On almost a whim, with only a sketch of a plan, we rented a car and drove to discover the Great American South. We indulged in rich Southern food, the highlights being barbecue, collard greens, shrimp and grits, fried chicken and lots of farm to table produce. We hiked, biked and swam our way down the eastern seaboard, meeting all sorts of lovely people along the way. Our favorite places were near Charlottesville, VA; Asheville, NC; Smoky Mountains, TN; Charleston and Kiawah Island, SC and Savanna, GA.
This strawberry rhubarb tart was inspired by a dessert I had at Husk after I had already gorged on fried chicken and all sorts of bits cooked in lard. The great thing about this tart is that in terms of desserts, this isn’t a guilt-inducer. The crust is made of toasted almonds and oats with a touch of maple syrup and a hint of olive oil. The filling is pure fruit and a tablespoon of honey. The topping is an oat base and you can feel free to add or substract sugars and fats to your taste. It’s highly customizeable, sweet, tart, nutty and would be great a-la-mode. This is something I will come back to every spring for sure. In fact, the crust alone is something I would eat for breakfast or as a snack. It kind of tastes like Nature’s Valley granola bars.
I would have loved to have the crust handy on one particular lovely day in Virginia when we went for a bike ride. The ride started out in pastoral rolling hills and gradually got harder as we went. After the second very steep incline, I ask my husband who exactly charted this course. “I need stats.” He jokingly responded, “I got it from a guy on the Tour de France.” Clearly. Checking the map again we realized that we had gone the wrong way starting out. Once that was sorted, it was smooth sailing. I even made a couple of cow friends (love the photo bomb). And one enemy (an angry bull, not pictured here).
After about an hour, the sky quickly darkened and the bright clouds on the horizon turned a menacing dark grey, blanketing the sky in suspense. And just like that a storm developed. Lightning struck the ground in the most beautiful and terrifying way and thunder rattled through us about 5 seconds behind the flash, so loud it made us jump. We could go forward about 14 miles to get back to the car or back about 7 miles, but either way we were in open fields and risked being struck by lightning.
Luckily, there was a farm up ahead, the only structure we passed during the ride. As big drops started to fall, we trespassed into an empty pig trough or cow trough–the only non-metal building on the land. We thought we’d hide out for a bit, but ended up waiting out the storm for a few hours, ducking away from the windows as the wild tempest unleashed its fury over our heads. The powerful forces of nature kept us crouching in the corners, static hair standing straight up.
Eventually we saw a clearing in the sky, the flashes became more cloud-to-cloud and we decided to risk the ride back. We made it safely and in retrospect found adventure in the intense storm, slightly fearful, slightly impatient and yet still comfortable knowing we were weathering the storm together, in a pig trough. It was time for some drinks and certainly a strawberry rhubarb tart.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Definitely make this. It can be made in stages and it’s easy and delicious.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRUMBLE TART
For the Crust:
- 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 4 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil, melted
For the Filling:
- 2 heaping cups rhubarb, stems removed, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 heaping cup berries (such as strawberries or raspberries), large pieces chopped
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
For the Crumble Topping:
- 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp oat flour
- 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1 1/4 Tbsp water
Make the Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Add oats, almonds, sea salt, and maple syrup to a food processor or high speed blender and pulse into a fine meal, making sure no large pieces remain.
Add olive oil and pulse to incorporate. It should form a loose dough that forms when squeezed between two fingers. Add more oil or water if too dry.
Spread the mixture into the lined baking dish and press down into an even layer with your fingers or a flat object (such as a drinking glass).
Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 degrees F (190 C) and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the crust is fragrant and the edges are slightly golden brown. Set aside.
Make the Filling:
In the meantime, add rhubarb, strawberries, orange juice, syrup and cornstarch to a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until slightly softened and bubbly – about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking, then remove from heat and set aside.
Make the Crumble:
Next prepare crumble by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and using a fork or your fingers to mix ingredients into a crumble. Set aside.
Add strawberry-rhubarb mixture to the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Then top with crumble topping and spread evenly to cover fruit.
Reduce oven heat back to 350 degrees F (176 C) and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the strawberry topping is warm and bubbly and the crumble is golden brown.
Store leftovers in a well-sealed container at room temperature for 2 days, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or the freezer up to 1 month.