Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

By Mia LeTendre

Mia LeTendre tucks the fruit crisp into that recipe file of “old lady desserts – something simple my mom and grandma would make.” It’s also a favorite that combines all the right textures – “gooey, crunchy or creamy with yogurt on top,” she says. Like her pot pie, this is a plant-based recipe. It’s also dependent on one of the spoils of early summer – ruby-red stalks of rhubarb, its tartness melding with the bursting sweetness of fresh strawberries. And with this, LeTendre takes advantage of a very hardy heirloom rhubarb plant she inherited when she bought her house. The plant is robust and has earned a following in her neighborhood. “When I moved in, I’d get texts, ‘You’re not going to get rid of that rhubarb, are you?’” LeTendre had no such intentions. The rhubarb is finding life beyond her kitchen. A recent application at Strange Town was to infuse gin. An ingredient that distinguishes this from run-of-the-mill crisps is the wild foraged chamomile. “Every year, I pick wild chamomile, crush it and macerate it,” and use it in various ways. The tea’s delicate, floral flavor brings an unexpected, old-timey essence, giving the “old lady dessert” a fresh lease on life.


Serves 10

The Filling:

4 cups rhubarb, chopped

4 cups strawberries, halved

1 tablespoon dried chamomile, crushed by hand or in mortar and pestle

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3⁄4 cup raw sugar

1⁄4 cup cornstarch


The Crisp Topping:

2 cups rolled oats

1⁄2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 cup sliced almonds (optional)

1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon


In a large bowl, mix together your sliced berries, rhubarb, chamomile, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch.


Once combined, pour mixture into a well-oiled 13-by-9-inch casserole dish.


In another large bowl, mix your crisp ingredients.


Crumble between your fingers until all oats are evenly coated. Spread the crisp topping evenly over the berry mix.


Bake for 25-30 mins, or until the crisp is golden brown.


Let cool five to 10 minutes before serving.


Mia LeTendre grew up in central Wisconsin, raised by back-to-the-land hippy parents who wanted to live more intentionally and self-sufficiently. As a young child, Mia helped her mom and brothers care for the garden, goats and chickens, and spent her free time exploring the 20 wooded acres on which they lived. After the birth of her son in 2004, Mia attended film school, paying the bills by working in kitchens and cafes. Before long, it was clear that food was a more persistent passion than film, and soon LeTendre was operating a DIY “secret café” out of her home on a weekly basis, throwing elaborate dinner parties open to the public. Over the years, LeTendre lived in several places, including Austin, Portland , Oregon, and Cape Town , South Africa, and has worked at a wide array of restaurants, including the legendary Mother’s Café in Austin, which celebrated 40 years of service before closing its doors in 2020. After moving back to the Midwest, LeTendre tried her hand at various jobs in various fields, working as a nanny, a private chef and a mail carrier before opening Strange Town in 2017. LeTendre focuses her efforts on creating a workplace free of drama and toxicity, eliminating tipping and paying all workers a living wage, and supporting local farmers and foragers.

Mia LeTendre

Strange Town

Mia LeTendre

Strange Town

About Strange Town