Strawberry-rhubarb tartlettes

As spring launches a wave of color into the markets around Basel, the vibrant hue of rhubarb demands my attention. Rhabarba (rhubarb) is onstage at virtually every stall.

On Saturday I headed down to Basel’s Marktplatz, and toted home an armload of rhubarb, along with a little box of strawberries. I lucked onto strawberry rhubarb from Alsace, stems of red from tip to toe, and sweeter than the red-and-green variety.  A good thing too, since the strawberries were not yet at their peak.

I decided to make something other than my usual compotes and crumbles. Martha Stewart’s latest galette recipe called for corn meal.  Cooking with Amy suggests how to “go Mini”. I wanted to do both. I had corn semolina in the pantry, so that is what I used. After plopping pastry ingredients into the food processor, I counted to 30, per instructions. At 28, the food processor stopped cold. However, the butter, flour and cornmeal had turned into flakey pellets, ready to knead.

After a short stint in the freezer, the dough was easy to press and roll into circles that folded into crinkly-shaped squares.  I ladled macerated rhubarb and strawberries onto each circle, pressed the corners and sprinkled the minis with Turbanado sugar.

Result? An excellent, puckery-sweet filling, and I liked the single-serving concept…but I was less than thrilled with the pastry. The corn semolina gave it a grainy texture and the final sprinkling of sweet was too much. When I make these minis again, it’ll be with a traditional tart pastry and sans sucre as a finishing touch.


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