A beautiful strawberry crisp.
Cherry blossoms are snowing pink. Love is in the air. House finches are singing. Magnolias are unfolding their velvet petals. Trees are budding lacy greens and pale sun-yellows.
In other words, Spring has sprung. And I've been craving crisp and crumble desserts. The easiest of baked fresh fruit sweets... lovely for springtime picnic, or summer backyard get-together. A perfect ending to a grill-side supper on the deck, al fresco.
Although I have featured a strawberry rhubarb crisp in the past (kissed with a hint of balsamic vinegar) I decided to play around with an alternative topping to the classic pairing of tart rhubarb and sweet ripe strawberries. And I grabbed a secret ingredient from my pantry.
Can you guess what it is?
The secret ingredient in this old fashioned crumble dessert is an ingredient your grandmother probably never heard of.
Quinoa flakes. Gluten-free quinoa cereal flakes add a distinct, delicate flavor to this fruit crumble's sweet and nutty topping. The texture is light and lovely- and far less chewy than oats.
We thought it was spectacular.
And as a bonus?
This gluten-free dessert is xanthan gum free.
Karina's Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp RecipeRecipe originally posted April 2011 by Karina Allrich.
You'll notice something missing in my strawberry rhubarb filling. Cornstarch. Why? I'm not a fan. It's a texture issue. Cornstarch makes pie and crumble fillings a tad slimy. I also don't cook my fruit crumbles and crisps to death. I prefer my fruit tasting fresh, plump, and juicy. I'm not a fan of mushy.
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved (or quartered for large berries)
1 cup rhubarb, trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced into pieces
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar or touch of agave
1/2 cup quinoa cereal flakes
1/2 cup gluten-free millet flour (or sorghum flour)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter, Earth Balance Stick, or 1/3 cup softened organic coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x9-inch baking or gratin dish (or use two smaller baking dishes, like I did).
Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a bowl and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Toss to coat. Dump them into the greased baking dish and distribute the fruit evenly.
In a separate bowl, combine the quinoa cereal flakes, millet flour, chopped pecans, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Add the butter/Earth Balance in pieces; using your hands, rub the butter and dry mixture together to create a sandy, crumbly texture.
Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit.
Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven till browned and slightly bubbling. Check for desired tenderness with a fork. I baked mine for 25 minutes because I don't like my fruit overcooked. If you prefer your fruit traditionally soft, bake it for 35 minutes.
Set the crumble aside on a rack and allow it to cool a bit before serving. I love it slightly warm from the oven. A scoop of coconut milk vanilla ice cream is entirely optional.
Cook time: 25 min
Yield: Serves 4
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
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Astute readers will notice this is also a gum-free recipe, for those of you avoiding xanthan gum and guar gum.
To replace the pecans, chopped walnuts or pistachios would be delightful. For nut-free omit the nuts, and add a little more quinoa flakes and millet flour to make up the difference.
I love the taste of millet flour with these complex flavors, but if you cannot use millet flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, sorghum flour, or brown rice flour should work. Quinoa flour would be overpowering with the quinoa flakes. I'd stay away from any starchy white flours.
If you prefer your filling sweeter, add more sugar.
If you are sugar-free, adjust the sugar content with your sweetener of choice.
And yes, for those of you using moo-cow dairy, you can use real butter if you prefer.
To replace other ingredients, please see my post Baking Substitution Help.
More: Check out Nicole's lovely Strawberry-Rhubarb Fool at Pinch My Salt for an elegant spring treat.