May 22, 2017

Rhubarb Almond Tart

Spring had a late start this year, but I think we finally made it. The farmer’s market on my way to work every Tuesday finally opened and I couldn’t resist the rosy bunches of rhubarb. In fact, I actually turned around about 50 metres after passing just to get my hands on one. I also couldn’t resist taking pictures of all the blooming things I’ve finally been seeing.

When I was younger, I used to suck on tart rhubarb stalks out of the garden or eat the crunchy stems raw dipped into sugar.

Now that I’m older, I can make more sophisticated rhubarb things like bubbly cocktails or tarts. This recipe has a lot of steps, but the cool thing is, the tart shell plus almond filling (call it frangipane if you’re feeling fancy), can be paired with almost any sour fruit. How about some cherries or plums?

It would also be great served with some whipped cream on the side.

So don’t worry, take your time. If you managed to wait until spring made it, you can wait a little while longer for this tart.

Rhubarb Almond Tart
Makes 1 5x13 inch tart

Rhubarb and glaze:
1 bunch forced or regular rhubarb, stalks cut to width of your tart pan
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar per cup of water
1 tbsp lemon juice per cup of water

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 1/4 cups (163 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick, 4 oz) cold, unsalted butter
1-2 tbsp milk

Almond filling:
7 tbsp (3.5 oz) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup (43 g) all-purpose flour

For the rhubarb:
In a large, shallow pan big enough to accommodate your rhubarb in a single layer, check how much water it takes to just cover the rhubarb. This will determine how much sugar and lemon juice to add. Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Add rhubarb and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes or until just tender, but still retaining its colour and not mushy or falling apart (if you’re not using forced rhubarb, the colour will not be as vibrant). Set aside to cool for at least 1 hour or overnight.

For the crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and work with your fingers or a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly and largest butter pieces are only the size of peas. Add 1 tbsp of milk and work with your fingers until dough comes together. If it doesn’t come together about 1 minute, add more milk 1 tsp at a time until it does. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit your tart pan (about 1 cm thick). Transfer dough to tart pan and pat into nooks and crannies using your fingers. If the dough rips, don’t worry, just patch it up with any extra overhanging dough bits.

Prick bottom of tart all over with a fork and freeze dough for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 350F.

After freezing, you can line dough with parchment and fill with rice, beans, or pie weights to blind bake. You don’t have to, but the dough will puff up/sink more if you don’t. Be warned!
Bake tart shell at 350 in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the bottom appears dry when you remove the parchment. Set aside on a wire rack while you make the filling.

Don’t turn the oven off yet!

For the filling:
In a mixer, blend together butter, almond meal, and sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 10 seconds. Add flour and stir until combined.

Pour prepared filling into pre-baked tart shell and return to oven for another 20-25 minutes at 350F, or until filling is set and springs back in the center when lightly pressed.

Set aside to cool on a rack.

(Now you can turn off the oven)

For the glaze:
Remove the rhubarb from the liquid and set aside. Reduce the syrup, swirling the pan occasionally until deep pink, thick, and syrupy. Set aside to cool slighty.

To assemble:
Arrange rhubarb on top of tart, nestling the pieces snugly together. Brush glaze onto rhubarb. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Best the day it is made. 

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