
**While the crisp itself is vegan, using dairy-based yogourt in the parfait is not. You could substitute a coconut-based yogourt or coconut cream to make the parfait vegan as well.
First cut a bunch of rhubarb into thin slices (a quarter-inch or so). My bunch was about six stalks. Next cut some strawberries into large pieces to achieve a roughly equal volume to the rhubarb. The idea is that they will be quite a bit bigger than the rhubarb pieces so they won’t get lost as they soften during the baking process. I cut large berries into quarters and smaller ones into two pieces. Put the fruit into a large bowl and stir in about a half teaspoon of vanilla extract and a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon. My idea was for the strawberries to provide most of the sweetness in the dish, so I didn’t add any sugar or other sweetener to the fruit.
For the topping, put about a cup and a quarter of large flake oatmeal into a bowl along with a couple of tablespoons of hemp hearts. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Add a tablespoon or so of coconut oil (mine was solidified but soft) and then use a pastry cutter to distribute the oil evenly throughout the other ingredients. Stir in a small handful of large coconut flakes and a couple tablespoons of maple syrup. Taste and adjust the sweetness if needed; my intention was for it to be subtle but hey, if you like a sweeter dessert, you might like to add a tablespoon or so of cane sugar to the the fruit and to the topping. Do use some maple syrup in the topping, though, for the rich caramelly note it adds.
Spoon the fruit into the prepared dish and strew the topping evenly over it. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is getting golden and, well, crisp (see title, lol).
To serve, ladle into small bowls (or large bowls) and add a generous drizzle of maple syrup. My friend and I ate ours hot out of the oven, but it was delicious at room temperature the next day, and equally delicious today transformed into a parfait with yogourt and maple syrup, as explained above.