According to recent feedback, many readers feel that strawberries today are tasteless and woody. I agree - about imported varieties that are not in season. But I always advocate local berries, which are full of flavour and fruitiness. Using local fruit from whatever province or state you're in makes a huge difference to a dish. I also make strawberry jam at this time of the year and freeze strawberries crushed in baggies to make strawberry sauces or other dishes later on. If you don't want to go strawberry picking, head to a local supermarket, where you sometimes can buy large flats.
The topping contains Demerara sugar, an unrefined, coarse-grained brown sugar that gives an extra crunch to desserts. Beware of imitations - some brown sugars are actually refined white sugar with colour added back in. Unrefined sugars, made from sugar cane, haven't had the colour or flavour removed; they are dehydrated and allowed to dry, forming thick brown crystals. Demerara is wonderful for coffee and for baking when you want a crunch - it never seems to harden the way brown sugar does and has a creamy flavour with a hint of molasses.
- 4 cups sliced rhubarb
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch ground ginger
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup packed Demerara sugar
- 1/3 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss rhubarb and strawberries with granulated sugar and place in an ovenproof dish.
Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon and Demerara sugar and rub butter into flour mixture using your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs (you could also use a food processor). Sprinkle over fruit. Bake for 35 minutes or until the fruit mixture is bubbling. Serves 6.