Smashed Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart

I did it, I did it! I am jumping from joy; my heart has grown ten times bigger. I can’t stop bragging. I just tried and I did it! All weekend I’ve been strutting around with a puffed up chest because I did it and I’m pretty darn proud of myself. It just amazes me that I made a pie crust, homemade with NO recipe, NO measuring. Some of you expert bakers/pie makers are probably scaffolding at me for being so darn tooting amazed at myself, but for me I know this was a mile marker.

I’ve lamented before about not being a baker, all that measuring, mixing, waiting…the precision. Not. For. Me. Oh I can bake, as in I could follow a recipe but it just wasn’t my schtick so to speak. Even with a recipe, pie crusts have been elusive to me, too crumbly to soft. Actually I usually purchase frozen or refrigerator crust and call it good. If the filling is good than it’s good enough.

This all came about because of a smashed rhubarb plant.



That’s right, smashed, squashed, stepped on, stomped on or run over, someone did a number on my rhubarb. Probably the same person who stole my one and only sunflower…


I didn’t discover my poor rhubarb until just before we were leaving to go to the cabin. I went to water it and couldn’t believe what I found. It saddens my little gardener heart. It was a new plant this year that I raised from just a wee baby. And it was happy with its home near the compost bins (a very good home for plants I should think). Oh the cruelty of the world. I quickly gathered myself together and decided to make the best of my situation and harvest the rhubarb and make something from it. I cut the damaged stalks, raced into the house and grabbed some lard, butter and a partial bag of frozen strawberries, threw them in the cooler and took off for the cabin.

Up at the cabin, there’s no library of cookbooks (although I do have a few) and no internet to browse or even cell service to call anyone. If you don’t come prepared, well you just make do, so I did.

Smashed Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart

This is my ‘oven’, it’s propane and only heats from the bottom. It sits on a little cart this is my ‘pantry’ (you see it’s stocked with cabin essentials like canned beans, chili and SPAM). It’s also tiny, no turkeys get cooked in there! I had, on the fly, decided to make some kind of pie and actually settled for a tart. I grabbed my ingredients and then realized that my cookbooks were upstairs, waaay upstairs. Up a ladder into an attic type upstairs and I am extremely laaazy, so I decided to wing it.

Smashed Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart

I dumped flour into a bowl, about 1 ½ cups, I cut off a piece of lard and some butter, maybe two tablespoons each and sprinkled a little salt over it. I got out two butter knives and cut the cold lard and butter into the flour until it resembled little peas. I dug my hand into the mixture feeling it, making sure that a pinch rubbed between my fingers would stick together. I added a splash of white vinegar, perhaps a tablespoon and then grabbed the coldest water I had which was carbonated water. Splash, mix, splash mix, splash mix until the dough came together but still had some crumbly bits in the bowl. I wrapped up the dough and refrigerated it and waited for hours.

Smashed Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart

Naturally self-doubt crept into my mind; really I probably should have just gone upstairs and grabbed a cookbook. Really, most of the time my crust doesn’t come out great even with a recipe. But what is done is done. I took out my dough, floured my counter and rolled out my dough. And it rolled beautifully and I could see the little flecks of lard and butter. My hopes began to rise; my spirit was already starting to soar. Into the tart dish and into the oven. It baked around 400°F, I checked it every 5 minutes and rotated it, and for the last 5 moved up a rack. The bottom crisped nicely, the top a little pale due to the lack of heat from above, but viola my pie crust was done.

I filled it with a mixture of rhubarb, the frozen strawberries, orange zest and juice and a little sugar combo that I cooked stove top and let cool. And then I waited for McGyver to return from bow hunting. Would you believe that I was afraid to try it, just not ready? Everything looked right about it, but I just wasn’t ready to find out, if I indeed, did it.


Smashed Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart

When McGyver returned he was ready for a cup of coffee and a piece of tart. I served it up with a dollop of honey yogurt. He was delighted, he raved, and mmmm, and “babe, this is sooo good”. Convinced I had to try some, with tea please. And yes I did it; somehow I managed a perfectly flaky crust with good flavor and NO Recipe.

Smashed Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart

My chest is puffed up, I am proud. Now, if I can only do it again…

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9 Responses to Smashed Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart

  1. Veronica September 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Yay Rhonda! You go girl! So proud of you. 🙂

    • Giggles September 23, 2013 at 7:06 am #

      Thanks Veronica, it’s weird how something like that can make you so happy.

  2. Karen September 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Oh, you’ll do it again 🙂 Congrats! Your poor rhubarb and sunflower… I don’t know why people have to do things like that!!

    • Giggles September 23, 2013 at 7:05 am #

      Karen, I hope you are right, that’ll I do it again. Maybe I’ve got the feel for it now. I know, seriously why destroy pretty plants?

  3. Debra September 23, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    I hate to make pie crusts, too. Sorry about your rhubarb. I am having difficulties growing this stuff myself. What kind of culprit smashes a defenseless rhubarb? Love your tea kettle!

    • Giggles September 23, 2013 at 7:03 am #

      Why is such a simple ingredient thing so hard to make? I know, who would want to hurt a poor rhubarb, there’s haters every where. I love my tea kettle too, just love copper!

  4. gloria September 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    I really love this I love zucchinis!
    (Im sure I let a coment but anyway I make again :)))

  5. uk voucher codes September 27, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Looks interesting, I’ll try this recipe soon 🙂

  6. Kitchen Butterfly October 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Don’t worry about doing it again. Celebrate the fact that you’ve done it once. The rest will follow…….. There are ‘ratios’ out there so find one, commit it to memory and then you can always scale it

    So much for saying not to worry….