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The other day I mentioned on twitter that I have never had rhubarb. The responses were fast and plentiful, and most fell into a rage from disbelief to pity. I never realized it was so popular – I don’t even think I knew it existed until a few years ago! I decided that since everyone seemed to love it so much, I should take the plunge and give it a try. I went with the traditional combination of rhubarb with strawberries, but I didn’t want to commit to a whole pie. So I made a tart. A tart with a brown sugar shortbread crust.

Ok, fine. Maybe I just didn’t feel like dealing with pie crust. But the shortbread crust was perfect. Strawberries and shortbread. Strawberries and brown sugar. How could you go wrong? Especially when you start out with strawberries that look like these:

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I mean, strawberries have been awesome this year as it is, but take a look at those beauties! They were every bit as juicy and sweet as they look. Which is good, since I paired them with rhubarb. Which, in case you’re like me and have never had it before, is extremely tart. Especially when it’s raw. I don’t recommend doing what I did and taking a nibble to test it out.

Despite the tartness of that nibble, I could tell that this was going to be a thing of beauty so I forged ahead. Let the berries and rhubarb macerate in sugar to release the juices. Scooped it into the partially baked cookie crust. Baked it until the filling became luscious and jammy, almost like a grown up version of a linzer tart. Where has this been all my life?

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Brown Sugar Shortcrust

This may be one of the easiest and most impressive desserts I’ve ever made. The cookie crust is simple to mix up, and the brown sugar gives it a nice complexity. The filling is sweet without being too sweet, with the perfect amount of tartness to balance it out. It tastes like summer.

The tart is perfect straight out of the pan, unadorned. But if you’re looking for a little something more, please don’t ruin it with whipped cream. A dollop of sour cream mixed with a tough of sugar is the perfect sweet-tart compliment to this dessert.

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 pints strawberries, sliced
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, diced
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbs arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan.

Add the butter to a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the brown sugar, mixing well to break up and lumps. Gently mix in the flour and the salt, taking care not to overwork the dough (it will be very dry and crumbly).

Press the dough out into the prepared tart pan. Use a fork to dock the dough (poke holes in it — this will help keep the crust thin by preventing steam from making it bubble up as it cooks).

Bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust begins to bake, combine strawberries, rhubarb, white sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside to rest — the mixture will get very syrupy.

Pour the strawberry mixture into the partially baked crust, making sure to spread it out across the whole thing. Return to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the crust is baked and the middle looks like jam.

Remove and let cool before serving.

Serves 8.
Approx. 255 calories, 12 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein