Rhubarb Tart with Orange Custard

I’m back!  Sorry for the delay, but I found myself quite wrapped up the exciting flurry of college graduation.  I’m looking forward to a summer filled with tasty treats and new cooking adventures.

And so, to kick of my summer of food, I am bringing you one of my favorite late-spring treats: rhubarb.  I have been known to pick up pounds upon pounds of this vegetable from the farmer’s market each year.  In fact, I just picked up another three pounds of the red and green stalks yesterday, making this year’s rhubarb tally reach a total of six pounds (and I’m definitely not finished yet!)  I still have strawberry-rhubarb-jam with lavender to make this summer.

I decided to forgo my traditional rhubarb cookies for a new recipe–a rhubarb tart with orange custard–from the lovely Deborah Madison.  I wouldn’t quite categorize the treat as a tart, for it reminds me more of a rhubarb pound cake, but, either way, it is a delicious way to showcase my favorite spring ingredient!

I’d also love to hear about any of your favorite ways to use rhubarb.  Please feel free to post any recipes/links in the comments.

Rhubarb Tart with Orange Custard
(Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)
This dessert is best served the day it is made, as the center gets a bit mushy after sitting for a while.  However, it is perfect for an indulgent breakfast, a mid-afternoon snack, or an after-dinner treat with ice cream.
For the dough:
1/2 unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 cup flour
For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup cream
Lightly grease an 11-inch tart pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees*.
Cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss it with the sugar, cloves, orange zest, and cinnamon.  Set aside for at least one hour.
To make the dough, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla and the orange zest, then stir in the flour. Smooth the batter into the prepared tart pan, pushing it up the sides to make a rim.
Beat the egg for the filling in a 2-cup measure. Add the juices from the rhubarb and enough cream to make 1 cup. Distribute the rhubarb over the batter, keeping it within the rim. Pour the egg and cream mixture over the fruit and bake until set and lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
*Note: If you want to avoid a messy oven, place a layer of aluminum foil on the shelf below the tart while baking.

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