There are few foods I’ve encountered that are as polarizing as humble rhubarb. Its sharp puckery taste, like cranberries, requires mounds of sugar to tame. Though beautiful when freshly cut, the sleek red and green stems cook up into a pea-green mush that has all the eye appeal of split pea soup.
But after a winter of little but apples and pears, I was ready for fresh local fruit and decided to figure out ways to eat rhubarb. When the sign went up at the farm stand down the road, I stopped in to buy an early bunch. The fresh-cut bunch of rhubarb was $2.50. It’s an honor system but the cat is keeping an eye on things!
In one of my many farm share projects, I’m scanning and documenting Peg Rau’s treasure trove of handwritten cookbooks from the early 1900s. Everyone has a recipe for rhubarb pie. This one is from 1911.
Early recipes don’t include cooking instructions, so I searched around on line to find cooking times for fruit pies, but stuck to the ingredients as written. Let’s just say the results were less than successful. The filling was a super-sweet gooey mess, but nevertheless I loved the tangy rhubarb flavor and decided to wait for strawberries.
Everyone’s raving about strawberries this year and I’m lucky to know a farmer who grows them organically. We’ve been going through a couple of quarts a week on yogurt, in oatmeal, fresh out of the box, and yes, painting them. As we’re getting toward the end of the early berries I decided to try some tarts. I don’t eat a lot of sweets so I figured that strawberry rhubarb “pop tarts” would be just the thing. After merging a couple of recipes from the web, here’s where I ended up:
Strawberry Rhubarb "Dumplings"
- Makes 16 tarts
- 1 cup strawberries, cleaned and washed. Larger berries cut in half.
- 1 cup rhubarb, outer strings removed with a potato peeler. Stalks sliced lengthwise and then chopped into ¼” dice.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 2-crust store-bought pie crust
- 1 whipped egg
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Take pie crust out of the refrigerator and let it rest for 10 minutes
- Cook the strawberries and rhubarb with sugar on low heat for 10 minutes.
- While cooking, roll out the pie crust on parchment and cut into 3 1/2” rounds.
- Strain the sauce and put a dollop of strawberry-rhubarb mixture in the center of each round, leaving a half inch or so.
- Brush the un-filled area with egg, fold the disc in half and press down the edges with your fingers, followed by the tines of a fork. Brush the tops with egg and poke them with a fork to allow steam to escape.
- Smitten Kitchen recommends that you place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking. Not sure why, but I did this.
- Cook for 25 minutes and cool on a rack when done
Though they would have tasted better with buttery homemade pie crust, these were pretty tasty. A little burst of sweet-tart flavor, leaving you wanting another.
Happy Strawberry Season from Farm Share Studio!