Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb & Tarragon Tarte Tartin

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Growing up in Oregon, I always knew spring was coming around when the thermometer outside passed 50 degrees and a little ray of sunshine managed to shove its way through the densely packed clouds and left a small spot of warmth on the ground below. Here in California, however, I knew spring had arrived the moment the skies parted and large droplets of rain began furiously pelting the dusty rooftops of the city and flooding its sunken streets. While the general flooding of the sidewalks around my neighborhood was a bit irksome when trying to walk the pup, my garden soaked it up like a sponge and little bits of greenery began poking their way through the softened soil. Tulips sprouted, the branches of my columbines became heavy with buds, and the entire neighborhood exploded with the scent of wet, clean earth and rapidly blooming flowers.

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In the days following the rain, the sun reared its golden head and the waters rapidly receded from the streets, but the sumptuous rainbow of spring flowers remained, and walking around my neighborhood peering at the lovely variety of fauna (and snipping a few to admire in the house) reminded me of the vibrance of my favorite spring perennial, rhubarb. I didn't know what rhubarb was or what it tasted like until I was in my twenties, when Jeremy kept going on about rhubarb pies and I had no idea what he was talking about. But when I did finally try it, it was love at first bite. I've always been a fan of tart flavors (vinegar is one of my favorite ingredients), so encountering an enormous herb of sorts that had such a wonderful tang to it was kind of a life-altering experience. I wanted rhubarb in everything; salads, sweets, stews, roasted, raw, and grilled. And after incorporating it into many, many things, I can say that my favorite use is the tarte tartan. 

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A tarte tartin is basically an upside-down pie where the filling is cooked in a skillet with butter and sugar until the fruits have softened and the sugar has caramelized. A rolled-out pastry crust is quickly tucked into the pan around the filling and the whole thing is popped in the oven for a good baking session. The crust gets golden brown and flakey, and the filling simmers away underneath, soaking through the edges of the crust to create buttery, syrupy goodness. The pan is then removed from the oven and allowed to cool for a bit before flipping the whole thing over onto a serving plate, exposing the beautifully caramelized filling and crust to the world.

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Now, it's no secret that strawberry and rhubarb are bffs in the world of baking, but when you throw the subtly sweet and slightly licorice-y flavor of fresh tarragon into the mix, the flavors are brought to a whole new level of sweet and tart. Tarragon is traditionally used in savory fish and chicken dishes, but it's anise-like flavor properties makes the herb well-suited to the world of desserts, and its inherently sweet and herbal flavor compliments the tartness of the rhubarb with resounding warmth. So if you're looking for a way to use the most vibrant perennial of the season, I think I've got you covered. (And by think I mean know. Seriously, you should make this immediately.)

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Also, these photos mark the debut of the new backdrops I ordered from Unique Primtiques on Etsy. They were kind enough to do a custom order for me (most people want legs on their tabletops, but not I!) and I could not be happier with how they came out. The assortment of tabletops, along with my growing hoard of vintage cookery props, has officially crowded out my remaining cabinet space and left me longing for a larger kitchen. As such, I've come to the conclusion that my lack of current storage space is just further evidence that I need to give up on Los Angeles apartment-dwelling and start my own goat farm in Oregon, with the ridiculously large kitchens that most farmhouses are equipped with. Come summer, I may just be heading up north once and for all...

Rhubarb

Strawberry  Rhubarb  &  Tarragon  Tarte  Tartin


Crust

2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons sugar
1 cup butter, cold and hard
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
5-8 tablespoons water, cold

Strawberry Rhubarb & Tarragon Filling

3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon water
12 large strawberries, halved with caps removed
1 and 1/3 generous cups rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch cinnamon
1 and 1/4 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Begin by preparing the crust. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Grate the butter on the largest hole setting of your grater over the bowl, mixing to coat the butter shards in the flour mixture every 10 seconds or so. Add the cider vinegar and 5 tablespoons of water and mix the dough. If it stays in a clump when you squeeze it in your hand, it has enough water, if it falls apart, add more water until it stays together. Shape the dough into a ball and roll it out into a 1/2 inch thick disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the filling, heat the sugar, butter, and water in a roughly 8-inch skillet over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized and the mixture is bubbling. Add the strawberries and rhubarb and sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top. Simmer for 20-30 minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from the stovetop and stir in 1 teaspoon of the tarragon, then sprinkle with the cinnamon. Place the crust over the skillet, quickly tucking it down into the pan around the edges of the filling. Cut three 1-inch slits in the top to allow heat to escape before placing it in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes of until the top of the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before attempting to flip the pan over onto the serving plate. Once flipped, gently remove the pan to display the filling inside. Sprinkle with the remaining tarragon and allow the tart tartin to continue to cool for 30 minutes before serving.





29 comments:

  1. this flavor combo! the other day i made a strawberry & rhubarb pie topped with tarragon whipped cream. it was heavenly, like these photos!.

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    1. Thank you, Phi! The combination of those three is kind of mind blowing. Definitely want to make more pastries with them in it...

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  2. Oh gosh, I may have found the perfect birthday dessert for my man! He is a huge Strawberry Rhubarb fan, and he adores the licorice taste of tarragon, anise, etc. I have never made a tart tartin before, but since I love them so much, I would love to try this out! And once again, this looks amazing!

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    1. Oh yayyyyy!!!! That is perfect! He'll just love this :) My husband loves anise flavors too, so he was all about this recipe haha :)

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  3. This is beautiful!! I recently gave up chocolate for a bit (to test my willpower and I know I'm nuts)... so I've been on the hunt for fruity recipes. I'm one that has to have dessert almost daily (either after dinner or some afternoons) and I love the combination of fruits and herbs in this! x

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    1. Awww thank you!! Giving up chocolate is reallllly tough, I did it one year for lent and barely made it through. But it does feel really good when you are able to follow through on those self-imposed goals :) I hope this tarte tartin helps you reach your goal!

