Dessert is hardly ever on my radar and rolling dough stresses me out–every time. But when you start eyeing rhubarb and aren’t thinking “barbecue sauce” (seems to be the savoury rhubarb trend this year), you’re left to ponder dessert ideas and the easiest one is pie. Rhubarb jam is awesome–my colleague sent me home with some of her batch this spring (it so pays to work in a food department), and quite frankly, I like little slices of rhubarb dipped in Maldon salt, raw, as a snack. But when all of that is done and I still haven’t hit my rhubarb quotient for the season, I’m back to thinking of stewed rhubarb.
In this case I only stewed it a little and I married it with strawberry for a little variety and because I wanted my filling to look nicer all out in the open in a galette. This is the kind of thing that can go from perfect to mush, in minutes, which while delicious, is not so attractive and a little too loose in body. I tried reducing cooking times but I found that all that needs to happen is to add just a tiny amount of fruit to the sugar up front (to provide the liquid needed to get it to dissolve quickly) and add the bulk of the fruit for a few short minutes at the end of your stewing time. Enough liquid renders out from the fruit and it thickens in the cornstarch which keeps the filling from soaking your pie crust. Plus the fruit retains some distinction even after a half hour in the oven.
You spend roughly five minutes on the filling, five on making the dough and five on assembly. The rest of the time you’re tapping your fingers waiting for things to chill and then bake. Set out your ice cream so it softens while you wait (do not eat it all in your impatience or you’ll have nothing left to top your galette slices with) and invite someone over or you will eat too much of this deceptively light dessert. Oh and you have to wait for it to cool a bit too before diving in if you want to ever use your tongue again. I know, a lot to ask, all of this down time. Fine, you’ll have been good by the end, call your friend and cancel then. Go to town on this by yourself.
Rhubarb Strawberry Galette
For the filling:
375 g trimmed rhubarb, peeled lightly, chopped in 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 c sugar
1 tbs of your best balsamic vinegar
2 tbs lime juice
Pinch of kosher salt
1 pint strawberries stemmed and quartered (about 2 cups)
3 tbs corn starch dissolved in 1/4c water
For the dough:
150 g all-purpose flour
75 g granulated sugar
75 g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
Flour for dusting
1 egg, beaten
Whipped cream (optional)
Ice cream (optional)
Make the filling:
Add a third of the rhubarb and all of the sugar, balsamic vinegar, lime juice and salt to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and mix well. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the remaining rhubarb and the strawberries, stir the cornstarch mixture well and pour over top and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes, then transfer carefully to a heat-proof container, and let cool further for about 15 minutes. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
Make the dough:
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and the sugar well, stirring with a whisk or fork, then add the butter. Work butter into flour with cold hands (chill them for seconds in ice water if necessary), or cut it in using a pastry cutter, breaking the cubes into small pieces. The dough should look crumbly and dry but moist to the touch with butter so that when you press it, it clumps together. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, up to 4 or 5 tablespoons, and mix to combine with the pastry cutter or your hands until you get a shaggy, loose dough that you seems dry but binds when you press a piece between your thumb and forefinger.
You could also use a food processor up to this point: add the flour and sugar together first, pulse to combine, then add the butter and pulse until you get a course meal. Add the water as above, pulsing to incorporate between additions and then test the dough with your fingers at the end.
Don’t worry if the dough is crumbly and loose at the edges, press into a cohesive lump as much as possible, then turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Press down to flatten it out into a disk, wrap tightly and chill dough for at least half an hour but an hour or two is better.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Lightly flour a clean surface and your rolling pin and roll the dough out evenly on it to about a 12-inch diameter in roughly the shape of a circle and carefully transfer it to a piece of parchment paper (try rolling it onto the rolling pin to lift and unrolling it to set it down). Alternatively, roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper, lightly flouring the bottom sheet and the top of the dough first, and then discard the top piece. Add the filling (just two cups–if you have any more,refrigerate and enjoy over scones, or buttered toast another time) to the centre of the dough and spread it out evenly, leaving a 1 1/2-inch edge all around. Pick up a piece of the edge and fold over onto the filling, then move on to the piece of edge beside it and do the same, repeat all around. Messy is just fine. Brush the egg mixture over the exposed dough. Slide the parchment paper onto a baking tray and trim excessive overhang. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving warm or serve at room temperature. Top with a little whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream if you’d like.