Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Simple Rhubarb Tart

Though my last rhubarb creation disguised essentially disguised it altogether, rhubarb stalks are real purty. Springy pastel pinks and greens, with those lipstick red outer layers that turn into ribbons when you strip them off. I did, however, tell most of my rhubarb tales in that last post, and in fact, this simple rhubarb tart was made with leftovers from that unrecognizably-rhubarb meringue.

I saw this recipe on Desserts for Breakfast, whose treats I've been lovin' lately, and thought it would be a good use of those those rectangular tart pans I'd been neglecting (aside from these ginger-lemon and bourbon-orange tarts and a goat cheese cranberry tart at Kickasserole). I sliced the rhubarb very thin--in quarters at least, to show off the gradations of those spring colors. So beautiful, I couldn't stop taking pictures of it.

Simple Rhubarb Tart
Adapted from Desserts for Breakfast
Makes 2 rectangular tarts (mine are 13.75 X 4.25 inches)

Ingredients
For crust (you could also use the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust recipe, halved):
1 c. pecans, roasted  
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour  
2 tsp. baking powder  
9 Tblsp. butter  
1 egg  
1 egg yolk  
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used vanilla-bourbon)  
zest of one small orange (I used a clementine)

For filling:
4 Tblsp. flour
2 Tblsp. brown sugar
2 vanilla beans (I didn't have any on hand, so I went without)
3 rhubarb stalks
2 Tblsp. Turbinado sugar

For orange-honey whipped cream:
1/2 c. crème fraiche
1 Tblsp. heavy whipping cream
zest of 1 small orange
1 Tblsp. honey (can adjust to taste)

Directions
1. Combine roasted pecans, flour, sugar, and baking powder in a food processor and pulse until pecans are finely ground. Add cold butter chunks to the pecan mixture and process until mix is the size of small peas. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and orange zest and pulse just until dough begins to form. Remove pastry dough from the food processor and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour and up to 1 day.

2. After at least one hour, remove dough from fridge and preheat oven to 425. Roll out the dough (this can be a little difficult, as it will be slightly crumbly), but you can also just press it into the bottom and sides of each floured and greased rectangular tart pan. The bottom crust should be slightly thicker than the sides. Place both crusts in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare your filling. Combine flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise (if using) and scrape seeds into the flour mixture. Combine. Divide mixture in half and sprinkle and spread evenly over each crust. Split each rhubarb stalk lengthwise into quarters. Trim each slice to just slightly smaller than the width of the tart (I used the bottom of the tart pan as a guide). Line rhubarb slices on the flour mixture and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 10-12 minutes more, until crust is dark brown and rhubarb is cooked through and soft. Remove from oven and let cool.

5. In a medium mixing bowl, mix crème fraiche, whipping cream, orange zest and honey, beating until well combined and medium peaks form. Serve rhubarb tart with a generous dollop of whipped cream atop! 


The result was a delicate, easy and delicious tart that really lets the vegetable (or is it fruit?) do the talkin'--and that's pretty much my favorite kind of dessert. Put a dollop of orange-honey whipped cream on top, and you've got a winner.

I have a few stalks of rhubarb left in the fridge, so I may just whip up another one of these in the next few days. My dad is coming to town for my birthday tomorrow, and though I told him there would be cake, he's bemoaning the fact that there will be no pie. Since he's making the trip to D.C. all the way from Indiana to celebrate and shower me with gifts (a new camera!!), I just might have to appease him.

The next day, I'm headed up to my friend's farm in the Hudson Valley. A few years ago, she and I planted some rhubarb bushes, which just might be fruiting now. Perhaps she'll send me back with some to restock my rhubarb stores for more creations--I've still got some jam to make.

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