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  4. Oh, I love the idea of adding tarragon to strawberry and rhubarb! I also love the idea of this...spring. Is that what they call it in your parts?! It's supposed to hit the 40s this weekend here; everything is still covered in snow and everything is about to get wet, muddy, and gross. I'm anxious for it to get warm so the blueberries bloom and the bees come out! You've written a beautiful recipe and taken gorgeous photos as always, Eva! And you've given me hope for spring, too :)

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    1. Oh Brianne!! That is so cold!! I hope it warms up there so you can get out in the field with the bees and enjoy the spring flowers :) My parents up in Oregon are tired of the cold, too, granted its nowhere near as severe as what the east coast is experiencing right now. If you try the recipe let me know how you like it, I just couldn't get over how well the tarragon paired with the rhubarb!

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  5. This looks amazing, I have never baked with rhubarb before, can't wait to bake this.

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    1. Ohhhhh let me know how it comes out for you!! I'm excited for you to bake with it, it's so tasty and goes great in sweets with nice buttery crusts :)

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  6. I really have to get on board with this rhubarb thing. My mother used to steal it from the neighbor's house in the middle of the night and then she would make stewed rhubarb. I do think if she had put this in front of me I might have been on the bandwagon years ago. Love the use of tarragon!

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    1. Hahaha your mom is awesome!! I think that will probably be me in like 10 years. I'm already stealing cuttings of flowers from the bushes in our neighborhood. The jasmine just smells so good I want to be able to smell a bit of it inside the house, too. Definitely let me know how this turns out for you if you give it a try, would love to hear your thoughts!

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  7. i love rhubarb and there are growing so fast at my farm so i'll make this recipe soon :)
    (love your blog :)

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    1. Awww thank you so much! :) This is a wonderful recipe for it, I've also heard a lot of people talking about making rhubarb syrups for cocktails which I want to try soon, too.

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  8. Oh, what a beautiful color! I would have to have a piece for breakfast. :) Definitely going to keep my eyes open for rhubarb at the next farmer's market!

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    1. Thank you, Eileen! Is would make a great breakfast pastry, it's weirdly light because of all the fruit, hence why we were able to finish the whole thing between the four of us. A very flavorful way to start the day :)

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  9. this looks incredible! moist doesn't even cover it, and i love the hue--really outstanding work. :)

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    1. Awww thank you so much, Grace!! I love the color, too, rhubarb is just so insanely vibrant I just love it!

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  10. Every time I visit your blog I'm floored by the beauty of your photographs! This post certainly does not disappoint. You definitely make me homesick for Oregon :) And this tart... wow. I wish they had rhubarbs here in Cape Town!

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    1. Thank you Chelsea!! I am very flattered :) And Oregon....such a wonderful place! I miss it so much, too. Cape Town is much farther away from home, I admire your strength! I wonder if they have the growing climate for rhubarb in Cape Town, maybe it's too warm? They have them here in southern California, although I am not sure if they actually are grown here or brought in from another state that's a bit cooler...

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  11. {Hey look it's me, coming out of the woodwork to finally start commenting on things again! ♥♥♥}

    First, can I just say that I am so jealous of your spring situation? I'd even take non-stop rain and flooded streets, because at least it'd wash these giant, dirty mounds of snow away. We're still waiting for that glorious day when the temperature breaks 50°. Then we'll celebrate winter's departure by staggering around being blinded the fiery orb that miraculously reappeared in the heavens. What did you call it—the "sun"? ;)

    Second, the new backdrop is gorgeous!! I never thought to ask and Etsy seller for a custom order that would basically amount to a legless table—such a good idea!

    Third, this looks absolutely amazing. One of my favorite ice creams I ever made was a combination of strawberries, rhubarb, and basil, so I totally get how tarragon would be all sorts of rad in the mix too. I bake my friend Seth a rhubarb pie every spring (basically an excuse to have an afternoon party and eat pie with friends). It would be so much fun to switch things up and give this a try. Or maybe just make both! No such thing as too much dessert. :)

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    1. Oh man, I can't even imagine! Dirty snow is kind of the grossest-looking nature thing. It just makes everything look so...dirty haha. I hope the glowing orb reappears for you soon!! You deserve a bunch of sunlight for your beautiful photos :)

      And thank you!! I got one grey farm wood one (the one in this post), a dark brown stained one, and a peeling white one. They're all really fun and are looking amazing in the photos, definitely a recommended purchase!!

      AAAAAAND I need to make that ice cream asap. Strawberry, rhubarb, AND basil? NOM. I bet basil would be good in a rhubarb pie, too. You could make three things! Normal rhubarb pie, basil rhubarb pie, and the tarte tartin, and just have a mini-rhubarb festival. I wonder if there is a town that has a rhubarb festival each spring....if so, I want us to go to there someday. We'd take the festival by storm with our ice creams and tartes!!

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  13. WHOA. This recipe. So. Good. It looks overwhelmingly delicious. I just love strawberries and rhubarb. I have never tried it together with tarragon, but you definitely make me to do so. And I love your photography. Allright, everything about your blog actually.. (:

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  14. Very striking, and love the unusual flavour profile!

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  15. This tarte tartin looks fabulous! I have never used rhubarb before, but you're inspiring me to! This may be the dish that turns me onto rhubarb. So, thank you!
    Caitlin

    lifealamodeblog.wordpress.com

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  16. Beautiful!

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