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Rhubarb Custard Tart

Rhubarb Custard

Many of my favorite vegetables are technically fruits. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and bell peppers all fall under that category. Botanically, the defining feature between fruit and vegetables are seeds—if it has seeds, it's a fruit; if it doesn't, it's a vegetable. In some ways, I feel like I should be ashamed. Under these strict rules, I'm certain I'll never meet my daily required serving of actual vegetables.

There are only so many carrot sticks one person can eat.

Rhubarb Custard Rhubarb Custard

Rhubarb, however, is just the opposite. Though it's treated as a fruit in cooking and baking, it is technically a vegetable. Imagine that. Rhubarb grows from the ground on stalks, similar to celery, and sprouts poisonous leaves (which are only fatally poisonous if you decide to eat a few pounds of them). If it wasn't for all of the sugar needed to balance out rhubarb's tart flavor, I could have had a surefire way to get my vegetables eaten.

Perhaps someday I'll find a way to make dessert fall squarely into the healthier food groups...

Rhubarb Custard

I often feel rhubarb is an understated flavor. Given the chance to stand alone, it can be magnificently bold and tart all at once (a flavor profile I've truly grown to love). More often than not, however, rhubarb is paired with berries (particularly strawberries) in pies and desserts. While I do enjoy these combinations, every so often I feel like rhubarb should be given the chance to stand on its own. To gain a little independence and prove that it has what it takes to cook up a good dessert.

That is exactly the spirit in which these rhubarb custard tarts were created.

Rhubarb Custard

These Rhubarb Custard Tarts combine rhubarb, cardamom, and orange into a treat perfect for light lunches and sweet breakfasts. A whole wheat cardamom crust encases orange poached rhubarb with a sweet egg custard. The true star of the show, however, is the rhubarb orange syrup drizzled on top (it's simply a reduction of the liquid the rhubarb was poached in, but there is so much flavor). I enjoyed this tart both warm from the oven and chilled from the refrigerator as leftovers the next day.

One Year Ago: Creamy Grape Salad

Rhubarb Custard Tart
Adapted from Tartelette

Yields 1 9-inch tart, 2 5-inch tarts, or 8 3-inch tarts

Tart Crust
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup cold water

In a food processor, add the flours, cardamom, sugar, and salt. Pulse in the butter and the egg. If dough does not hold together when squeezed, mix in cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until it does.

If a food processor is not available, whisk together the flours, cardamom, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and egg, blending together until smooth. If dough does not hold together when squeezed, mix in cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until it does.

Form dough into a ball and flatten. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick and line a tart pan. If dough rips or tears, simply repair with remaining dough. Using a fork, stab several holes in the bottom to prevent the dough from rising.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until almost completely baked.

Keep oven warm.

Rhubarb Custard Filling
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons honey
6-9 medium stalks rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, bring the orange juice and honey to a boil with 1/2 cup water. Add the chopped rhubarb and poach for 2-3 minutes. Strain out rhubarb and place in a bowl; it will continue to soften as it rests. Keep the orange and honey juice boiling until it thickens into a sauce, about 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve for later.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, sour cream, milk, cardamom, and vanilla. Set aside.

To Assemble
Spoon poached rhubarb evenly between baked tart shells. Cover with custard.

Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes for small tarts, 35-40 minutes for large tarts. Tarts will be done baking when the top begins to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, drizzle with reduced rhubarb orange syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

To store, chill in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Reader Comments (12)

I loooove rhubarb! This recipe is absolutely fabulous! Awesome idea!
This tart is awsome... We love it.
05.10.2012 | Unregistered
The way I see it, is if the fruit/vegetable in question is juicy and squishy, it's a fruit. If it's hard and solid, then it's a vegetable. But that's my trick to remembering things. Only problem is, I don't eat enough fruits or egetables :P whoops.

This tart does look pretty tasty though :)
That rhubarb tart looks good!
Yum! This tart looks beautifully thick and creamy. And a little way towards getting your portion of fruit and veg a day... ;-)
05.11.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
Here again to enjoy your gorgeous photography :) These sound like the perfect dessert for my dad's birthday dinner next week! He loves rhubarb. And sour cream, yum! Thanks!
05.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSophie
Have lots of rhubarb right now...can't wait to try out this recipe.
05.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
I've never eaten rhubarb... Not even sure I can find it near home. But this tart looks amazing! :)
I think that my all-time favorite desert is my grandma's rhubarb tart so if you ever think about creating a rhubarb-lovers club, count me in ;)
05.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne-So
This looks wonderful - I love the change to orange from sweet wine (oranges I have on hand at the moment...). It looks like both you and Helene Dujardin serve it simply, with a little powdered sugar. Do you think that it would go well with a scoop of ice cream? Say, vanilla or creme fraiche ice cream? Or would that be Too Much?

I've really been enjoying your blog (I discovered it via Tastespotting), by the way. Thank you!
05.14.2012 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne
Yvonne-- I'm not sure ice cream would suit this type of dessert. But, that said, I think it would be absolutely lovely with a dollop of greek yogurt, creme fraiche, or even sour cream.
05.14.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I thought that might be the case. Thanks for the information! Ha ha - now I have to decide between the rhubarb custard tarts or these rustic rhubarb-hibiscus tarts from Good to the Grain. Or I suppose 'both' is always a possibility... =)

Have a good one!
05.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne

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