Some Tarts, of Sorts

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There was a day a couple weeks ago where it was absolutely pouring out and it was a super-depressing, totally un-summery day.

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So I went grocery shopping and found that fresh figs were on sale, as well as some reasonably local strawberries. So of course I bought a whole bunch.

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And then I had to figure out what to do with all this gorgeous fruit.

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But I had some puff pastry and some good ol’ custard-in-a-can. So let’s make a tart — or two!

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So I sliced up all the figs and strawberries, nice and thin, about 1/4″ thick.

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And then I drooled a little bit, because look at all that awesomeness.

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I’ve never baked with canned custard before, so I wasn’t sure if it would solidify after cooking. Just to be on the safe side, I decided to beat one whole egg into the custard for insurance.

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I also spilled a few drops of Grand Marnier orange liqueur in there and it tasted amazing already.

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I created a quick glaze by mixing some honey with some egg white I had sitting in the fridge.

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Then I preheated the oven to 375°F and rolled out my two sheets of pastry onto parchment paper.

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I added a few spoonfuls of my custard mix and smoothed it out with the back of a spoon. Not too much – you don’t want it spilling everywhere once it heats up.

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Then I laid out the fruit. This one was all fig.

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This one I alternated fig and strawberry.

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Then I took a silicone brush and smoothed the egg white glaze over the fruit. I shoved those in the oven, one at a time, for about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure the glaze and the custard aren’t burning.

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Let those puppies cool almost completely before cutting them up.

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I still had some glaze and strawberries and custard left, and there was a cup of that delightful rhubarb curd I made earlier. What should I do?

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I decided to whip together a wee bit of shortbread (butter, sugar, flour), which I pressed into a pan and baked at 375°F for 15 minutes.

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Then I mixed that gorgeous curd into the custard I had left over.

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Poured it into the pan on top of the shortbread.

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Then lined it with the strawberry slices.

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Glazed it with what was leftover.

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And then I baked it for about half an hour. It’s kind of like a rudimentary flan. It was so tasty!

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And so was the tart!

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Rhubarb Bars

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°You guys. Listen. Seriously. These rhubarb bars from Lara Ferroni are my new favourite thing. Honest. I like ’em even better than my famous lemon bars. I was going to bring these into work one day but then the Pie and I decided to eat them all ourselves. So we totally did. We even ate them for breakfast. And I don’t even feel bad about it.

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Start by chopping up about 400g fresh rhubarb into 1/2″ chunks. My stalks were super skinny and tender so I didn’t bother to peel it but if you’re working with the thicker, tougher stalks, then you might want to consider it. Plop the bits into a bowl with 1/3 cup sugar, give that a stir, and let that macerate for about 10 minutes.

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When the rhubarb bits are starting to get a little juicy, plop them into a medium-sized pot with about 1/4 cup water and cook over low heat until everything is mushy.

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Remove your rhubarb mush from the heat and allow to cool. You can purée the rhubarb at this point but it’s not necessary. Just mush it up a little more so there are no solid pieces. Depending on the colour of your rhubarb, your stewed ‘barb will be any colour from an orange-ish yellow to a deep red. Don’t worry if it’s any variation in between.

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Now we need to make a gorgeous flaky shortbread crust for these. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 9″ x 5″ baking dish with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 4oz room temperature butter, 1 cup flour, and 1/4 cup sugar. Start slow when it’s all powdery like this:

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But then it will very quickly come together into a soft dough.

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Press this into the baking dish and let it rest for 15 minutes.

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Then bake it until it’s nice and golden, about 20 minutes.

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While that’s on the go you can finish up your rhubarb goo by turning it into rhubarb curd. In a bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water or the top of a double boiler, whisk together 6 egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar and let those get nice and warm.

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Add in the stewed rhubarb a little at a time until it’s got the taste and consistency that you like. I ended up adding in all of mine.

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When you’re happy, remove it from the heat and tip in 50g butter, cut into chunks.

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Stir that until smooth – you now have rhubarb curd!

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Pour about half to two-thirds of the curd on top of the baked shortbread crust.

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Save the other curd and chuck it in your fridge to use on toast.

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Shove that back into your oven for about 10 minutes, until the curd has set.

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Let that cool completely before slicing into lots of pieces. I found it was best to keep these in the fridge as the curd likes to travel when it gets warm.

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