I am writing this post with extreme jubilation. Or perhaps it's just the after effects of pure relief. I had an intensely nightmarish occurrence happen to me last week. My computer crashed. Upon updating the software on my laptop, only after I was prompted to, the only activity I could get out of it was a blank, white screen. After doing a little research, I quickly learned that this screen has been maliciously dubbed "the white screen of death." My heart sank. My stomach dropped. I was suddenly unable to swallow past the lump in my throat. And a single tear ran down my cheek (followed shortly by an unstoppable river). All of my photos, music, recipes and meticulously crafted spreadsheets (oh yeah, in case you didn't know, I'm OCD- it's unofficially diagnosed, but painfully apparent- I like to think of it as "super-duper-organized"). Basically my whole life was digitally saved and compressed onto this one, tiny little laptop.
I suddenly felt like Carrie Bradshaw. Everyone started asking me if I had "backed-up." To which I would reply with a snarl. Backing-up had never occurred to me, even though I had seen that particular episode where Carrie's computer crashes and she loses everything she had ever written. How could I be so naive? So before I had the chance to take my laptop into the Apple store and receive it's official sentence, I mourned the death that I was certain had befell my computer. This is the point where my dad, mom, and brother would all tell me I was over reacting. That I was being a drama queen (like I've never heard that before, ha). I didn't care. I felt I had the right to act irrational, because for all I knew my computer was dead and all my memories and work were buried among the intangible space along with it.
I needed to take my mind off the loss. I needed something to distract me from the harrowing thoughts of what was to become of my computer. Ahh, yes. A tart of some kind. The only suitable option for this sort of occasion, because nothing calms the nerves quite like a flaky pie crust does. I had been itching to make a free form tart anyways, so this seemed like as good a time as any. I rushed to the grocery store, grabbed what I am certain was the last of the season's rhubarb, and headed home to bake the tension out of me. I wasn't in the mood to plan or be painstakingly precise, so I threw together a fruit filling concoction, tweaking here and there upon tasting, and placed it in the oven. The result was surprisingly good, especially considering my state of mind and this spontaneous style of baking that I am unaccustomed to. The galette did help to alleviate the stress of the evening and I even managed to get some sleep that night. Perhaps, it even served as a little good luck charm, because, despite the "white screen of death," the Apple geniuses were able to recover all of my files. So maybe I did over react just a tad, sobbing at what would now be a non-loss of all my photos, music, recipes, and meticulously crafted spreadsheets. But I learned a valuable lesson. You better believe I bought myself an external hard drive that day, and now I know to make a habit of backing-up. In fact, I think I might go do that right now.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Galette
by Karlie Kiser
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 medium lemon, zested
1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb, about 1/2 pound
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, divided
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, divided
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cornstarch, divided
2 tbsp uncooked, quick cooking tapioca, ground fine in a spice mill, divided
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp chopped mint
about 6 tbsp toasted, sliced almonds
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
2 tbsp turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
4 oz crème fraîche
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1. For crust: combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a food processor (or large mixing bowl). Add butter and pulse (or rub in with fingers if using traditional method) to combine until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
2. Add the egg yolk and ice water (1 tbsp at a time) and pulse (or again, work into the mixture with your hands) just until combined. (Do not let the dough form a ball in the food processor, pulse just until the mixture comes together.) There should be enough moisture in the dough so that it binds together without being too wet or sticky. If it's still crumbly, add a little more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
3. Pour the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and bring together forming a ball. Pat into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least one hour.
4. After the dough is sufficiently chilled, separate into four equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper, place dough circles on top, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. In the meantime, combine the rhubarb, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt, 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon ground tapioca in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside and let stand for 30 minutes.
6. In another mixing bowl, combine the strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, mint, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon ground tapioca. Set aside and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 350º F.
7. Remove the dough rounds from the fridge. Working one at a time, sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted almonds on center of dough round, leaving a 1-inch border. Place a mound of rhubarb (about 2 spoonfuls) in the center of crust. Layer strawberry slices in an overlapping circle around the mound of rhubarb, making sure to leave the 1-inch border of dough. Repeat on remaining dough rounds. You should have strawberries left over. Reserve for later use.
8. Beat the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water together to make an egg wash. Brush the border of each dough round with egg wash. Bring the edge of crust over onto the filling, leaving the fruit exposed in the center. Gently fold and crimp the dough to seal any cracks. Repeat on each galette.
9. With the remaining strawberry slices, evenly divide and layer on top of other exposed strawberries on each galette. Combine any strawberry and rhubarb juice remaining at bottom of mixing bowls. Evenly distribute juices among each galette, spooning onto the center of each. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes.
10. Brush the edges of each crust with remaining egg wash. Sprinkle each crust with about 1/2 tablespoon turbinado sugar. Dot each galette with the small pieces of butter. Place the galettes (still on baking sheet) on the center rack of oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool to room temperature and, if desired, serve with crème fraîche sweetened with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Enjoy!
Makes 4 mini galettes, about 5-inches in diameter
*This recipe might have a lot of steps and sound complicated, but I promise you it is easy, breezy! I just wanted the recipe to be as detailed as possible so as to avoid any confusion for novice bakers.