I know, I know. Rhubarb is so April/May and I should be baking all the berry pies and strawberry shortcakes right about now. But to be honest, I saw my first good batches of rhubarb just a week ago. Maybe it’s the Canadian weather, but I find we’re a month or two behind everyone else when it comes to produce. Strawberry picking usually starts at the end of June, and peaches come up right around Labor Day. The good news is that if rhubarb season is long over where you’re living, this versatile frangipane tart base adapts well to other seasonal fruits. Apricots, nectarines, raspberries, figs — whatever looks good in your area, use it!
This shortcrust tart dough is adapted from Dorie Greenspan. I love how it comes together so easily and doesn’t shrink on me. Whereas I like making my pie crusts by hand, I typically use a food processor for tart dough. I like my tart crusts to be more crispy than flaky, so I’m not as concerned with big butter pieces and keeping all the ingredients super cold. That being said, if you don’t have a food processor or prefer not to use one, you can mix this dough by hand too (just do it as you would pie dough). Definitely don’t skip the chilling and freezing steps; it’s what keeps the dough from shrinking! At any rate, if you do have some cracking and shrinking, you can use any leftover dough to do a quick patch job after you take the foil off during the pre-bake step.
Rhubarb Frangipane Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the shortcrust pastry
- 188g / 1.5 cups AP flour
- 63g / 1/2 c icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 128g / 9 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
For the frangipane
- 115g / 4 ounces / 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100g / 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 130g / 1 cup almond flour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Generous pinch of salt
- ~1/4 c strawberry or raspberry jam
- 1/2 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ~2-3in. pieces
- Honey or confectioner’s sugar, for serving
For the shortcrust pastry
- Place the flour, icing sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Scatter the butter over the top of the flour mixture. Pulse several times until the butter is cut in (you want irregular pieces ranging in size from a pea to a quarter).
- Add the egg in stages, pulsing after each addition. Once the egg is added, pulse in 10 second increments until the dough forms clumps (you don’t want it completely smooth). Once the dough reaches this stage, dump it onto a clean countertop or silpat and gently knead until the dough comes together. Place the dough between two Silpats (or pieces of plastic wrap) and roll it out into a roughly 12-inch circle of about a 1/4″ thickness. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch tart tin. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and let it stand for about 5 minutes, just to make it pliable. Turn dough into the tart tin and trim the overhang to about 1/2 an inch. Fold the overhang in to reinforce the edges. If there are any tears or cracks, use some of the extra dough to patch it up. Pierce the dough all over with a fork, then wrap in plastic and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a piece of foil and fit it firmly over the chilled tart dough. Put the tart tin on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil (if the crust has risen at all press it down gently with the back of a spoon). If any cracks have formed, use some of the reserved dough to patch it. Bake crust for another 5-10 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling.
For the frangipane
- Beat butter and sugar together on high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating the first in thoroughly and scraping down the bowl before adding the second.
- Stir in the almond flour, followed by the vanilla and salt (either by hand or on the lowest mixer setting).
Finish the tart
- Preheat oven to 375F. Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Spread the frangipane over the jam using an offset spatula. Arrange the rhubarb pieces on top and gently press them into the frangipane.
- Bake the tart for 35-45 minutes, or until frangipane is puffed and golden. Serve at room temperature or chilled, with a sprinkling of icing sugar or a drizzle of honey. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for several days.
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