Strawberry Rhubarb Tartlets with a Crumb Topping

The weather in Seattle is all dark and mysterious, which is what I've grown to love about the Pacific Northwest. It's a much-needed change from the overly hot and sunny days, which have their place - in the months of July and August. My in-laws are visiting, and I have slept in 3 out of the 4 days they've been here. It has been glorious, and I'm all relaxed and walking in a cloud of happiness.

I'm able to function and think clearly, multitask, shower, do the laundry. I almost feel like a high functioning adult ready to integrate myself back into society. Yesterday we went to the bookstore, and I bought this book, which I'm really excited about because I don't think I've read anything that didn't rhyme, for ages. I've eaten chocolate every day, ice cream twice. I work-out in the afternoon instead of 8 am, which is a much better time for my body. Sebastian started sleeping through the night, which is amazing, cause I thought the day was never going to come. Now if I could only convince him to sleep in until 7 am instead of 6 am, do the dishes, and rub my back, we'd be set. My father-in-law has organized our basement, which previously looked like an episode of Hoarders Seattle. He cut the grass and fixed our front door, and it really makes me think that I need to hire a handyman because this whole 'getting things done' is fantastic. I've even cooked a few meals, uninterrupted. What?!?!? So, if you need me, I'll be the one sitting in the corner sipping a glass of wine in a cloud of content.

Last week, just before they arrived, I was a complete mess. I was trying to accomplish too many things at once (painting the living room, cleaning the house, taking care of the gardens, the baby, and trying to master these baby strawberry rhubarb tarts recipe). I managed to accomplish it all, but with it came some serious challenges. I spilled the paint on the floor, messed up the crust recipe twice, broke the mop, and nearly gave myself a panic attack. No need to worry, though, I got the paint off of the floor, mastered the crust, threw out the mop, and took a bath, even though our bathtub is built for a hobbit, I still managed to enjoy it.

So, let's talk about these tarts. I'm not sure how I can convince you to make them right away, other than by telling you, promising you, that they will be the best strawberry rhubarb tarts you will eat this summer. I don't even know how it happened. It was like the stars aligned, and everything came together all at once. Last Thursday, I started the recipe at 7 am with a coffee in hand. The next thing I knew, it was 6 pm, the kitchen looked like a tornado had touched down, twice. The baby was still in one piece, thankfully. And the tarts as beautiful as ever. The crust turned out flavorful and flaky, just the right amount of tender, not chewy or tough. Not too thick. The fruit, soft and delicate, slightly juicy, but not swimming. The sugary oat crumbles, buttery and crunchy, but not overly. You can eat them with a fork, a spoon, or with your hands. You can make a bunch and freeze them for later. Or you can show up to the bar and give them all to your friends and they will love you forever, and you can keep working on your summer bathing suit body, but right after you eat one. or two. I won't tell.

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makes 8 - 4" tartlets

prep time: 90 minutes

cooking time: 55 minutes

crust ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and grated

5 tbsp ice cold water

topping ingredients

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled

filling ingredients

10 oz rhubarb, chopped

1 lb strawberries, halved

2 tbsp corn starch

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the grated butter and combine. Slowly stir in the cold water. Once the water has been added, work into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and then place into the fridge for an hour to chill.

While the dough is chilling, make the crumb topping. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Work the butter and dry ingredients with your fingers until you have a course crumble. Place the crumble into the fridge to keep cool.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut in half. Place half back in the fridge while you work with the other. Roll the dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into circles an inch wider than the 4" tartlet pans. Press the dough into the pans and remove any excess. Take the dough scraps and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place back into the fridge while you work with the chilled dough. You always want the dough to be chilled, preventing the butter from melting. Each time you complete a tartlet shell, place it into the fridge to chill. Once you are ready to bake, remove the tartlets from the fridge. Line with parchment paper and fill with ceramic baking beans or dried pulses. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the tarts are baking, make the filling. Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, cornstarch, and sugars in a large bowl.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.

Remove the tart shells from the oven and fill with the strawberry rhubarb filling. Add the crumble. Place the tarts onto a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Let cool. Remove the tarts from their shells and serve.