Monday, July 4, 2011

Star Spangled Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts

Ahhh, summer in New Balmy days, sand between your toes and sunburned noses from a long day at the beach, cookouts and get togethers, the 4th of July, farmer's markets, and lingering over a good book. This year summer is even better. My daughter is home from Korea for a 3 week visit and she has brought a friend who had never been to the US. Today is the 4th of July and we'll celebrate our independence with the best of what summer has to offer. I went to the farmer's market Saturday and got some red, ripe local strawberries and stalks of crisp rhubarb. My daughter loves strawberry rhubarb pie, so I thought I'd make some festive tarts. Using crème brûleé dishes and Christmas star cookie cutters, I put the tarts together. They look so patriotic with the bubbling red fruit and pastry stars. I used my red, white and blue tie-dyed napkins that my son made for me last year when he made his tie-dyed flag. The tarts will be the grand finale after a day of our local art's festival, barbecue, lobster rolls and fireworks. Happy 4th of July!!
Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts

2 1/2 cups rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (ends and any stringy parts removed and leaves discarded)
2 1/2 cups ripe strawberries, stemmed and cut in half
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons minute quick cooking tapioca
zest of 1 Meyer lemon (or 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest)
unbaked pie crust for two 9-inch pies
tart pans or custard dishes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cinnamon, tapioca and lemon zest. Roll out the pie crust dough and cut out circles of dough for the bottom of your dishes or pans. I used 4 1/2 inch dishes and cut out 5 1/2 inch circles, using a saucer as a template. Line the dishes with the dough and prick the bottom with a fork. Fill to the top with the fruit mixture and top with stars cut out of the pastry scraps. This filled 5 of the 4 1/2 inch dishes, but will vary depending on the size of your dish. You can also use a 9 inch pie dish and make a whole pie.
Place the tarts or pie on a parchment lined baking sheet (the tarts will bubble over), and put in the preheated oven. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until they are bubbling and done. If the pastry browns too quickly, loosely put a foil tent over the tarts.

Makes five 4 1/2 inch tarts or one 9 inch pie.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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