I hope you had a lovely weekend. Mine was fantastic, despite– or perhaps because of– the rain here in Minnesota. I love rainy days, and we certainly needed it here in the Midwest. Everything is finally greening up after our nearly snow-less winter. With an eye towards the forecast, I got the family up early to head to the farmers’ market before the downpour. It was magnificent. I’ll try to take photographs next time to share with you. There were pops of color everywhere! I was able to track down our usual early spring stores– spinach, scallions, pea shoots, asparagus, eggs, radishes, and more rhubarb.
Yes, I know I wrote about rhubarb last week in this coffee cake recipe, but if you’re ready for another go, this week I’m offering up a phenomenal tart with rhubarb and cardamom. I ate almost the entire thing the day I made it. It’s that good. I spotted this tart years ago on Helene’s beautiful blog, Tartlette. Rhubarb with cardamom is one of those brilliant combinations that you really must try. The cardamom is very subtle– a little goes a long way– but it really seems to enhance the tart flavors of the rhubarb.
I wanted to make a relatively fuss-free crust for this tart– one that doesn’t have to be rolled out, but rather just gently patted into a pan. This one turned out perfectly. I blind baked the crust to ensure that it was nice and firm, since there’s nothing worse than having a fabulous filling ruined by a soggy crust. As for that filling, this one is a divine creamy custard. It’s just a few simple ingredients, but the creme fraiche makes it spectacular. (Honestly, I think creme fraiche makes everything spectactular). Like a little kid, I couldn’t stop licking the spatula! With this recipe, you will probably have leftover custard, so pour it into baking cups and bake it along-side the tart. They’ll be little bonus desserts. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Rhubarb and Cardamom Tart
(Makes one 9-or-10-inch round tart or a 14-x-5-inch rectangle tart)
For poaching the Rhubarb:
5 stalks rhubarb, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
For the Custard Filling:
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup creme fraiche (full-fat sour cream would work, too)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
sprinkle of salt
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
sprinkle of salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 6-8 pieces
1 egg, beaten
To poach the rhubarb: In a small saucepan, bring the 1/2 cup of water, honey, and squeeze of lemon to a boil. Place the chopped rhubarb in the water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove rhubarb from water and set aside. This can be done a day in advance — just place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. The water from the rhubarb is full of flavor — save it if you like and be creative with it! Cook it down to form a syrup or mix it with a cocktail.
Meanwhile, prepare the tart crust. Preheat an oven to 350°F. In a large glass bowl, add the flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt. Whisk them together to combine. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Do not let the mixture become pasty. Stir the beaten egg into the flour mixture. The dough should look dry and crumbly.
Press the dough evenly and gently into a buttered tart pan, using floured fingertips. Place a piece of lightly butter parchment paper over the tart and fill with baking weights or dried beans (I use the same beans over and over). Blind bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the tart is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
To make the custard filling: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the eggs, sugar, cardamom, and sprinkle of salt. Mix for a couple of minutes until it is pale and airy. Add the creme fraiche and mix until well combined.
To assemble the tart: Distribute the poached rhubarb into the prepared tart crust. Pour the custard filling over the rhubarb — being careful to not overfill it. You will have leftover custard filling. If you like, butter about 4 small ramekins and fill them with the custard. Bake along side the tart for a bonus treat. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until it is a beautiful golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping in today!