A Tart and A Cocktail: Two Springtime Recipes

Before I get into the heart of this post, I must confess that I cheated.  You see, I wanted to make a tart.  A homemade tart seemed like such a culinary feat.  I’ve never made such a thing before and I came across a recipe that looked too delicious to pass up.

But, I cheated.  I looked at the recipe, made my grocery list, went to the store, and then promptly bought a pre-made pie crust instead of the ingredients I would need to make my own.

I am a tart-making cheater.

But, let me tell you something else.  .  .  . I don’t think I care.

I mean, I love to cook.  I like to bake.  But, I don’t like making fussy things that require lots of kneading and rolling.  It’s just not what I’m cut out for.  Maybe one day when I get a Kitchenaid mixer things will be different, but for now, I’ll leave my kneading to the professionals at Pillsbury.

So there it is.  Now that we’ve got that awkward confession out on the table, take a look at this tart.

The recipe comes from Vegetarian Times and it was fantastic.  The rhubarb filling, fresh strawberries, and apricot cream (not pictured above) were each delicious on their own, but combined, they created a hybrid of sweet and tangy that was even more delightful then I had anticipated.

I was a bit nervous about making it, though really with the pie crust made for me, it was a pretty simple process.  The rhubarb cooked down nicely, melting into the sugar and orange juice to create a thick base for the strawberries that were to be nestled on top of it.  The apricot cream could not have been simpler to make and, quite honestly, it is something that I believe I will make again and again to dollop onto any number of things (scones come to mind).  The cream is delicious and adds a somewhat decadent quality when spooned onto the humble tart.

I highly recommend making this for yourself – especially during the few short weeks when rhubarb is at its peak.   The recipe follows this post with a few notes to aid you along the way.

Now, as for the cocktail I mentioned.  Remember the rhubarb liqueur I put together a few weeks ago?  Well, the time had come to finish it up this weekend!  Woo-hoo!  After straining it, I set to work on the very important decision making process regarding what I would do to test it out.  I decided to go with one of my most favorite cocktails and put a spin on it.  Hence, the Gin Daisy with Rhubarb Liqueur was born.

A Gin Daisy is a no-fail drink in my book.  First of all, its primary component is gin – the greatest of all liquors.  That’s right – I am declaring this to be true.  If you haven’t come around to gin yet, consider giving it a try.  If you’re new to the world of gin, I recommend starting with a good, solid London dry gin (such as Broker’s or Beefeater).  If you want to be a bit more adventurous, whip up a cucumber martini with Hendrick’s or try some Aviation – both of which have their own distinct gin flavors. 

But I digress, back to the Gin Daisy.  I am not a fan of very sweet drinks, so the Gin Daisy is perfect really.  It is traditionally made with gin, lemon juice, and grenadine.  The grenadine gives it a hint of sweetness, but the lemon juice adds a bit of sour that I crave.  To test out my rhubarb liqueur, I simply replaced the grenadine with the liqueur.  It was wonderful.  The effect was a refreshing, smooth, summery cocktail with a unique twist from the rhubarb flavor.

Following up my Saturday night dinner with this cocktail and a slice of this tart, definitely made for an enjoyable evening.  If you give either a try let me know what you think!

************************************************************************************************

The Tart:

Strawberry Rhubarb-Tart with Apricot Cream

Just slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times (click through to link above for original recipe)

For the Crust:

1 refrigerated, store-bought pie crust (12-inch if you can find it – I could only find 9 inch, so I had extra filling which I will use on top of frozen yogurt)

For the Filling (Again, this makes enough for a 12-inch tart.  You can scale back for an 8 or 9 inch or save the extra for other uses):

1 cup sugar

2 lbs fresh or frozen rhubarb

4 Tblspns fresh orange juice

1 Tblspn fresh orange zest

1.5 lbs strawberries

For the Apricot Cream:

1 cup all-fruit apricot jam

12 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Directions:

1. Bake pie crust according to package directions.  Set aside to cool.

2. Chop rhubarb into small slices, about 1/4 inch thick.  Combine rhubarb, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a large sauce pan.  Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently.  The rhubarb should start to release it’s juices.  Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb breaks down and a thick, jam-like consistency is created (about 30-40 minutes).  Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool.

3.  Once the pie crust and the rhubarb mixture have cooled, it’s time to prepare the tart.  Spread rhubarb mixture evenly into the pie.  Then, top with strawberries.  Cut the tops off of the strawberries and stand them up on their flat ends or cut them in two and lay them flat if you prefer.  Pack them in tight so the entire center of the tart is covered.

4. To prepare the apricot cream, melt the jam in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Once the jam has broken down and is smooth, remove from heat.  Brush the edge of the pie crust and the strawberries with the melted jam.  Put the remaining melted jam in a bowl to cool.  Once cooled, stir into the yogurt and mix well.  Dollop cream onto tart slices when serving.

The Cocktail:

Gin Daisy

Ingredients:

2.5 oz gin

1 tblspn rhubarb liqueur (or grenadine if making the traditional recipe)

1 tblspn freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, filled 2/3 full with ice cubes.  Shake vigorously.  Strain (preferably into a chilled martini glass).  Serve with a lemon twist.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s