If you're anything like me (and it's summer where you are) you've been eyeballing half flats of strawberries at farmer's markets and beyond, ultimately giving in to the $5 pricetag only to get home and wonder what the sam hell you were thinking and how quickly you can come up with recipes before the berries go bad.
Suffice it to say the Chef has come to the rescue in a big way.
Today while I was racing around trying to finish up work and get ready to jet off for an early afternoon shindig I walked into the kitchen after hearing a bit of a thud only to discover a miracle underway. There was smashed up lemongrass and a pile of strawberries on the counter - and all kinds of baking ingredients being pulled from the cupboards (think thud). I have to tell you dating a real life Chef has its perks. And in a weak moment I'll also say that it helps very much to have someone cook for me once in awhile because I don't have any family close by to visit and I miss them terribly - not just for my mom and dad's amazing cooking, but also for the love and comfort that comes from having someone make you something to eat - even the simplest thing - and sit and eat with you. (chokes back tears in a big way. can you say homesick?)
With this admittance I will now press on to the recipe. I'm going to include a gluten-free version for the actual crumble itself because that is the reality I live with. Everyone else can go ahead with regular ol' flour - simple as pie. I mean crumble.
1 Stalk Lemongrass
2lbs Strawberries halved
1T Lime juice
1T Corn starch
1T Fresh Ginger minced
1T Powdered Sugar
Crumble Topping Ingredients
1/2C Gluten Free Flour Blend (or regular All-Purpose Flour) *listed below*
1tsp Baking Powder
4T Butter or Margarine
2/3C Brown Sugar
2/3C Gluten-Free Quick Cooking Oats or Quinoa Flakes (non-gluten free people use regular Quick Cooking Oats)
Gluten-free Flour Blend (for crumble topping)
*I use this blend in place of regular flour in a one by one substitution for cookies, pancakes - you name it. Only took 3 years to finally get it right and now I can't tell the difference in any cookie I bake. This will make a large batch of the Flour Blend that can then be used for future.*
1C Brown Rice Flour
1 1/4C White Rice Flour
1/4C Potato Starch Flour
2/3C Tapioca Starch Flour
3/4C Sweet Rice Flour
1/3C Corn Starch
2tsp Xanthan or Guar Gum
Begin by preheating the oven to 350.
Grab your lemongrass and a cutting board. I'm going to plead ignorant and admit I'd not actually seen lemongrass in its raw form prior to today. Here it is.
What you want to do next is smash the lemongrass to release its fragrance (he used the back of a mini cast-iron skillet, but a meat mallet or the back end of a kitchen knife will work just fine too).
You'll know you're done smashing when the lemongrass looks like this:
It should basically be somewhat pulverized like so (but not too much because you have to be able to cut it up)
From here what you do next is cut the lemongrass into one inch pieces,
place it in a small to medium sized sauce pot, and cover it with 1C of water.
Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce until only 1tsp water remains (approximately). I'm going heavy on the pictures because I would need them. You may very well be more familiar with lemongrass, but I'd rather give you more than less so you can make this dish. It is ridiculously good.
Once the lemongrass is boiled down to the above - remove it from heat and stir in 1/4C sugar until dissolved (if sugar does not dissolve return to heat).
This picture is pre-stirred in sugar. When you're done stirring it should all be dissolved and just slightly more pale in color like so:
Once the sugar is dissolved set the mixture aside and allow it to cool (this will steep the lemongrass flavor into the syrup).
Next halve the strawberries and set them aside in a bowl.
(strawberry fields forevah)
When the lemongrass syrup is cool to touch strain it into the strawberries, pressing on the lemongrass with the back of a wooden spoon to get all the liquid out.
Seriously. Who ever thought this up? A genius - that's who! Wait until you taste it. Unbelievable.
Anyway. From here stir a tablespoon of cornstarch into the berries like so:
Once the cornstarch has gently been mixed into the strawberries the mixture can be transferred into an 8 inch square baking dish (or we used (2) 6.5 inch mini skillets for fun).
Now set the berry mixture aside and get out your ingredients to make the crumble.
In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Here's a two stage progression to give you an idea.
Next stir in the brown sugar and oats and voila!
Grab your strawberry/lemongrass filled baking dish and sprinkle the crumble over top the mixture.
Place the dish into the oven and bake until golden brown and bubbly ( the strawberry mix must bubble for cornstarch to thicken completely). Approximately 20 minutes. Gluten-free people you need to know the crust will not be as crisp or golden brown for you, so really keep an eye on the bubbly mixture below it to gauge readiness. The crumble will get somewhat brown, but not the exact same look conventional flour would yield.
While the crumble is in the oven, it's time to make the Whipped Ginger topping. (brace yourselves for goodness). First peel and mince the ginger like so.
Next combine the ginger and 3T cream in a sauce pot. Bring it to a boil then remove from heat.
Now follow the same procedure you did with the lemongrass. Allow the creamy ginger mixture to cool in order to steep the ginger flavor into the cream. Once it is cool to touch strain the mixture into a separate bowl.
It's okay if a little bit of ginger falls through into the bowl. Once you are done straining place the bowl into the refrigerator to chill - about 30 minutes (the cream must be thoroughly chilled or it will not whip).
Once chilled add 1/4C cream and powdered sugar, and whip until firm peaks form. Chill until needed.
In the meantime your crumble is likely ready to come out of the oven. Ta-da!!
I was so freaking excited to taste this dessert you have no idea. The smell inside the house was just wonderful! While the dishes were still warm we finished one with a dollop of whipped cream.
Holy Moses or what?? We had to run off this afternoon, but over my dead one were we not going to eat at least one of these babies warm.
First bite. And yes that is a trace of my hand in the upper right. Poor Chef. I heard him mumble as he was looking at my face, "please say you like it". I almost felt like crying. I was like, "DUDE - I like EVERYTHING you make!! Are you crazy?!" There's a lot of pressure preparing food for others - you want them to be happy and like it.
Chef-a-roonie does it again! This is approximately 1min30sec into consumption. This dessert is off the charts good and, may I dare say, my favorite thing he's made to date. INCREDIBLE.
We dusted the whole thing off in under 5 minutes and jammed out the door saving the other portion for tomorrow morning. I say breakfast!!
Enjoy everyone! Can't wait to hear your thoughts - especially if you get the opportunity to bake it. This crumble has several steps, but they are easy and the prep time is only about 30 minutes. Woooohooooo!!
Happy Weeeeeeeekend...head to the market and get your strawberries - but don't forget the hazard signs!