Tuesday, May 11, 2010

J.R.'s Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Two years ago I planted some rhubarb. I knew the plants take two years to really produce, so I wasn't concerned that although they had big showy leaves, the stalks were thin and green. I put some up in jars anyway and my recollection is of me at the kitchen sink, spooning mouthful after mouthful of silky sweetness. Still, this year I was looking foward to rhubarb show girls
- flashy red with fans of green. I thought something must be wrong. Thin green again. Disappointed, I looked up rhubarb varieties and found out there are hundreds! I had no idea. And my rhubarb plants that I thought were under par were growing perfectly according to their variey- Victoria. Once again, even with rhubarb, my preconceptions made me judge wrongly!
My dear dear friend J.R. loves strawberry rhubarb pie so I made one especially for him last Saturday. Instead of piling the fruit deeply into a 9 inch pie pan, I spread it on a large tart pan so it was more like a galette. It made it a bit fancier looking and I think concentrated the fruit essences.Its an easy dessert that once you get the hang of it, you can throw together during the week.( I personally love a dinner of soup and bread followed by a real dessert)
                                           J.R.'s   Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

         for the pie crust:
         put 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a cuisinart(you can also do this by hand in a bowl) Do some quick on and offs to mix.
         Add 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter and process just till the butter is pea sized.Next, add about 4 tablespoons cold cold orange juice and process just until a big ball forms. Spray your tart pan thoroughly with Baker's Secret or Pam.

         I can't stand fussing with dough sticking to my rolling pin, so I put wax paper above and below my dough and roll it out to the size of my pan.That way, you can use the paper on the bottom to invert the pastry on the pan-then just peel off the paper. This dough is enough,by the way, for a double crust pie, and was just right for my 16 inch pan. Fit the dough and put it into the refrigerater while you prepare the fruit.
         Preheat the oven to 350F
        for the filling:
         4 cups rhubarb
         3 cups strawberries
          1 1/2 cups sugar
         3 tablespoons tapioca( I like using tapioca flour,you can find it at natural food stores)
         1 teaspoon nutmeg
         1/4 teaspoon salt
         1/4 cup butter,melted
        Cut the rhubarb into 1/4 inch pieces and if your strawberries are petit, leave them whole, cutting the larger ones to roughly match their size.Put them in a bowl and mix with the tapioca,nutmeg, salt and sugar. Leave them about 1/2 an hour to give up their juices.
       If you're using the tart pan with a removable bottom, don't forget to put some tinfoil around the bottom to catch drippings.Spread the fruit out onto the crust and sprinkle the butter all over the top. Bake for about an hour- the strawberries should look dark and somewhat shrunken and the rhubarb soft.
       To pretty it up, after about 10 minutes of cooling, while the liquid in the fruit was still hot, I used a pastry brush to pull the shine over the tops of some of the strawberries that looked a little dry.
Eat it slowly and taste spring!


  1. Loved rhubarb and strawberry pies Mom used to make. Sigh. Linda doesn't like it! Perhaps we should make TWO pies, Peacan pie for her and a Strawberry rhubarb for me!

    BTW. rhubarb can get pretty out of control in the garden. We had ours planted right at the compost heap. Was about 5 foot around patch before my Dad finally took it out.

    BTW, in a pinch, if you can't get unsalted butter, most recipes work ok if you use salted and just don't use the salt listed in the ingredients.

  2. But you know what? Salt is used as a preservative so I always get this niggling feeling salted butter is not as fresh as unsalted.

  3. It is so much easier now to find unsalted, but years ago, it was virtually impossible. Mom couldn't get it for the longest while, except from one German bakery, and the cost was prohibitive. Odd, since we have a fairly high European population here.

    Never check the expire dates on either here to compare, but might.

  4. That's totally true. Salted butter is usually much less fresh than unsalted. MUCH less so. It can keep for a year or more, just to give you an idea. Yay for a Wisconsin 'Dairy State' education.

    I could almost murder you for posting that picture. I LOVE rhubarb pie!! Alas it's been cold enough to snow here. Then again it is only the beginning of May, but this means there's nothing good growing yet, or if it was it's dead now.

  5. Not sure where spring went up here in Michigan, but I sure could go for a taste of it! Thanks for this, looks amazing!

  6. We have some rhubarb growing here in Vegas right now. Dad planted it last year. I haven't had rhubarb pie in over 20 years. Going to make this one for sure!

  7. Well its going into Winter here, but I think I can find some rhubarb in the stores. Tapioca flour could be a challenge however. Is Tapioca the same as Sago? My mother had a fantastic recipe for Sago Plum Pudding, I must see if I can find it.

  8. Next door neighbour house just changed hands. They are doing lots of reno work, yard clean out.... Wonder if they know the Rhubarg is there, and if they'd miss it. Should ask if they will use it, or if I can. I'll even help them remove the plant and transplant if it they want. :)

  9. Sago looks like many other starches, and both sago and tapioca are produced commercially in the form of "pearls". Sago pearls are similar in appearance to tapioca pearls, and the two may be used interchangeably in some dishes. This similarity causes some confusion in the names of dishes made with the pearls. Because sago flour made from Metroxylon is the most widely used form, this article discusses sago from Metroxylon unless otherwise specified.

  10. went with a full shell not a tart. Would have over flowwed in the tart.

    Mmmmmm. Can't wait till tonite to eat it. Gotta work first.

  11. It was good. Needed to either cut the 'barb into smaller pieces or cook a little longer, some pieces had a bit of a crunch to them. But it was yummy anyway. Piggy eating a quarter piece of pie at a sitting.

  12. It fits nicely in a 10 inch tart pan- I know that's big but if you have a smaller one just reduce the amount of fruit. It will really affect the timing and the taste if you use a regular pie pan. When the fruit is in one layer, it will carmelize the strawberries slightly and silken the rhubarb. Brushing the well cooked strawberries with the juices when its slightly cooled will keep them from looking overcooked- but trust me the taste is gorgeous!

  13. Taste was wonderful! I'm making a second batch. Two pies this time. Added some more tapioca, and matched the nutmeg with the same amount of cinnamin.