we all bring something to the table. what are our gifts? what of ourselves do we decide to grow and then share? what love language do we speak? do we learn to speak another’s? how well do we listen?
my husband learned years ago that i love flowers. in the beginning he would order elaborate flower arrangements (full to overflowing) and have them delivered to the door. then, somewhere along the line, he learned i like simple, and all of one thing. and now, he brings me bundles wrapped in paper, wound with string, carried in his own man arms. and sometimes, after days away, blooms are there, welcoming me home again.
if you’ve been with me awhile, you’ve heard of my fear of pie. (more truly, it was fear of a colossal-y failed crust.) i’ve done truly brave things in my life (i’ll even cop to a “reckless” act or two) but pie crust? why and how this fear (irrational to begin with) grew to be such a beast, you might guess. but for years i steered clear of the rolling pin. then, only fairly recently, i decided to stand toe to toe with that tiger, stare unflinching into his golden eyes.
that tiger walks beside me now, purring like a kitten. and finally (and this is reason enough to take on a tiger) i can make my love his apple pie.
Apple Rhubarb Tart
I’ve shared my recipe for a tart shell in an earlier post. (see French Lemon Tart if you want to be tempted!) I’ll include the crust recipe here too, at the end of the post. I’d like to be humble about this, but after years of being humble, to finally be proud seems like something worthy of sharing. So here’s the un-softened, un-humble truth. This crust is a.w.e.s.o.m.e.
A word about the filling: I grew up eating and loving rhubarb. To me, it’s a thing of spring. So as a base for this pie is a thick rhubarb “compote” of sorts – the liquid cooked out of it and nothing but the essence of the fruit remaining, lightly sweetened, imbued with the scented seeds from a vanilla pod and touched with a hint of cardamon. Apples, rolled in melted butter and brown sugar twirl across the top. Serve as is, warm from the oven, with or without ice-cream or crème fraîche. Or serve it chilled. It’s not too sweet for brunch or tea.
- 1 pound rhubarb stalks
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar or muscavado
- 1/3 vanilla bean
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 apples – Granny Smith or Pink Lady are good (or any other apple that will hold its shape while cooking)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar or muscavado
Wash the rhubarb stalks. Split in half lengthwise, then cut into pieces about 1/2-inch or smaller. Put in a medium-size heavy pot. Split the piece of vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, adding both the pod and seeds to the pot. Drop in the brown sugar and cardamom.
Place the lid on the pot and cook over low heat for 15 minutes or until saucy. (No water in this compote – the low heat will encourage the rhubarb to release its own moisture.)