I bought more rhubarb last week, because… Rhubarb, duh. May is basically rhubarb month in my kitchen. What better way to use this amazing spring vegetable than tucked into a flaky pastry crust with strawberries and almond frangipane??? Sounds good, right? Yes, you want to get on board this rhubarb train, woooo woooo.
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I’ve been wanting to make a vegan frangipane tart for while and tart rhubarb is the perfect match for this sweet almond concoction. Frangipane is traditionally made with almond paste, mixed with flour, butter, sugar and eggs and used in pastries similarly to pastry cream. Its a strong sweet almond flavor that is similar to marzipan. This vegan version uses almond meal and extract, flour, a little non-dairy milk and baking powder to replace the leavening action from the eggs. I love the flavor of almond and it goes so well with rhubarb and strawberries. You’re going to love it in this galette.
Tips for Flaky Vegan Pastry
I get asked this a lot, but no, you don’t have to use ice cold ingredients to make vegan pastry dough nor chill it before rolling it out. That’s all done because dairy butter melts so quickly. Vegan butter substitutes like Earth Balance don’t melt so quickly. I’ve tried chilling the dough before and it is actually much harder to roll out and will crack more easily. That said if you’re not going to use the dough right away than wrap and refrigerate it for up to several days beforehand. Let it sit at room temp, still wrapped, for about 15 minutes before rolling it out.
The amount of water you’ll need will vary depending on the season, weather and humidity of the day. That’s why it’s always best to add the water a little at a time and mix it thoroughly after each addition. Using your hands to mix will give you a better idea of when the dough is ready. It should just start to come together and hold together when squeezed. You should be able to form it into a disc without cracks. If it’s cracking on you then it needs a tiny bit more water. It’s also good to note that whole grain flours will cause the dough to crack. I like using whole grain flours but will only add a small amount when making pastry dough. You can play around with amounts, but I would suggest replacing 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour.
I love adding herbs and flavors to pastry dough. Thyme is a favorite for savory and sweet pastries and it goes really well with strawberries. Lemon zest is always a nice addition as well. You can leave them out easily, though, if you prefer.
The flavors of tart spring rhubarb, sweet strawberries, aromatic almond and notes of vanilla, lemon and thyme come together beautifully to create these late spring inspired galettes. May brings so much inspiration for me in the kitchen. All of the tree blossoms are bursting and edible flowers are starting to pop. This flow of spring into summer really gets my creative juices bubbling and makes me so excited for summer produce ahead. How about you? What produce are you excited for this season and what have you been making in May? Dreaming up my next rhubarb creation…