Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Pie with Chocolate Shortbread






It's the season for strawberry and rhubarb, is it not?

And pink.  In the spring, I'm tired of wearing black and grey leggings all winter long, and I love the feminine softness of pale pink, the color of cherry blossoms.










To make the silky smooth cream filling flavored with fresh strawberries and rhubarb, I cooked the fruit to soften the rhubarb and deepen the flavor of the spices, and then pureed it smooth in the blender.  After chilling, the vibrantly colored fruit sauce was thick enough to incorporate into the filling.

After whipping the fruit sauce with cream cheese and vanilla, I added a generous pour of heavy cream and whipped it until it was light, fluffy and mousse-like.

If clouds could be eaten, this one tasted like strawberry and rhubarb.










Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Pie with Chocolate Shortbread
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Chocolate Shortbread:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Filling:
  • 1/4 pound rhubarb, diced
  • 1/4 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • fresh berries


Crust:
In a food processor pulse the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt a few times to combine.  With the processor running, add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, just until moistened and crumbly.  Add the yolk and pulse a few times to incorporate.  The mixture should resemble moist cornmeal.

Spray a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom with non-stick spray.  Pile the dough crumbs into the pan, and spread out to the edge.  Firmly press down against the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a piece of foil with non-stick spray and place the foil, greased side down, against the frozen crust, fitting it closely to the crust.  Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil and bake crust, uncovered, for an additional 12 minutes.  Set pan in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Rhubarb Cream Filling:
In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, then simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.  Scrape mixture into a blender and puree until very smooth.  Refrigerate the rhubarb strawberry sauce until well chilled.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the chilled fruit sauce with the cream cheese and vanilla until smooth.  Slowly drizzle in the cream and beat on high speed until smooth, fluffy and thick.  Spread the filling into the cooled crust, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours to set up.  Garnish with berries, if you like.

Yields 8-12 servings

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen