When you set out to make the kind of cute adorable tartlets that people "ooo" and "ahh" over as if they were a newborn child, but end up with...Quasimodo. In pastry crust rhubarb compote form.
It's really a test of character as to whether or not you can hold your head up high, and with all the disdain and snootiness you can muster, say to anyone who dares criticize, "They're rustic."
Then follow it up with an eye-roll and a really good menacing glare. Like, duh-these-are-what-tartlets-are-supposed-to-look-like-so-you-obviously-don't-know-anything-about-anything. That kind of glare.
Oh, yeah. You showed them.
Actually, this technique can be applied to almost anything in life that is awkward and ugly and mildly deformed, but still kind of cute in it's own right.
My dance skills. Rustic.
My bedroom floor. Rustic.
Any and all "results" (I use that term loosely), I've gotten in the past year of my Ph/D. Rustic.
Me in the two-piece bathing suit I tried on yesterday that had me wondering why I even made these tartlets in the first place when I should have been making a salad instead. Rustic.
See what I mean? It's pretty all-purpose.
Luckily, at least in the case of these tartlets, "rustic" does not necessarily preclude "delicious".
They are from Good to the Grain, which is a gorgeous cookbook that I don't cook from often enough. The pastry crust is not your traditional pie crust, but is cornmeal-infused with a base of a corn flour/all purpose flour mix. This makes it a little more delicate but wonderfully tasty, with a slightly crunchy texture that is to-die for. Kind of like a good shortbread cookie. Mmmm.
And then there's the rhubarb vanilla compote, which is the ideal mix of sweet tart and tangy. It's what turns these ugly duckling tartlets into swans once they hit your tastebuds.
The de-rustic-ifying factor.
Now if only I could find such a thing to make my experiments in lab look way more insightful than they actually are, or to make my bathing suit look like something I could actually wear out in public...that would be lovely. But until then. I'm just gonna embrace my new favorite adjective.
Rustic. Let's go with it.
(Read on after the recipe for a fabulously delicious GIVEAWAY!)
Rustic Rhubarb Tarts
Makes 10-16, adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Good to the Grain
- 1 cup corn flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher or coarse salt
- 1 stick (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 batch Rhubarb Vanilla Compote (recipe to follow)
- Combine the dry ingredients (corn flour, all purpose flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt) in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add in the heavy cream and egg yolks and pulse to combine.
- Divide dough into as few as ten or as many as sixteen equal pieces. Using the palm of your hand, squish each piece into a rough circle, about 3-4 inches in diameter.
- Spoon about 1 1/2-2 tsp of rhubarb compote into the center of each circle. Fold the edges of the dough toward the compote and up to create a ruffled edge. Complete around the whole perimeter. Transfer the tart to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Place in the freezer to chill for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375. Bake the still-frozen tarts for 25-30 minutes or until the edges of the tart are brown and the filling is bubbling and thick. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Rhubarb Vanilla Compote
- 1 1/2 lb rhubarb, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin slices on a diagonal
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Set aside 1 1/2 cups rhubarb. Place the remaining rhubarb, brown sugar, and vanilla into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, for 15 minutes or until saucy. Remove cover, raise heat to medium, and cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until rhubarb sauce is thick and leaves a trail when you drag a spoon through it. Mix in the 1 1/2 cups rhubarb. Remove from heat. Place in a large bowl and let cool.
My friend Lauren, who blogs over at Keep It Sweet is living her foodie dream. She left her job in December to open up her own ONLINE BAKERY!!! We correspond in some way at least twelve times a week (either by email, text, twitter) and if we go more than two weeks without seeing each other, I start to stress eat nutella at the sheer awfulness of it all. This is the girl who introduced me to 50 Shades of Grey. So you know I love her.
Anyways, we had plans to see each other last week after not hanging out for at least a MONTH, and so when she asked if she could bring me some of her online bakery products to sample, I jumped at the chance to take a little bit of Lauren home with me to eat at all hours of the night and to share with The.Boy. Yes, I know that sounds wrong. But it's how I roll.
And everything we ate was amazing. Below are the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie sandwiches with chocolate buttercream and fudgy caramel pecan brownies (which are really the fudgiest brownies I've EVER had). She also sent over a peanut butter cup stuffed triple chocolate cookie. Which I hid from The.Boy. and ate the night after my hospital stay. It made my day.
Lauren was sweet enough to also offer to send one of YOU GUYS a dozen of any product of your choice. To enter, just leave a comment about which of her products you would want and remember to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win! You can also use the coupon code EATSWELL10 from now until August 31st to get 10% off on any purchases. The winner will be announced one week from today.