Every Monday I cook dinner for my entire Houston family.  It is our chance to take a moment away from our busy schedules, catch up, and take advantage of this time when we all live so close to each other.

This week I made a special dinner for my mom’s birthday.  I recreated that wonderful pasta and for dessert, baked these tartlets topped with the season’s first strawberries, roasted rhubarb, and a quick strawberry sauce.

Rhubarb and strawberries are one of my favorite combinations, but strawberries are often the star of the show.  This tart highlights the dueling sweetness and tartness of rhubarb with strawberries playing the supporting role; a great way to get to know rhubarb if you ask me.

Remember my reconciliation with tarts?  Well, our relationship is moving on quite nicely and tartlets, baby tarts, have also become dear to me.  What an elegant way to present a dessert and each of your guests gets their own!  I even made my niece a super-mini tartlet (see below), she gobbled it up.

Welcome Spring and Happy (belated) Birthday Mom!

Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberry Tartlets

Makes 6 5-inch tartlets

Sweet dough recipe from the Tartine cookbook

Inspired by the Gourmet Today cookbook

Note:  The recipe for the sweet dough will make more than you need for this recipe.  The extra dough can be frozen for 3 weeks or rolled and cut to make sugar cookies.

For the dough:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the tart filling and sauce:

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

10 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1 10-ounce package frozen strawberries

1/4 cup water 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup creme fraiche

Fresh strawberries thinly sliced, approximately 6 per tartlet

Special equipment: 6 5-inch tart pans. If you don’t have these, you can make a regular 9-inch tart.  If you don’t have that…you need a tart pan!

Make tart dough:

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth.  Mix in 1 egg.  Add the remaining egg and mix until smooth.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed just until incorporated.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 4 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1/2 inch thick.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions.  Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn after every few strokes, dusting underneath as necessary.  Cut out a circle 2 inches larger than the pan.  Carefully transfer the circle to the pan, easing it into the bottom and sides and then pressing gently into place.  Do not stretch the dough.  Trim the dough level with the top of the pan with a sharp knife.  Dock the bottom of the tart with a fork.  Place the lined pan in the refrigerator while preparing filling and sauce. (Don’t forget to freeze your extra dough!)

Make filling and sauce:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Lightly oil a baking sheet with sides.  Arrange the rhubarb in one layer on baking sheet.  Sift 5 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar evenly over it.  Roast rhubarb until tender, 15-25 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.  Lower oven temperature to 325°F.

Place strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and water in a small saucepan and simmer until strawberries are thawed and sugar dissolves.  Puree strawberries in a food processor.  Force puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard solids.

Sift remaining 5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar over creme fraiche in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Bake tartlets for 10-12 minutes, until light golden brown.  Cool completely.

Assemble tartlets:

Distribute sweetened creme fraiche evenly over tartlet shells.  Garnish decoratively with fresh strawberries and top each with an equal serving of the roasted rhubarb.  Drizzle with strawberry puree.

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