Serves: Yields 16 tartlets
8 ounces thawed shredded phyllo dough
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing muffin cups
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound mascarpone (about 2 cups)
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
1 pint (16 ounces) strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters lengthwise
4 cups (about 1-½ pounds) fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
1-¼ cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-½ tablespoons cornstarch
Procedures:Shredded phyllo dough, or kataifi, is sold next to phyllo sheets in the freezer section of specialty markets and Middle Eastern groceries. It’s great for making these tartlet shells. You can bake the shells first thing in the morning and make the mascarpone filling, and assemble the tarts just before your brunch guests arrive.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the lower third. Lightly coat 16 muffin cups with the additional melted butter. Place the phyllo in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to gently separate the strands, discarding any hard pieces or clumps of dough that refuse to separate. Pour melted butter over the phyllo and sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. Toss gently with your hands until the phyllo is evenly coated with the butter and sugar.
Divide the buttered phyllo into 16 equal portions. Press 1 portion into each buttered muffin cup. Press firmly on the phyllo to compact the pastry to a ¼-inch thickness and mold it to the bottom and sides of the cups to make room for the filling. Bake the phyllo shells for 17 to 20 minutes, until the edges and bottoms are golden brown. The centers will still be light, but will crisp upon cooling. If the entire shell is golden brown, the phyllo will taste bitter. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to prepare the mascarpone filling, whisk together mascarpone, powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and salt. Set aside.
To prepare rhubarb glaze, place rhubarb, sugar, 2/3 cup water, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until rhubarb is tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and strain rhubarb mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to remove as much liquid as possible. Pour strained rhubarb mixture into a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Mix cornstarch with remaining 2 tablespoons water to dissolve. When rhubarb mixture boils, whisk in cornstarch mixture and cook until mixture is thick and shiny, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and allow glaze to cool.
Transfer the phyllo shells to a rimmed baking sheet. Place a generous spoonful of mascarpone filling in the center of each tartlet shell, mounding it slightly. Set 6 to 8 strawberry quarters into the mascarpone filling in the center of each tartlet, hulled side down and tips meeting in the center. Brush strawberries with rhubarb glaze and serve.