“Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?”
“Not if it’s in cans.”
This old nonsensical exchange was once used as an idle conversation starter or topic changer, as one might ask “How’s the weather?” Asking about the weather might be the more appropriate rhubarb question this time of year as rhubarb crops beat strawberries out of the gate as a welcome signal that Springtime has arrived. And not a moment too soon.
Rhubarb is best grown in regions with a few months of cold winter weather and ground freezes. When the weather warms up, crowns of this tart, red celery-like vegetable rise up, ready for use. When cooked, the crisp, fibrous stalks become soft and pliant. The tart tangy flesh can be used to complement savory dishes like chicken or fish, but it is most commonly sweetened or paired with fruits to produce jams, compotes, tarts or pies.
When preparing fresh rhubarb, it is important to remember that the leaves are toxic and must be completely removed. While it may be tempting to remove the fibrous skin, much of the flavor and color resides there and the unappealing texture will go away once the rhubarb is cooked.
Paired with another favorite of the season, strawberry-rhubarb pie is a classic use of this odd crop. We’re putting a spin on the iconic dessert with this recipe for a strawberry-rhubarb galette. Galettes are similar to pies or tarts, made with pastry or pie dough, but prepared on a baking sheet, yielding a flat, less-structured pastry with a crisper crust than conventional pie. Galettes may be filed with all manner of sweet or savory fillings. We love the combination of texture and zing in this sweet and tart strawberry-rhubarb galette and it just sounds so exotic. This recipe makes two galettes.
- 2 sticks cold butter
- 12 ounces flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 ounces ice water
- 4 cups rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2” pieces
- 4 cups strawberries, hulled
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Turbinado sugar
- Cut butter into 1/2” pieces and combine with flour, salt and sugar in food processor.
- Pulse processor until pea-sized chunks form.
- Add water slowly until dough just holds together (do not over-process).
- Divide dough in half and press to form two disks.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla extract and stir to blend.
- Roll disks of dough out to form two round 12” crusts and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Divide filling in half and spread on crusts, leaving about 2” of crust exposed around the edges.
- Fold edges of crust over filling, working all the way around with pleated overlaps.
- Whisk egg and tablespoon of water together and brush onto crusts.
- Sprinkle galettes with turbinado sugar.
- Bake 50 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before slicing.