Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

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This ambitious recipe includes a rich homemade tart crust and a crisp topping.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pt. strawberries, stems cut out and berries cut in half
  • 1 1/2 lbs. rhubarb, rinsed, leafy ends removed, and cut into 1/2-inch slices; or tart apples, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 C. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 par-baked Flaky Tart Crust (see recipe below)

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Directions

Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the strawberries, rhubarb, flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a big bowl. Dump this mixture into your par-baked tart shell. Using your fingers, sprinkle Shamey's topping (recipe below) over the fruit, taking care to cover its entire surface area, especially around the edges. Place the tart on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until you see fruit juices bubbling up through the topping and down around the sides of the tart. You may want to place a baking sheet under the tart before you bake it to catch the spilled juices. Remove the tart from the oven, and set it on a wire rack to cool slightly. To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a big can. Make sure the tart is steady and balanced, then slide the outside ring of pan down off the tart. Move the tart to your work surface, and slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a rimless serving dish or a cutting board. We love this tart fresh from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Shamey's Crisp Topping

Ingredients

1/2 C. unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 C. packed light-brown sugar

2 oz. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 C. rolled oats

2/2 C. walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Directions

Dump the flour and the brown sugar into the bowl of the food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse until they're just integrated. Add the butter all at once, and use the pulse button to cut butter into flour. Stop pulsing when mixture is the texture of moist crumbs. Remove the blade from food processor, and dump the crumbs into a big bowl. Add the oats and the nuts. Work them into the crumbs with your fingers until the topping is stuck together into big clumps. It should not be one whole ball of dough but more like crisp topping, only not cooked.

Flaky Tart Crust

Ingredients

21/2 C. unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

5 Tbs. solid vegetable shortening  A small glass of ice water

Directions

The fat in our tart dough is mostly butter with a little shortening. Many people think that an all-butter crust is the goal. But even Julia Child, America's foremost champion of butter, recommends making crusts with a combination of butter and shortening. Butter for its inimitable flavor, and shortening because that's what makes a crust flaky. We call for butter to be cut into 1/4-inch cubes to make tart dough. The truth is, you only need to cut it that small if you're making crust by hand. If you're using a food processor, the whirling metal blade works so well to cut up the butter that you can get away with roughly chopping it into slabs. Once you have the food processor out (if you're using one) and the counters all floured up, we think it's a great idea to make as much dough as you'll use for the next 2 months. But don't make the mistake of doubling the recipe. Make a batch of dough, and then make it again. And again. Making dough in small batches is key. When you make crust dough in bigger batches, you have to work it more, to cut the butter into the flour and then to work the dough into a ball. Working dough is bad. Overworking dough is a crust crime.

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