Shortcut strawberry rhubarb crisp- adaptation
I have just started feeling confident enough in the kitchen to adapt recipes or improvise. You see, when I learned to cook and bake, I needed all the help I could get. I had to follow recipes to the T or they would end up TERRIBLE. haha Now, I have been around the block enough to know what I can improvise with. I am a big rhubarb lover, and I am happy to see it growing now!
A couple weeks ago, a friend from work brought in a rhubarb crisp to share. It was WONDERFUL! I love rhubarb and ours is really thriving in the garden.
When I looked at her original recipe and thought about the actual quantity of rhubarb I had on hand, I realized...I need to HALF this! I am not going to get 5-6 cups of rhubarb out of the current rhubarb we have growing....
I always try to be frugal and see what we have on site, and I saw this old bag of frozen strawberries that had been sitting idle in the freezer for months. I decided to improvise and make a strawberry rhubarb crisp instead.
Here is my friend's original recipe:
I love the simplicity of this. I love that it uses ingredients that most people always have in the pantry. I like to keep a yellow and a chocolate cake mix on hand at all times. I am a firm believer in a good boxed cake mix! The possibilities are endless. And, you can buy them for literally $1. Can't beat the price!
As I said, I realized I did not have enough rhubarb to make the full quantity. So, I grabbed that bag of frozen strawberries, quickly ran them under the tap to un-stick them from each other, and put them in the mixing bowl with the rhubarb, flour, sugar and egg. I did grease my pan even though the instructions didn't say to. I am still not sure if I should have??
I DID HALF this recipe as I was making it in an 8x8 pan. This was a perfect size for our family and for a weeknight treat. I would definitely do the full size if taking to a larger gathering.
For the first time ever, I eyeballed my quantities just to see how it would fare. :D Overall, it went pretty well. I knew that the frozen strawberries (which I am guessing added up to about 1 lb/16 oz) would give off extra liquid in the pan and produce a nice jelly sauce with the rhubarb. I felt confident about everything and sprinkled the cake mix on top...
Now... the next part was adding the butter for the top. I KINDA over did it and that made the topping too liquidy as it melted in the oven. I LOVE BUTTER! I am from the south for crying out loud. It gave everything an excellent flavor, but the texture wasn't exactly what I would've hoped.
We had to bake the crisp longer than I would have anticipated, but that made sense considering that I was making it much more compact and thick in the 8x8 dish.
This was a very frugal recipe...probably totaled about $5 if that. We served ours warm with vanilla ice cream. Because it was a little too full of liquid, it was more like a strawberry rhubarb sundae, but that was just fine with us. Now I know next time to go easy on the butter on top if I want more of a crumble or crisp like dessert. But, it was fun to improvise and see what happened.
All in all, this was an easy, delicious, affordable treat that I know we will make again as our rhubarb crop increases over the summer.