In an effort to make my tried-and-true recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp into an equally loved gluten-free dessert for company a couple of years ago, I realized that I had essentially turned it into a cobbler. No matter: with its new cookie-like topping, it was actually more loved than the original–healthier, too. When I took the first sample to my rhubarb loving parents, my mom declared that she must start growing rhubarb! This also happens to be the first thing my kids tend to request when our rhubarb plants sprout from the ground each year…and I happily prepare it.
So, what is the difference between a crisp and a crumble…and a buckle and a grunt for that matter?
- Both a crisp and a crumble consist of sweetened fruit, often lightly thickened to produce syrupy juices, that is baked with a crumbly topping of flour, butter, sugar, spices, and sometimes oats. Technically, a crumble contains oats and a crisp does not.
- A cobbler is a deep-dish, single-crusted fruit pie. Typically, the crust is on the top, and although cobblers used to be made with pie dough, a sweet biscuit dough is more common today. The dough is often dropped or arranged in a rustic or patterned way, giving the appearance of a cobbled road.
- A buckle is a dessert in which fruit is folded into cake batter and sprinkled with a streusel topping. The the weight of the topping makes the cake “buckle” in spots before the batter is set resulting in pockets of caramelized sugar and butter. The result is sometimes compared to coffee cake. Sometimes, the fruit is added to the top of the batter and the batter rises up around it as it bakes, creating that buckled look.
- A grunt descended from puddings cooked in pots over the fire. Fresh fruit or berries are cooked down and then large dollops of biscuit dough are dropped on top. The pan is then covered, and the dough cooks through the steam that escapes from the fruit. The name is derived from the sound the bubbles make as they push through the thick syrup and break out between the biscuits. This dessert is sometimes referred to as a slump for the way it slumps on the plate when served.
Yields 6-8 servings.
- 1 pound rhubarb (about 3 very slightly rounded cups), leaves discarded and stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pint strawberries, halved or quartered depending on size
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (see notes)
- 1 cup old-fashioned (rolled) oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
- 1 cup almond flour (preferably blanched; see notes)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Optional: Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a 10-inch, ovenproof, round skillet (I like cast iron; a 10-inch pie plate or 9-inch square baking dish would also work well), and toss the fruit with the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. If you prefer a sweeter dessert or your strawberries are not especially sweet, you may add one extra tablespoon of sugar.
In a mixing bowl, mix the oats, almond flour, almonds, 1/2 cup sugar, and ginger. Add the egg whites and butter, and stir until blended.
Spread the oat mixture evenly over the fruit mixture, leaving a small gap between the topping and the side of the skillet.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the rhubarb is bubbling and the topping is crisp and lightly golden. Allow the cobbler to rest for 5 minutes or so. Enjoy hot or at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt, if desired.
- If a gluten-free recipe is not required, you may alternatively use 3 tablespoons whole wheat or all-purpose flour.
- Blanched almond flour tends to be finer and lacks the brownish pieces seen in some almond flours and meals. Both work in this recipe, although the blanched variety will produce a slightly lighter end result. The unblanched variety will look a little more rustic in its appearance. Bob’s Red Mill is the brand of blanched almond flour I typically use and is widely available.