Looks pretty doesn’t it? Oh the hell I went through to make them! But this is why we love Martha, isn’t it? To take on the toughest baking challenges and wow the hungry crowd with our time and patience.
If you are someone looking for such a challenge, you must buy Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts written by Martha Stewart Living Magazine published by Random House of Canada right now! You will not be disappointed.
My poll on what Martha treat to make next ended in a tie between Strawberry-Rhubarb Pielets and the Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Galette. As a result, I went to my Facebook group and put a poll up there which… almost ended in another tie! One last vote came in for the Strawberry-Rhubarb Pielets and I got to work.
When I tried making Martha’s mini raspberry galettes, I did not have any rhubarb and it was a disaster. Thankfully my mother-in-law Lorraine gave me some rhubarb from her garden that she froze for me. I was happy to donate it to this cookbook review. I thawed the rhubarb, discarded the liquid and was all set to go.
To make the crust pulse 3 cups of flour, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp cold shortening and 3/4 cup of cold unsalted butter cut into pieces together until it resembles coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of ice water one tablespoon at a time into dough, pulsing until it comes together.
As usual, I had to add extra water for that to happen. This ended up being a very dry and crumbly dough even with the extra water. I divided the dough in half, flattened into 2 disks, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for at least an hour.
For the filling put 12 oz of fresh hulled strawberries that have been cut into tiny dice with five stalks of rhubarb that has been cut into tiny dice. Um, wait. Wait a second! No weight measurement for the rhubarb? Just “five stalks”? That could mean anything. I have seen rhubarb super thin and super thick. Crap. And, it had already been chopped by Lorraine!
I decided to just put it all in there and I used lemon zest and 1/4 cup of lemon juice instead of orange. I did not have any oranges and why not, I am already lost in the foodie weeds!
The next “issue”? The size of the mini-muffin tin. There is absolutely zero information about how big the muffin times are supposed to be. It does say to roll out the dough and cut 24 rounds using a 3 1/2″ round cutter.
My regular muffin tins were 3″ across so clearly I had to use something smaller, the dough would not go up the sides. I used a 3 1/2″ round cutter and put the dough into the mini muffin tin which was clearly too small because there was hardly any room for the filling.
I decided to use a smaller cutter and the dough just barely fit in my greased mini-muffin tin. I was supposed to use paper liners but where do you find mini-muffin tin liners???
I drained the filling which had macerated so much I had a ton of liquid leftover but don’t worry, I didn’t throw it away like the books instructs (tsk tsk!). I will share what I did it soon. I added some filling to each of the mini pies but far from the 2 tbsp of filling the cookbook says to add to each tartlet shell. I was left with a ton of filling which I once again promise, did not go to waste.
I brushed the edges with some egg wash and did my own version of the lattice top since four strips was just not possible. By this point I was in physical agony and could barely read the instructions any longer. I did my own kind of interpretive weaving, brushed with the eggwash and sprinkled with sugar.
You were supposed to chill these again but instead I put them in a preheated 350F oven for around 40 minutes because they were obviously much smaller than Martha’s that required 60-70 minutes.
Getting them out of the muffin tin was a total pain and I may have damage the tin getting them out. You were not supposed to let them cool completely because the fruit juices could make them stick. Even so, without the paper and them still being warm it was not easy to do!
I got this pretty mini cake stand at Cucina Moderna!
Now the good news is, these were delicious. They really did taste like a mini strawberry-rhubarb pie! Would I ever make them again? No bloody way! Now if you are really trying to knock the foodie socks off someone, maybe, just maybe you will want to make this but me? I would rather make a giant beautiful pie and divvy it up.
The crust dough was very difficult to handle. I had to let it warm up a bit or else it would just crumble apart. It did result in quite a lovely tender dough which was smart, considering these were pretty much eaten in one bite. Had it been tough, that would have proven a tactical baking mistake.
I do not mind jumping through a lot of hoops to create something special but I felt so much instruction was left out of this surprisingly complicated recipe. As a result, instead of being thrilled with a pretty and delicious baked treasure, I wanted to pull my hair out and never look at them again. So disappointing. Thankfully the end result (due to, quite frankly, my own ingenuity) was not a flavour disaster but rather, quite delicious. A tough recipe to rate but taking everything into account I can only give it three wooden spoons.