A classic summer combination: Rhubarb and Strawberries from Executive Pastry Chef Ruben Ortega

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From our The Vivant’s Top Ten: Chefs Share Their Favorite Dessert Recipe feature, executive pastry chef Ruben Ortega from Houston’s H Town Restaurant Group told me some fruits are better in crisps, and some better in cobblers. Ruben shared his recipe for a great classic summer dessert:

Rhubarb and strawberry crumble

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Almond-Oat Streusel (see below)
  • ½ lb rhubarb, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced in half
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp rose water, optional
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  2. Place rhubarb, strawberries, vanilla extract, rose water, if using, sugar and flour in a large bowl and toss to coat fruit well.
  3. Transfer to a 1 ½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle streusel over top, making sure to completely cover fruit. Place onto a foil-lined sheet pan to catch the cooking juices. Bake until juices are bubbling and streusel is golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from heat and rest 15 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve warm with ice cream.  At the restaurant they serve it with Mascarpone Ice Cream.

Almond-Oat Streusel

This streusel is a great topping for crisps and crumbles as well as adding extra flavor and a crunchy texture to your favorite muffin recipe. Sprinkle on top of muffins before baking. Store in a re-sealable plastic bag and keep in freezer for when you find a bumper crop of fresh berries or rhubarb at the farmers market. It will keep frozen for up to 3 months.

(Makes about 3 ¾ cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1 – (4 oz) stick unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¾ cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp minced orange zest
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup uncooked old-fashioned oats

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except the oats, in mixing bowl and chill, along with paddle attachment, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before beginning the recipe.
  2. Fit mixing bowl with cold ingredients and chilled paddle in stand-up mixer. Mix on medium speed until acquiring a coarse meal texture. Add the oats and mix just until incorporated into streusel, about a couple of seconds. Use immediately or freeze as directed above for up to 3 months.