April began with visits from our sons, one coming from the east and one from the west, to share Easter with us. It was a casual holiday with lovely warm weather, family get-togethers, skiing and lots of laughs.
But, once again Mother Nature lulled us into a false sense of spring by enticing us with temperatures in the seventies, and crocus and daffodils making their much anticipated appearance, only to be thwarted by a blast of snow and cold. I should know by now to expect these sorts of atmospheric surprises, as this seems to happen every year, and yet, every year, I’m still taken aback when that cloud of white drifts down onto our doorstep.
While she may like to remain mysterious and unpredictable, Mother Nature really did get it right with strawberries – not only are they nutritious, they are so beautiful, too. It is hard to go wrong in any manner when serving strawberries. You could serve them in a pretty bowl with a sprinkle of sugar and you’d have an elegant and delicious dessert. Pair them with a buttery crust and tart rhubarb and you have a real winner that embodies the flavors of the season.
I love rustic free form tarts. They are easy to make, and look as casual or sophisticated as need be depending how they are garnished and displayed. The crust is rich but the slices are thin, unlike a tradition pie, so you end up with just the right balance for an afternoon snack or an ending to dinner without feeling overly full.
So until the sun shows its face again, at least we have this to brighten things up! Enjoy!
|Rustic Strawberry- Rhubarb Galette|
- 2 cups rhubarb, sliced in ¼ inch pieces
- 2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced, reserving 4-5 strawberries for decorating
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 butter pie crust (below)
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Placed sliced strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cornstarch.
- Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch over the fruit and toss until the fruit is evenly coated.
- Put the strawberry-rhubarb mixture into a saucepan over low heat, and then add the vanilla and stir. Cook the fruit for about 7-10 minutes. The fruit juices should be released and then thicken as it cooks.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Take your chilled dough and place it on a lightly floured surface.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a round about 15 inches in diameter.
- Line baking sheet with cooking parchment or a silpat.
- Fold the rolled out dough in half and then again in half so you have a triangle and then carefully transfer dough onto the pan and unfold.
- Place the fruit mixture onto center of pastry dough and then spread the fruit out toward the edges leaving a 2½ inch rim around the tart free of the fruit.
- Gently fold edges of dough over the strawberry-rhubarb mixture, pleating as you go, leaving an opening in the center.
- Brush the pastry all over with an egg wash made of an egg yolk and a couple of tablespoons of water.
- Sprinkle the pastry dough with a little bit of sugar.
- Bake in 375° oven until pastry is golden brown, fruit center is bubbling, about 40 to 45 minutes.
- Transfer galette still on the parchment to a wire rack to cool. Once the tart is cool, move to a large plate, gently pulling parchment from under tart.
- Arrange fresh strawberries in the center of tart.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
|Butter Pie Crust|
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1¾ sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
- ½ cup chilled water (more or less as needed)
- 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
- Sugar for sprinkling
- In a food processor or by hand, cut together the butter, flour and salt until just barely blended (there should still be small pea size bits of butter in the mix).
- Add the ice water a little at a time, pulsing the processor a few times each time you add the water or tossing with a fork. Only add enough water for the dough to just hold together. It may appear a little lumpy, which is fine.
- Remove the dough and form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper.
- Set in the refrigerator to relax and chill for 30 minutes or so you can also freeze it at this point for future use).