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Spring has Sprung

I hate to admit it but I’ve been a bit of a pest at my local grocery store lately. The Little Green Grocer in Stratford carries all of the best local and seasonal sourced food…..but it just didn’t come fast enough for me this year. Where’s the rhubarb? When will you have asparagus? I demanded impatiently the last few weeks. No ramps!? Why did I bother moving to the country if I can’t be the first to get my hands on seasonal produce?

And then Hallelujah, Mother Nature delivered big time. This past Friday, when I walked in to the store, the staff were excitedly unpacking gorgeous hot pink stalks of rhubarb, seemingly endless bunches of tender first batch asparagus, glistening fiddleheads and even the first of the local organic radishes. Woo Hoo!!

Over the next few weeks I am going to introduce you to some of my favourite recipes using the best of spring - all wrapped up and baked with Perfect Pastry of course. Now when I say recipes, they are more like guidelines for what to do with your Perfect Pastry. Ingredients, tips and ideas that you can play with and make your own.

Let’s start with a delightful and equally easy and show stopping rhubarb crostata.

A crostata is a rustic single crust pie. Fruit filling is piled in the center of a rolled out piece of pastry dough. The outer edges of the dough are turned over to create a rim, and it’s baked on a tray. This is a great dessert to make if you have leftover pastry as the crostata can be made any size. It’s spectacular brought to the table with scoops of vanilla ice cream piled right on top. This is peasant food at it’s best - simple yet sophisticated…it’s Italian after all!

1 package Perfect Shortcrust Pastry

Rhubarb about a pound – washed and chopped. I like mine in little batons, but chop it fine or keep it long

½ - ¾ cup sugar

¼ c flour to keep it from running

I added a tablespoon or rose syrup to mine but you could add vanilla, lemon or orange zest or let the fruit shine all on it’s own

Roll out the pastry

Toss rhubarb with remaining ingredients

Pile fruit in the center of pastry

Fold pastry over to create a rim around the fruit

Bake at 375-400 until pastry is brown and fruit bubbling about 30 minutes

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