Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles with Gluten Free Almond Topping

Every season has distinctively different flavors. Fall features apples, pears, pumpkin & warm spices.  Summer has stone fruits, like peaches & nectarines & cherries, and ice cream. Winter calls for juicy citrus like grapefruit, oranges, lemons & limes, but also warm chocolaty flavors.  And to me, spring tastes like berries & rhubarb.

Luckily, since our local HEB grocery store carries rhubarb in their freezer section, every season can taste like rhubarb.  But somehow, I’ve been waiting until spring to really utilize it.

While I love rhubarb on it’s own, whether in sauces, or pies, or cakes, or other desserts, I do also love pairing it with strawberries. Coincidentally, we have also reached the part of the year where the grocery store is bursting with strawberries (and most of the time, they’re on sale).

I created this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with several purposes in mind.  One, I was itching to taste the delightfully spring-y combination of the rhubarb with the strawberry--especially since Texas has nearly skipped spring & gone directly to summer.  And secondly, I was brainstorming a delicious (and photogenic) dessert for the finale dinner of an upcoming food photography workshop with Helene Dujardin and Clare Barboza.

Their latest workshop was this past weekend in Gulf Shores, Alabama (which I will talk about in my next post), and the crumbles were definitely a hit!

Most crumbles (or crisps) are often created in a big baking dish & then scooped into individual servings after baking.  But I’m discovering how much I like to create individual crisps.

Individual crisps are instant portion control--great for people like me with an insatiable sweet tooth).  They allow each serving to have the crunchy edge of the topping, which is one of my favorite parts, and reduce the risk for any soggy topping.  They usually bake a little faster. They can even fit into my toaster oven at home when I make a smaller batch. And they’re just really cute :)

I also love to make things that are easily modified to be gluten free.  Crumbles are seriously easy to make gluten free.  Almond Flour (or just almonds ground up in a high speed blender, like Helene’s Blendtecthat I used at the workshop) makes up the bulk of the delicious topping.  And just a little cornstarch helps thicken the fruit juices during the baking process.  Super simple and no unusual ingredients are required.

As an added bonus, the crumbles can be made in advance and re-warmed, both to heat the fruit & re-crisp the topping, just before serving.

While the fruit & topping are delicious on their own, I like to finish mine with a little Chantilly Cream (sweetened whipped cream).  Just a little dollop makes them even prettier & even tastier.

Topping adapted from here 
Filling & assembly my original creation 

Almond Streusel topping (gluten free) 
makes enough for 8 to 10 crumbles

3/4 c Almond Flour (or almonds ground fine in a high speed blender-- I used a Blendtecfor the version I made at the Workshop)
1/4 c Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbl (1 oz) butter, cold, cut into small cubes

  1. Stir together the almond flour, brown sugar, & salt.  
  2. Rub the cold butter cubes into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbles 
  3. reserve in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling & assembly 
Makes enough for 8 servings 

3 c Strawberries, hulled & sliced
3 c Rhubarb, cut into bit-sized slices
1/2 c Granulated Sugar, divided
2 Tbl Lemon Juice
4 Tbl Cornstarch
2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
Chantilly Cream, as needed for serving

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the rhubarb, strawberries, half of the sugar, and the lemon juice.  Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Once the fruit has macerated for at least 10 minutes, Take the remaining sugar & stir it together with the cornstarch. Add the sugar/starch mixture to the fruit & stir to combine.  Add the vanilla bean paste. 
  3. Place small ramekins onto a rimmed baking sheet. Portion the filling into the ramekins & top with several tablespoons of the streusel topping. {I used mini latte bowls from Anthropologie & I used approximately 1 heaping 1/2 cup of filling and 2 heaping Tablespoons of streusel topping} 
  4. Place the ramekins onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, approximately 45 minutes, depending on the size of the dishes, or until the filling is very bubbly and the top has browned.  
  5. Cool slightly & serve with Chantilly Cream or vanilla ice cream.  


  1. beautiful photos
    Delicious dessert!

  2. I can verify that these were yummy! As Gale stated...beautiful photos and delicious dessert!

  3. Oh my goodness these were GREAT. And I had no idea they were gluten free. Will definitely be making these again.

    And bee-yootiful photos!

  4. Sounds delicious. I can't quite visualize all the steps but perhaps I'll give it a try.

  5. Sounds delicious. I can't quite visualize all the steps but perhaps I'll give it a try.