Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Tart with Whipped Mascarpone Quenelle

Rhubarb.  It's growing like a weed right now.  And if it's edible and ready for harvest on my property, it's going to get eaten.

It just so happens that my Ray is rhubarb's #1 fan, especially when combined with strawberries.  Add a dusting of sweet crumble on top and a buttery pate brisee crust that's holding it all together on the bottom, he's even happier.

Add a tart nubbin' of whipped mascarpone, I'm guaranteed that Ray will make me one of my favorite treats in return, a Rayppuccino.

Ray's famous cappuccino skills on display.  Goes perfectly with slice of Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Tart
(makes one 9" tart)


for the crust

Pate brisee is a buttery, tender crust that holds its shape beautifully when baked.  It works equally well with sweet and savory tarts and it whips together in seconds.  Unlike a quick puff, it's not outrageously flaky but it does have a glorious texture that's perfect for using in tart molds.  My brisee is a bit different than most in that I use sweetened condensed milk.  This helps hold the dough together and gives the whole affair a lovely caramel flavor without adding undue sweetness.

2 cups all purpose flour (I only use King Arthur)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the filling

6-8 stalks rhubarb, cleaned and cut into small pieces
1 pound strawberries, cleaned and hulled (I feed the strawberry tops to my chickens and water fowl.  If you don't have those critters, of course you can compost.  Another clever option is from my friend, Brooke.  She freezes the tops and then puts them in her smoothies).
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons ClearJel (this is a thickener that doesn't leave filling cloudy.  You can substitute cornstarch)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
zest and juice of 1 lemon
scant pinch of sea salt

Harvest rhubarb.

for the crumble

I make large batches of crumble from this recipe and then bag the crumble in individual portions and freeze for later use.  Each individual portion is about 2 cups.  Perfect for dessert on the fly as you can use the crumble straight from the freezer.  Again, to get this recipe click HERE. 

for the quenelles

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


for the crust

•In the bowl of a food processor, combine the dry ingredients and pulse a few times.  Add the chunks of butter and pulse again until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal.

Dry ingredients combined with the butter, pulsed until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.
•In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the flour/butter mixture, pulsing while you add.  Continue pulsing until the mixture is almost together but not smooth (you'll still see chunks of flour, etc.).

•Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold the dough over a few times to create a smooth dough.  Don't over work the dough, only enough that all the flour is combined.

•Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

•Line the tart tin with the dough by breaking pieces of the dough into the mold and gently pressing it into shape.  Thickness of the dough should be approximately 1/8 of an inch thick.  (I usually have a little bit of dough left.  Resist the urge to add all the dough just because you have it.  If you have an even thickness all around of about 1/8, stop. Save the dough for a fun small project, click HERE to see what I do).

•Freeze the dough lined tart pan for 20 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350º and make the filling.

for the filling

•In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the rhubarb, vanilla, lemon zest juice and salt.

•In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and the ClearJel until well combined.  Add the sugar mixture to the rhubarb and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens.  Take from the heat and stir in the strawberries.  Set aside until the crust is ready.  (If you use cornstarch, add the sugar along with the vanilla and lemon zest and juice.  Stir until juices start to flow.  Take about 1/4 cup of the juice and stir into the cornstarch to create a slurry.  Add to the rhubarb on the stove and heat until the mixture just starts to bubble and thicken.  Remember that you're adding strawberries in both cases, with the ClearJel and the cornstarch, so you want the initial mixture with just rhubarb to be thicker than you'd usually like, almost gummy.  When you add the strawberries and start baking everything together, that extra juice from the strawberries will be thankful for the extra thicken power you've added in the beginning and it all evens out once everything's baked).  

***At this point, test your filling for sweetness.  If your strawberries aren't ripe enough, you may want to add a few tablespoons of table sugar to make up for the lost sweetness.***

to assemble

•Blind bake the tart dough for 20 minutes or just until the bottom of the dough has lost its raw dough sheen.

•Remove the tart dough from the oven and spoon the filling in an even layer over the crust.  Spread an even layer of crumble over the filling.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crumble just starts to brown and the filling starts to bubble over.

to finish

•In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, confectioner's sugar and vanilla.  Whisk on high until stiff peaks form.

•Using two spoons, scrape the whipped cream from one spoon to the other to form an egg shaped quenelle.  Place a single quenelle on each slice.

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