Strawberry-Rhubarb, Strawberry-Peach Tarts

I had been looking up different recipes to try, and found one that featured a vegetable I don't enjoy: rhubarb. I never understood the whole "strawberry-rhubarb pie" thing, and ever since tasting some raw, I avoided it altogether. However, because the point of the trying new recipes goal was to make something new, I decided to revisit my dislike and try out this recipe from epicurious.

The recipe seemed straightforward, so I picked the ingredients up at the market. As I unpacked the puff pastry, something terrible happened -- I could not unstick the crusts from each other! Who am I to ignore such clear instruction from the baking gods? I made plans to double the recipe.

One lesson I've learned over the course of cooking and baking is that if the flavor of your recipe hangs on an ingredient whose flavor may vary, taste that ingredient before using it! After tasting the rhubarb, it became clear that the tartness would not be mitigated by the sugar and orange juice alone. I decided to play on the tried and true combination of the strawberry-rhubarb pie and threw in some strawberries.

Adding strawberries did not alter the recipe in any other way. The rhubarb and strawberries soaked side-by-side in the sugar-juice mixture. I started unfolding and rolling the puff pastry for the crust. While rhubarb and strawberries are both red, I found it visually pleasing to alternate between the two when placing them on the tart.

At this point, the baking gods chimed in again -- I was running out of the rhubarb-strawberry mixture for the last tart. Disastrous. However, my housemate had a can of peaches in the pantry, and suggested replacing the remaining rhubarb with sliced peaches. Done. The peaches added a great color contrast, and resulted in a much sweeter tart than the rhubarb -- though both tasted great!

Has rhubarb become my new favorite vegetable? Hardly. However, I will now give a dessert or a recipe that contains it a second glance!


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