While it might seem obvious when cooking for a crowd to make a big panful of dessert and then scoop out individual portions, I think it is more fun to make individual desserts. For a fruit crisp, I chose to use half-pint, wide-mouth canning jars as my serving dishes. They were economical because I had a large quantity of them on hand. You can bake right in the jars. And, they are pretty darn cute when filled and baked. I made them ahead, warmed the crisps just before serving, and topped each one with a small dollop of ice cream. This recipe fills 15 jars. Double the recipe to serve a big crowd!
Makes 15 individual (1-cup) servings
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) ice-cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 pounds ripe strawberries, trimmed and halved (quartered if large)
4 cups thinly sliced fresh rhubarb
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Ice cream, for serving
To make the topping: In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until evenly combined. Scatter the butter over top. Using your fingertips, blend the butter into the oats mixture until evenly distributed and the texture is crumbly. Set aside until ready to use. (The topping can be made in advance and frozen in a covered container or freezer-strength lock-top plastic bag until ready to use. In the summer, I like to make a huge quantity of the topping and keep it in the freezer for spur-of-the moment crisp baking.)
To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently until completely blended and all the cornstarch is absorbed.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spoon the fruit into the individual jars, distributing the fruit evenly. Press down lightly on the fruit to remove any air pockets. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, dividing it evenly and pressing down lightly. Wipe the rims of the jars if needed. Arrange the jars on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until the topping is nicely browned and the fruit is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm, topped with a scoop of ice cream. Alternatively, set aside for up to 8 hours and warm for 10 minutes just before serving.