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Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with Pistachio Frangipane
Even though Spring sprung a few weeks ago it didn’t truly feel like the warm weather was on its way until this weekend. New England was more like a tropical oasis than ever but this Strawberry and Rhubarb Tart with Pistachio Frangipane and Fennel Dust is what really made me feel those Spring and Summer vibes. Eating it felt like a friendly slap (love tap?) in the face from the gorgeous weather to come.
I was never the hugest rhubarb fan growing up. My dad LOVED it but his strawberry rhubarb pie wasn’t something us young kids wanted to eat. And not because it wasn’t delicious! He was a talented baker (thanks for the baking genes daddio!) but you try convincing a gummy worm and chocolate cookie loving kid that the bone-chillingly tart vegetable-fruit (technically it’s a veg but was legally made a fruit in 1947) is actually insanely delish! Needless to say, I wasnt jumping at the chance to eat it back then. It wasn’t until I became a chef in-training that I learned how versatile and yummy rhubarb is.
This recipe was inspired by the old and new, so to say. Rhubarb and Strawberry? Obviously heavenly partners in crime. But my tart goes a few steps further with roasting strawberries until they are jammy. Since I absolutely love a good frangipane tart I thought the pistachio would be a great colorful addition. And the candied fennel dust? Well, honestly that was a happy mistake! My goal was to add a caramelized fennel component but after the overly crunchy texture of the candied fennel threw off the balance of my tester bite, a little blitz in the food processor turned the chunky candy to an incredible accent. This Strawberry Rhubarb Tart has to be one of my all time favorite recipes. It’s a signature kind of dessert, for sure!
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Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with Pistachio Frangipane
This Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with Pistachio Frangipane takes the old classic and turns it upside down with roasted strawberries, rhubarb curd, pistachio frangipane, and candied fennel dust. It'll be your new favorite seasonal dessert!
Whisk eggs with 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, mix rhubarb with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Gently boil until rhubarb is soft, 7 to 8 min. Remove from heat and whisk (or blend with immersion blender) rhubarb until smooth. Whisk lemon juice and cornstarch together then add to rhubarb. Slowly add rhubarb into egg mixture, whisking vigorously as to not curdle/cook eggs. Put bowl with mixture over a double boiler. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 10 min). Remove from heat and stir in butter, a cube at a time, until smooth. Cool completely before using.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until pale and light (3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour mixes with the butter-sugar mixture. Add the the egg yolk and continue to mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough comes together.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let soften for 10 minutes. Sprinkle surface and dough with flour and using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a disk large enough to cover a 10 in tart pan (about 12 inches). a nice circle.
Roll the dough circle around the pin and then unfurl it on top of the 9-inch pie pan or the 10-inch tart ring. Press the dough well into the bottom and sides of the pan and use any scraps to patch up any tears or missing bits. Trim the edge of the dough so it is even with the rim of the pan.
Refrigerate the pastry shell for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prick bottom of tart lightly with a fork several times. Line tart with aluminum foil and pour granulated sugar or pie weights into foil, filling it to the top. Blind bake for 10 minutes or until edges start to turn light brown. Remove weights/sugar and aluminum and bake for additional 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Place strawberries, cut side down baking rack and sheet. Roast in 300 degree oven for 1 hour. Cool.
Place pistachios and flour in food processor and grind into a fine powder. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar, pistachio/flour mixture, and beat well. Combine the vanilla extract and the eggs in separate bowl and beat lightly. Gradually add the egg mixture to the almond mixture, beating until fully incorporated.
Candied Fennel Dust
Place fennel, sugar, and water in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 30-45 minutes, until fennel starts to brown lightly. Spread mixture on parchment lined sheet pan and cool completely. Place cooled candied fennel in blender and grind into a fine powder.
Spread a thin (about 1/4 inch thick) layer of rhubarb curd on the bottom of the cooled tart. Pipe the frangipane onto the curd, spreading to cover the curd completely. The frangipane recipe will make a little more than you need for the tart, but it can be refrigerated for 24 hours and used again. Arrange the roasted strawberries on top of the frangipane.
Place tart in 350 degree oven and bake the tart for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Paint warmed and strained apricot jam over the tart. Dust with candied fennel dust just before serving.