Y’all last week the heavens opened up and some mythical force sent spring to New York. And with that they also dropped off my very favorite seasonal, grocery must-find… rhubarb. I didn’t even have to fight a Tribeca mommy for it, and yes this did happen once. I’m living proof that you can find rhubarb in even the dirtiest of cities. As I’m sure some of you know, Easter is coming up and I thought I’d do something that gets us springing forward. And here we have it! A pink explosion on top of a tart. Ladies and gentleman, this Rhubarb tart with a coconut custard filling is the only thing I’ll be hoping to get in my Easter basket this year.
Truthfully, this tart was not a one and done kind of situation. I really had to work this recipe a few times over. The frustration that I experienced every time my crust broke or my custard curdled was worse than the current frustrations I feel when I’m watching CNN’s presidential race coverage. But again, this is why I created this blog… honestly I’m not going to give you a shitty recipe and pretend it’s great. I’m going to rework that recipe until it’s up to my standard. Even if I do have to make a tart crust 8 times. Abe Lincoln taught me better than that… and so did Destiny’s Child.
There were a few spots in the recipe that are not always the easiest… so I’m going to give you some tips on what to do in some of the troublesome places.
First step is our crust: This might be the easiest part. You’ll make your dough and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes. I recommend you make your custard while you wait for your dough to rest. After that find a wide work surface and leave your baking pan next to your dough so that you can get a general idea of how much you should be rolling your dough out to. Once the dough is rolled out, carefully transfer the dough to the pan. You should then let your dough rest in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes. Bake your dough, and once you remove your now baked crust from the oven, you should add an egg yolk wash to the crust. This will help to inforce your crust a bit more.
Second step is our rhubarb: Okay I can’t lie this is the fun step… who doesn’t love to braid
pink sticky fruits? No, but seriously this is a good time. Patience is everything here. Don’t get crazy just keep going with your pattern. If you find that your rhubarb has to be cut too short because it won’t fit in your pan (um hello this is me right now… girl only has so much room in a small NYC kitchen!) it’s very easy to combine rhubarb layers midway through your pattern. No one will even notice! And if you’re super OCD you can hide them anytime you fold your rhubarb underneath it’s perpendicular neighbor.
Third step is our custard: Listen I’ve made custard a billion times this year, and I struggle with it on the regular. I’m not a particularly patient person when it comes to baking… don’t be like me kids! Or you’ll curdle your custard. Make sure that once you add your finished mixture back into your saucepan and are going to boil that mixture, you keep your heat on medium low and continuously stir. This may take you a few times to get the hang of. But do not rush the process. If you decide to jump the gun and turn your heat up, you’ll curdle that little custard of dreams. You should give yourself ample time to get your custard created… and I mean like 20-30 minutes of stirring time. Your arms will thank you later when you’re rocking that Michelle Obama look.
Lastly: A quick tip about slicing this tart. A knife may not be sharp enough to cut through your rhubarb layers. I used my kitchen shears to cut through my rhubarb and then I used a knife to cut through the crust of my tart. The road to perfection is long… but do it for the insta perfect pic!
LATTICED RHUBARB TART
makes 1 tart
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cute in cubes
1/4 c granulated white sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 c whole milk
1/4 c white sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 c cornstarch
1/3 c white sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp coconut extract
8-10 stalks fresh rhubarb
1 cup water
1/4 c granulated sugar
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
*Optional* Coconut flakes for decoration
- Rhubarb: Using a veggie peeler, slice rhubarb lengthwise into 1/16th layers
- Place water, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice in a deep saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid to a simmer and add slices of rhubarb. Cook till slightly softened. Caution: Do not over cook or your rhubarb will become stringy and slimey… not conducive to creating a this lattice.
- Remove slices from pan, and let cool on a paper towel. Repeat till finished. Hold on to your liquid. You’ll use it as a quick glaze (but also keep it for other fun adventures later… like the occasional fancy cocktail)
- Crust: In a bowl, whisk flour and salt. Place butter in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add your beaten egg until it’s incorporated. Slowly add in flour mixture. Mix until dough forms into a ball.
- Flatten pastry into a disk shape, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes (Freeze for 10-15).
- Cream: In a heavy saucepan, stir together milk and 1/4 c sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and egg. In another bowl, stir in remaining sugar and cornstarch. Add sugar/cornstarch mixture to your egg mixture. Stir until smooth.
- Once milk comes to a boil, pour milk into the bowl containing your egg mixture while continuously stirring your egg this will prevent you from cooking the egg.
- Return mixture to your saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over medium low heat. (I stay at about a 2 or 3 on my stovetop) Continuously stir mixture to prevent your eggs from curdling. You don’t want lumps in your custard.
- Once mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat. Your mixture should be thick enough that it sticks to your spoon, but when you wipe a finger through it, the line stays completely clear of custard. Stir in butter and coconut extract until the butter is completely blended. Pour into a heat proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream. This will prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Crust: Lightly butter and flour your tart pan. Roll out your dough and place in tart. *Pat down the sides and bottom of your dough. Scour the bottom of your tart. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an additional 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Bake crust for 5 minutes. Drop the temperature down to 350°F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Your crust should be golden and dry. Remove crust from oven and place on wire cooling rack. 3-5 minutes after you have removed the crust from the oven, seal with egg white glaze. (Beat one egg white, and brush along entire crust).
- Rhubarb: Once your rhubarb has cooled, line up slices side-by-side on parchment paper. Fold alternating slices up and place perpendicular slices over in lattice pattern. Repeat till finished. Refer to gif above!
- Fill cooled crust with custard. Flip your parchment sheet onto the top of your tart, peel parchment away. With kitchen shears, trim any overhanging rhubarb strands. Brush remaining rhubarb liquid over your tart.
MMMMMMMMMM that may not have been the easiest task… but aren’t you proud of yourself? Um yea you should be!