April 17, 2013

Spring is the perfect time to begin experimenting with seasonal ingredients. Using fresh, flavorful produce is one of the best skills you’ll gain as you learn to cook, whether you are making appetizers, entrees or even dessert.

To help ring in spring, try your hand at the Food Network’s recipe for a delicious strawberry-rhubarb tart:

Pick up these ingredients:
For the glaze:
1 tablespoon water, very hot
1 tablespoon currant jelly
Confectioners sugar
Whipped cream
For the tart:
2 cups strawberries
1 cup rhubarb, sliced
1 8-ounce sheet puff pastry, thawed
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rhubarb is in season in the spring.

Rhubarb is in season in the spring.

Then follow these steps:
1. Place a rack in the center of your oven then preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Place the puff pastry on a cutting board and roll into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle. From the long side, cut off two ¾-inch wide strips, then slice the rest of the pastry into a 13 x 5-inch rectangle and lay it down on the baking sheet.
4. On each long side, brush a ¾-inch section with water and cover with the strip of puff pastry, using your fingers to press them gently together. Then, brush the tops of the strips with milk, making sure that it does not drip down the sides of the tart.
5. Use a fork to pierce the base of the tart repeatedly, then line with aluminum foil (taking care not to cover the strips). Weigh down the foil with pie weights or dried beans so that it does not puff up in the oven.
6. With a paring knife, flute the tart’s outer edges by making small cuts one inch apart.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is set. Remove the foil and weights/beans and bake for another 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool.
8. Cut strawberries lengthwise.
9. Place strawberry trimmings, rhubarb, sugar and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until the mixture has the consistency of jam. This should take about 15 minutes.
10. Add butter to the pan and puree with an immersion blender until it becomes smooth. Allow it to cool before moving on.
11. Assemble the tart by spreading a layer of the jam into the pastry shell and arranging strawberries into a pattern on top.
12. Make the glaze by stirring the jelly and hot water together until smooth. Brush over the strawberries, then dust with confectioners sugar and top with whipped cream for serving.