The Doyenne of Baking adds Strawberries to this custardy confection but its flavor is Rhubarb-forward.
Rhubarb, with its vibrant red stalks and uniquely tart flavor, has been a staple in culinary traditions for centuries. Botanically, Rhubarb is actually a vegetable. But it’s used in desserts so often, it’s an” honorary” fruit. Dorie Greenspan didn’t want Rhubarb’s flavor to take a backseat to its most frequent companion, Strawberries. The two ripen around the same time and the temptation is to temper the rhubarb’s bite with the sweetness of the strawberry. Greenspan wrote in her excellent “Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2018)* “I didn’t want too many strawberries. I want them for color and sweetness but not so many that they cut away too much of rhubarb’s edge or give in to the oven’s heat and go soft and watery.” Instead, this tart combines their two distinct textures in a cream and egg vanilla-flavored custard. And then in another stroke of genius, Greenspan puts it all together in a sweet dough that tastes just like shortbread. Sublime!
All About Rhubarb…
An Asian native, Rhubarb made its way to Europe in the 14th century and quickly gained popularity for its medicinal properties. However, not until the 18th century did it become a sought-after ingredient in the kitchen. Today, rhubarb is widely cultivated in many parts of the world, including North America and Europe. The most commonly used part of the plant is its long, thick stalks, which is the edible portion. The stalks are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and various antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to any diet. However, it’s important to note that the leaves of the plant are toxic and should never be consumed. Beyond its culinary uses, rhubarb has also found its place in the world of mixology. Its distinct flavor adds depth to cocktails and mocktails, providing a refreshing and unique taste experience. If you’d like to sample a Rhubarb cocktail, here are five recipes to choose from: https://www.liquor.com/articles/in-season-rhubarb/
Don’t be put off by the length of Dorie Greenspan’s two recipes to make this sensational tart.
Of all recipe writers, Dorie Greenspan is known for her meticulously detailed recipes, and there are several reasons why her recipes stand out in terms of their level of detail: 1. For Clarity and precision: Doris Greenspan understands the importance of clear and precise instructions when it comes to cooking. Her detailed recipes aim to leave no room for ambiguity, ensuring that home cooks can follow the steps with confidence and achieve consistent results. She provides specific measurements, cooking times, temperatures, and detailed descriptions of techniques to guide the reader through each recipe. 2. Thoroughness. Greenspan leaves no stone unturned. Even novice cooks can recreate her dishes. 3. Honing the recipe. She is famous for her attention to detail means home cooks can replicate her techniques and get her results in their home kitchens. So don’t be put off by length and you’ll be rewarded with perfect results.
Here are the 2 Recipes for one fabulous Rhubarb (and Strawberry) Tart. And after them, some other Greenspan classics.
Dorie Greenspan's Mostly Rhubarb Tart
A rhubarb-forward tart gets both color and sweetness from strawberries in a shortbread crust.
- 1 1/4 lbs (567 grams) rhubarb, trimmed
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) plus 1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- One 9 to 9-1/2 inch tart shell made from Sweet Tart Dough (Recipe follows) partially baked and cooled
- 12 strawberries (fewer if they are very large) hulled and halved lengthwise
- Lightly whipped cream or creme fraiche for serving (Optional)
- Strawberries, hulled cut and lightly tossed with a little sugar, for serving (optional)
- WORKING AHEAD
- The rhubarb must be macerated in the sugar for at least 30 minutes, and it can sit for up to 2 hours.
- Step 1 Cut the rhubarb into slices about 1/2 inch thick. (If you’ve got fat stalks, halve them the long way first and then slice.) You should end up with about 3 cups of rhubarb. Put the pieces in a bowl, stir in the 1/2 cup sugar, and let sit, stirring now and then, for about 30 minutes. You want a syrup to form. (You can macerate the rhubarb for up to 2 hours.)
- Step 2 When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Step 3 Drain the rhubarb, serving the syrup.
- Step 4 Whisk the heavy cream, the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, the egg, and the egg yolk until blended. Stir in the vanilla and the rhubarb syrup.
- Step 5 Place the tart shell on the baking sheet and spoon in the rhubarb, nudging it so that it covers the bottom. Pour the custard over the rhubarb (it should be just enough to fill the shell with a little room to spare
- Step 6 if you think you’ve got too much and that it might bake over the sides of the shell, hold back whatever is necessary) Add the strawberries, arranging them so that they speckle the top evenly.
- Step 7 Bake the tart for 50 to 60 minutes (cover the edges of the crust if it starts to brown too deeply), until the custard has risen slightly but evenly and a tester inserted close to the center of the tart comes out clean. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the tart cool to just slightly warm or room temperature.
- Step 8 Serve the tart plain, with whipped cream, or with whipped cream and berries.
- Step 9 STORING: The tart is really best served soon after it’s baked but you can keep it for several hours at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers. They won’t be as luxurious as just-baked but they’ll still be satisfying.
Recipe for Sweet Tart Dough from Dorie Greenspan
This dough is like shortbread. It's crisp, flavorful and rich--in other words everything a tart crust should be.
- 1 1/2 cups (204 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons
- 4 1/2 ounces
- 128 grams) of very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- Step 1 Put the flour, both of the sugars, the salt and lemon zest, if you’re using it, in a food processor and pulse to blend. Open the machine, drop in the butter, scatter the pieces over the mixture, and start to pulse. You want to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you’ve got pieces of all sizes, some as small as oatmeal flakes and some more like baby peas. For a while, the mixture will look like breadcrumbs, but just keep working in long pulses— you might need 20, maybe even more — and scrape the bowl often and you’ll get there.
- Step 2 Stir the vanilla, if you’re using it, into the yolk and add the mixture in 3 additions, pulsing after each. Continue to pulse until the dough forms moist curds and clumps and holds together when pinched (see above, “the liquid”.) Turn it out onto a work surface, knead it into a compact ball, flatten it into a disk, and sandwich it between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Step 3 Roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch round. If it’s cold enough, fit it into a lightly buttered 9- to 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom or a pie pan, prick the bottom with a fork (or don’t. See above), and trim the top even with the pan’s rim (or however you like to finish the edges). If it’s not cold, chill it until it’s workable, and then proceed. (The wrapped dough will hold in the fridge for up to 3 days.)
- Step 4 Once it’s in the pan, refrigerate or freeze (my preference) for at least 1 hour (longer is better) before baking.
- Step 5 GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees F. Place the pan on a baking sheet, fit a piece of buttered parchment or foil against the crust (buttered side down), and fill with dried beans or rice (see above).
- Step 6 TO PARTIALLY BAKE: Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the paper or foil and weights and bake for about 4 more minutes—you want the crust to be firm, but it doesn’t need to take on much color.
- Step 7 TO FULLY BAKE: Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the paper or foil and weights and bake for 7 to 10 minutes more, or until it is firm and golden brown.
- Step 8 Transfer the crust to a rack and let cool.
- Step 9 STORING: The rolled-out crust or the unbaked tart shell can be wrapped well and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. There’s no need to thaw before baking. You can also freeze the baked crust (in the pan) for up to 2 months.
- Step 10
*Here’s a link to Amazon where you can buy “Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook” https://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Dorie-Way-I-Cook/dp/0544826981/ref=sr_1_1?crid=22VBQ0BTCD8HI&keywords=everyday+dorie+cookbook&qid=1686581874&sprefix=Everyday+Dorie%2Caps%2C91&sr=8-1