Strawberry and Rhubarb are like high school sweethearts. Eternal lovers. They've been together since I can remember and have always been a dynamic duo. Sometimes they're on a break and you see them with others, (especially strawberry). Strawberry is exploratory and a social butterfly. Rhubarb tends to be more reserved and somewhat picky with their partners. Both are charming in different ways and blend well with others, but when you see them back together again it feels nostalgic and just right. You kind of hope they'll eventually run off into the sunset together because in your heart you know they belong with each other. Or maybe that's just me.
Strawberry and shortbread are another wonderful pair and rhubarb is welcoming to a medley between all three. This shortbread crust is buttery, delicious, and easy to make. If you end up with too much crust you can make a few shortbread cookies! Or eat the dough raw. It's a win-win-win situation.
The filling is a rhubarb strawberry curd. I say rhubarb strawberry and not vice versa because there is much more rhubarb in it. I made 4 different version of this curd before finding the perfect balance I liked. I noticed that once heated, the rhubarb flavour would diminish and the strawberry would dominate so I kept adjusting until it was just right. Not too sweet and less strawberries than most recipes–this way, the tartness and subtleties of the rhubarb flavour get their chance to shine.
This tart is so tasty on it's own but after using a carton of yolks on curd trials, I had A LOT of whites leftover. Egg white omelettes are lackluster in my opinion so meringue is often my way to use them up and feel good about it. And what's better than silky meringue right off the whip than toasted meringue?! I could argue nothing is. Until after my sugar high peaks and I fall into a sugar coma. Then I could argue sleep is better than meringue. Until I woke up and saw the leftover meringue smiling at me from the counter. See how it's a vicious cycle?!
(In the end of all the trials I settled on a method with whole eggs, so if you make the meringue you will be left with extra yolks instead. Here are some ideas to use up your egg yolks. I vote hollandaise.)
When something tastes this good, I eat dessert with lunch and dinner. And maybe as a snack.
It may sound gluttonous but we must sometimes welcome the indulgery when things are plentiful because we may soon be in a new place where we crave or need the opposite. There are certain times for everything, whether it's being busy or excited or bored. I think boredom is more important than we give credit to. If everything was exciting all the time, we wouldn't appreciate it. Boredom brings a chance for reflection and relaxation.
This is a time for an abundance of tart. Because maybe next week will be all quinoa and kale. I try to enjoy whatever is coming up in life each moment because it will always pass. And then I'll miss it in some way. Sometimes when I feel apathetic about something, I think of how it will feel to not have it or when it has gone from my life. I'm thinking in bigger terms than this tart. Like spending time with certain people or the homes we live in or the places we regularly go like a market, cafe or park. Just for a few seconds, I think about in the future when I have moved on to new things or people move away–when those times in our lives are over. And those few seconds help ground me to this moment and remember how wonderful it all is. A new found appreciation for something that may seem old or dull or not good enough compared to our desires about the future.
I had every intention of giving some of this tart away but two of us finished it within 48 hours.
The tart had a short but good life. Every slice was lovingly adored.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB TART + TOASTED ALMOND MERINGUE
t h e m a g i c
i n s p i r a t i o n : classic food pairings
f e e l s : soft top + crumbly bottom tart + sweet
e a t w i t h : coffee, tea, glass of sauvignon blanc (or any wine. because... wine.)
m i g h t l i k e i f y o u ' r e i n t o : summertime, English gardens, afternoon tea, toasting marshmallows over the fire, working with your hands, Romeo & Juliet.
t h e s c i e n c e
makes 1 14 x 4.5 " rectangle tart or 1 9.5" round tart
i n g r e d i e n t s :
Strawberry Rhubarb Curd
- 1 cup rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp lime juice (approx. 1 lime)
- 3 whole eggs
- 75 g butter (1/3 cup)
- 45 g organic cane sugar (1/4 cup)
- 170 g butter (3/4 cup)
- 113 g organic cane sugar (1/2 cup)
- 220 g unbleached all purpose flour (1 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Toasted Almond Meringue
- 3 eggs whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 113 g organic sugar or powdered sugar (1/2 cup)
- 3/4 tsp almond extract
m e t h o d :
Strawberry Rhubarb Curd
- In a saucepan over medium heat add the rhubarb, strawberries, water and honey.
- Leave until the fruit is soft, mixing every few minutes. When fruit begins breaking down, mash with a fork or potato masher until fully combined into a puree.
- Remove from heat and let cool. To speed up the process, pour into a bowl and put in the fridge or freezer. Make the tart crust at this time.
- When fully cooled, strain fruit puree through a doubled cheesecloth.
- In a small bowl add eggs, lime juice and sugar and whisk until combined.
- Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add egg mixture and fruit puree to saucepan and whisk continuously until thickened to the consistency of curd.*
- Pour into a bowl or jar and place in the fridge to let cool and set fully (or freezer to speed up process).
*Sometimes I find curd will thicken within 5 minutes and sometimes it has taken up to 15. Keep whisking so not to let your eggs cook. This will happen if your heat is too high or you walk away from your curd for too long while which is why I don't leave it. When making curd, I like to keep a shallow bath of cold water in my sink in case I see it start to curdle. You can place the bottom of the pan in the cold water bath and whisk very quickly until it returns to normal then put back onto heat. Consider reducing your heat a little if that happens. You can always add a little cornstarch if your having problems thickening curd.
- Add sugar, butter, vanilla extract and salt to a bowl and beat well in stand mixer (with flat paddle attachment) or hand mixer.
- Mix flour into the bowl gradually until dough is smooth.
- Press dough into tart pan evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Pour rhubarb strawberry curd into tart crust and smooth out evenly. Cover tart edges with aluminum foil so it doesn't burn.
- Bake tart until the filling looks set, about 15 - 20 minutes.
- Let it fully cool while you make the meringue. Refrigerate to speed up cooling.
Toasted Almond Meringue
- Wipe mixer bowl with a little lemon (or vinegar) to ensure there is no leftover oil (this prevents meringue from forming).
- Add egg whites and cream of tartar to mixing bowl and whisk on medium speed in stand mixer (or hand mixer) until soft peaks form. Look here for a guide on soft to stiff peaks if you're unsure of the difference.
- Add almond extract and whisk on high speed while adding a spoonful of sugar at a time until stiff glossy peaks form. Rub a bit of meringue between yours fingers to make sure it is silky smooth with no grittiness from any undissolved sugar. Keep beating until sugar is dissolved.
- Insert decorating tip (I used the Wilton 12) into piping bag and fill with meringue. If you don't have piping bags and or decorating tips you can use parchment paper. Check it out here, I used this method when I started baking. Or you can spoon it on top for an easier method and a more rustic look. Both are beautiful and equally delicious.
- With a kitchen torch, toast meringue lightly. If you do not own a kitchen torch you can turn on your broiler setting for your oven and place under for a couple minutes but make sure to watch over it as it happens very quickly (2 to 4 minutes).
Shortbread crust recipe from All Recipes.