This Hibiscus Rhubarb and Spring Strawberry tart gets it luscious color from soaking the rhubarb in a concentrated hibiscus tea concoction. If you haven’t had hibiscus tea, it is the most intense color of a deep red pink, with a tarty citrus flavor to match. Rhubarb, colored and flavored with hibiscus is combined with sweet strawberry in a nice flaky crust. The taste is as fresh as it looks and made more delicious with a dollap of ice cream or whip cream.
Rhubarb can range in shade from a nice ruby red to a dark celery green. In fact, rhubarb reminds me of celery. The color doesn’t seem to alter the flavor, but for this photographer, i am determined to hold onto the red color of rhubarb. Rhubarb that is mingling with strawberries should be red.
I have to admit that in some ways, I was a little more after a particular hue with this recipe than flavor. Well, that's no way for a cook to talk- but, then again, most of my creations do involve a camera at some point. But, intensifying the color of rhubarb with magenta tea, well yes, colored the rhubarb but the hibiscus added a citrusy layer of tartness that was really nice. And blended perfectly with the strawberries and rhubarb.
Strawberries are the perfect spring fruit. They start showing up at our local markets in late May and early June. Delicately plump and ruby red, sugary sweet with an acid tanginess- a ripe strawberry can taste like a velvet flower. Rhubarb on the other hand, is tart and tangy, bitter even and unless they are cooked, their tartness and their texture is kind of off-putting. Most recipes with rhubarb include lots of sugar and I often find that i taste more sugar than rhubarb.
This recipe solves so many problems. Gone is the drab color of cooked rhubarb! Gone is the sugary sweetness of tart gone bad! Hello to a wonderfully rich ruby red color. Tart, sweet and full of flavor, this tart is a winner!
The hibiscus tea concentration is simply hibiscus tea leaves with a bit of sugar added. The tea is warm, but no longer boiling, so it won't cook the fruit. The fruit is soaked in the tea for 10 minutes, then removed. The rhubarb is still firm and takes on the rich color of the hibiscus tea; magenta red.
I used a simple standard pie crust recipe from Linda's cookbook My Sweet Kitchen, and it was flaky and flavorful. It's easy to prepare too. But you can use your favorite pie dough recipe for this tart. Whatever recipe you use, remember to pre-bake the empty tart shell for about 10 minutes until the edges are barely golden. This helps to keep your crust flaky.
Hibiscus Rhubarb and Spring Strawberry Tart
- pie dough (your favorite recipe)
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- 2 cups sliced rhubarb into 1/2 inch dice
- 2 T dried hibiscus flowers
- 1/2 cup natural sugar divided
- 1/4 cup tapioca
- 2 tsp orange juice
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
Your favorite pie dough recipe rolled out flat and placed into a tart pan
Chill the dough 30 minutes. If you are using a recipe that calls for shortening, place the tart pan with the crust in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Chilling the dough makes the crust flaky and helps it to not shrink. Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork.
Line the crust with a layer of aluminum foil, or parchment paper. Be sure to extend the foil or paper partly up the sides of the tart. Fill the tart with dried beans or weights.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake until the edges of the crust start to turn a golden brown. About 10 minutes, but not much more. You aren't trying to bake the crust, just solidify the bottom.
Remove the tart crust from the oven. Gently lift the foil or parchment out of the tart shell. Discard the dried beans (if you are using them).
- Prepare your filling while the crust cools.
In a small saucepan heat 1 1/4 cups of water to boiling. Turn off the heat and add 1/4 cup of the sugar to the saucepan. Swirl the water until the sugar dissolves then add the hibiscus flowers to the hot water. Steep the hibiscus for 10 minutes. Remove from the small saucepan and pour into a medium bowl.
Add the sliced rhubarb to the hibiscus water. Steep the rhubarb for approximately 10 minutes. Pour off the tea. but keep the tea concoction. If desired, you can make a nice syrup from the hibiscus tea by adding an additional 1/4 cup of sugar and boiling until the volume reduces by 50%- about 20 minutes.
Combine the rhubarb with the sliced strawberries, the tapioca, the orange juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Stir well and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Pour the fruit into the cooled pie shell and pop it into the oven. Bake for one hour or until the juices from the tart look to have jelled. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. If you made a syrup from the hibiscus tea, you can drizzle the syrup directly onto the tart, or on top of your ice cream. It's delicious! Sweet, tart and full of that rhubarby citrusy taste! Enjoy!
The cherry trees are blooming now. Make sure that you notice their beautifully delicate blossoms. Before you know it, they'll be gone and all that will be left will be cherries!!