I am welcoming spring with arms wide open, very wide and very open. This year was the first time I experienced a European Spring and I must say, its gorgeous. Everything is blooming slowly and beautifully. Back in NYC the weather was so bi-polar that one day it would snow and the next it was magically 70 degrees and all the flowers were pushing out quickly and trying to catch the warm weather.. little did they know.. there would be snow in the next two days. Spring in NYC is a good 2 weeks.. that is until hot summer temperatures quickly start to set in. In England I find that the Spring is as it should be… steady temps of 50’s and 60’s, gradual blooming of cherry blossoms around every corner, daffodils everywhere, tulips popping up and bumble bees buzzing around.
Spring here reminds me of love. Warmer weather means many things, but the vital one for me deals with food (of course) and when I mean food, I mean fruit. I wait all year for the sweet and tart delights to be in season. I was surprised to see rhubarb everywhere so soon, we bought several stalks to try it out. Raw rhubarb is very tart and has the consistency of celery… but baked in a pie with sweet strawberries… well that’s a whole other story… almost like a love story.
Tart rhubarb meets sweet red strawberries and it’s love at first site… or first bake that is.
I took the easy way out and decided to make a galette rather than a pie, I like when the filling gets a bit roasted and bubbly at the opening. You can make this pie crust from scratch or you can pop into the store and get a pie crust of your choosing, preferably a butter pie/pastry crust. Pie crusts are made up of flour, butter and love. Cold butter is ideal for making a flakey pie crust. First the flour, salt and sugar are mixed to get everything comfy and ready for those cold butter cubes.
The cold butter is then tossed and mixed with your hands for about 2-4 minutes until the butter pieces and the flour resemble pea sized cornmeal. Lastly a bit of cold water is added to form a ball of dough. The important thing with pie crust and flakiness is that the specks of butter should be seen in the dough, just like pancake batter, it should not be over mixed or kneaded, this will alter the pie crust to be more flat rather than flakey, layers of butter are ideal.
While the pie crust dough is chilling in the refrigerator, the filling is prepared. This is as simple as it gets, no cooking, just the fresh ingredients and something to thicken them while baking.
The rhubarb and strawberries are diced up and mixed with some sugar, flour, spices, a splash of orange juice and a pinch of cornstarch. We let this stand to get all juicy.
The pie crust is removed from the refrigerator and left to warm up slightly to avoid cracks while rolling it out. Once the pie crust is rolled out the filling is spooned into the middle leaving room for the edges to be folded in. Brushing a bit of egg wash on the dough and a few sprinkles of turbinado sugar, and you are done. As it bakes it might ooze out some strawberry rhubarb filling, but that’s ok, its just the love of spring and summer oozing out, that and it will harden while it continues to bake.
Enjoy warm, preferably with some creamy ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Rustic strawberry rhubarb galette at it’s best.
- 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cubed or sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 1/2 cups strawberries, cubed or sliced
- 1/4 cup brown/turbinado sugar
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon orange juice (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (brown or white)
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons very cold water
- 1 small egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for the topping
- In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and mix well. Add the cold butter cubes and with your hands work to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until you have small pieces, about the size of peas. The mixture will look like a very coarse cornmeal.
- Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time, while mixing with your hands, until a dough is created. Form a ball with the dough and wrap it in cling wrap. Do not over mix or over knead the dough, you should still see tiny pieces of butter in the dough. Place the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the filling. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients for filling and set aside. Mix the filling occasionally as juices will secrete from the mixture.
- Preheat oven to 375F degrees (190C)
- Remove the crust from the refrigerator and let it soften slightly, so that it is easier to work with. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-14 inch circle, the rolled dough will be quite thin. Place the dough onto a baking sheet or in a tart pan and spoon the strawberry rhubarb filling into the middle leaving a 2 1/2 to 3 inch space from the edges. Fold the edges of the dough towards the middle covering a portion of the filling while overlapping edges of dough. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle everything with the turbinado sugar.
- Bake the strawberry rhubarb galette until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 35-45 minutes. Allow the galette too cool slightly before serving, about 10-15 minutes.
- The recipe can also be made with purchased pie crust.