By (kind of) Popular Demand

Rhubarb Poptarts with Rye Pastry and Cardamom Glaze

cardamom glaze

I had no intention of posting this recipe here—one that I quite literally just threw together little-by-little over the course of a couple of evenings (I am so not a weekday baker), hoping that it would work for a breakfast potluck we were having at work. I baked them off the morning of and piled the surprisingly substantial tarts, which were not even done cooling, in a Tupperware container that I left uncovered so they wouldn’t steam and turn from crisp to mushy. I ran to work in half the time it usually takes me, darting through the streets of my town with an open box of warm pastries. It couldn’t have looked as strange as that time I stuffed the remnants of a certain 3-layer cream cake into a bright blue cold-keeper bag and ran it around town in 90-degree weather. But it was still ridiculous. When I arrived, I threw spoonfuls of glaze messily onto just cooled-tarts and set them down.

These are simple tarts, elevated perhaps because they’re encased in my very favorite pastry, whose nuttiness is a warm counterpoint to the clarifying tang of the simple rhubarb filling. But they were very well-loved (in fact there are still shards of their flaky, flaky layers gracing corners of our office), so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case you haven’t had your fill of the stalks yet (or they’re the only thing in your garden). And I’ll take any excuse to get more rhubarb on the blog. I just love the stuff.

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Pies & Tarts

new-school banana cream tart


I cook for fun, I cook to eat, I cook to discover, but baking makes me feel something. A loaf’s slow rise helps me value simplicity and time, a multi-layered torte grounds me in the discipline it requires. In my heart, though, I am a baker of pies and tarts, as simple as they are in comparison. If I owned a bakery, I would be tempted to limit its offerings to these two things. The pie makes everyone smile. The tart is a canvass for combining classic flavor combinations or experimenting with new ones.

When I read the words of other pie enthusiasts, I usually find adorable stories about “Grandma’s Strawberry-Rhubarb” or “Mom’s Custard Pie.” I cannot reference any such history. In fact, while I have plenty of food memories, they don’t come from a long line of anything in my family, really. My grandmother doesn’t deal with crusts. My grandfather shares my love of pie – eating it, not making it. My mother stopped baking when I started and at that it was always just quickbreads and cookies. And my father can barely tell torte from tart from taco. Oh, and half my family lives 6,000 miles away, across ocean and continent.

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Goodbye, Love

chocolate-pistachio tart


I cannot say that I’m a “chocoholic.”

I eat chocolate in some way, shape, or form everyday. I’m known to top off my lunches with a small chocolate treat. At night, a square of 85% dark soothes my stomach after a day’s eating. I find the taste of straight dark chocolate to be divine — toe-curling, even — in its rich, fruity complexity. I love that perfectly tempered, snappy milk chocolate melts into creamy submission once it touches your lips. It’s difficult to savor; it’s gone in an instant. And sure, some white “chocolate” can be cloying on its own, but its high cocoa butter content makes it a luxurious pairing with more piquant ingredients.

But, no, I’m not a “chocoholic.”
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