It seems just as quickly as rhubarb was here, with elephantine leaves and strikingly red stalks, it’s starting to slow down and fade. Though that means it’s just the beginning of the rest of the garden, so I’ll temper my disappointment with dreams of peas! And lettuces! Maybe even a zucchini or too? But until then, we obviously need to cram in as much rhubarb as we can!
This time I made a mild riff on a rhubarb and almond tart, using a browned butter almond cream and thick lengths of cardamom-poached rhubarb. It is sort of an updated version of this old tart, one of the recipes I posted in my early years of blogging. I was surprised how well the browned butter comes through in the almond cream – it bakes up buttery, cakey, and fragrant, interrupted with super tender tart rhubarb.
This recipe is pretty much the classic almond and fruit tart, with an extra bit here or there. While it’s not strictly necessary, I think gentle poaching the rhubarb before baking in the tart makes the rhubarb particularly tender. I prefer making this tart with thick rhubarb if you have access to it – the sort of hefty stalks that are an inch or more in diametre. I find they handle the poach and baking best. When I tried with thinner rhubarb, while still good, the stalks do wither in the oven and remain a bit stringy.
Of course, the size of your rhubarb will determine how many lengths of rhubarb are needed along the tart – whether just eight or so, as in the case of mine, or double that number (hence about 2/slice). Try arranging the pieces in your tart pan to determine how many you need. And be sure to poach a couple extra, just in case.
cardamom-poached rhubarb & browned butter almond tart
special equipment: 13×4″ rectangular fluted tart tin
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 8 medium green cardamom pods, cracked open
- about 250g rhubarb, cut into 9-10cm lengths
- 200g flour, half all-purpose and half whole-wheat
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg
brown butter almond cream
- 75g butter
- 5g milk powder (optional)
- 50g granulated sugar
- 75g finely ground almonds
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- generous pinch salt
- 75g egg
- 16g flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp dark rum
Place the water, sugar and cardamom pods in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb pieces, presentation side up (sometimes the skin on the bottom side can crack a bit when simmered). Adjust the heat as needed to warm the syrup back up to a simmer (but not a boil!!). Then remove from the heat, cover, and allow the rhubarb to cool in the syrup. This way we can gently poach the rhubarb, but avoid overcooking it – be all the more careful to avoid overcooking if you’re using small rhubarb. If not using the same day, gently transfer the rhubarb and syrup to a container and chill completely.
Place the flours, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Then add the egg and process for about 30 seconds or until the dough comes together. Press into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill completely.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm thick. Drape over a 13×4″ rectangular tart tin, press into all the corners and trim any excess. Patch any tears that form with scraps of dough. Cover and chill completely.
Place the butter in a small pan with the milk powder and cook, stirring, until the butter solids are golden brown and fragrant. Immediately transfer the butter to a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool completely until it re-solidifies.
Cream together the cooled butter, sugar and salt. Add the ground cardamom and almonds, then mix in the egg. Next stir in the flour followed by the vanilla extract and rum.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Dock the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry appears to lighten and dry. Let cool.
Spread the almond cream in an even layer in the bottom of the tart tin. Drain the poached rhubarb and arrange overtop. Return to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the almond cream is lightly browned.
Let cool and dust with icing sugar (not because it needs additional sweetness – this is purely for aesthetic so feel free to skip!) just prior to serving.