Friday, March 25, 2011

Rhubarb Tart with Orange Glaze

I love the tangy tartness of rhubarb. Of all the spring fruits, it just might be my favorite to bake with. But it’s not even really a fruit…

Did you know that rhubarb is actually a vegetable? Even weirder still, according to Wikipedia, here in America, where rhubarb is largely used as a fruit, a court ruling legally classified it as a fruit for regulatory purposes, thereby granting it a tax reduction. (I suspect that ruling had little to do with clarifying the usage and more to do with throwing businesses a bone i.e. a tax break. Such is the American way.)

I’ve been told that rhubarb grows wild in more northerly states but it won’t grow at all in the South. (I stand corrected: just heard a local farm is selling it at the farmer's market. I'm assuming it's forced, hothouse grown rhubarb. I'll be finding out very soon as I can't wait to check it out.) Apparently the plant requires a protracted period of freezing temperatures before it will flourish during the growing season. The rhubarb I find here in Austin is typically from the Pacific Northwest. I always jump the gun and wind up purchasing hothouse rhubarb as soon as it shows up at the store since I can’t stand to wait till late April for the field grown rhubarb to be harvested. I’ve baked with both and while hothouse rhubarb has a milder flavor than the field grown variety, it’s still pretty tasty.

I always make this tart to kick off my rhubarb baking season. It’s dead simple and delicious.

Happy spring!
Rhubarb Tart with Orange Glaze
adapted from Gourmet, April 2009

This tart is so good, it’s reason enough to make a batch of puff pastry, especially since the dough freezes well and any leftovers can be stashed for a later use. However, if you’re not in the mood to go through the labor intensive process of making puff pastry, the store bought variety that can be found in the freezer section works well too.

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 3 medium sized Texas Valencia oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 pound rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced diagonally (approximately 1/8 inch)
1 sheet puff pastry (thaw before use if frozen)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1. Make puff pastry according to the directions here. Or if you’re not into that, just pull out the box of frozen puff pastry you bought at the store, remove a sheet, and place it in the refrigerator to thaw out.
2. Prep all ingredients and when you’re ready to assemble the tart, preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit with a rack in the middle. Pour the freshly squeezed orange juice and lime juice into a medium large bowl and add sugar. Stir to mix well. Add the rhubarb slices to the juice/sugar mixture and allow it to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
3. Prep the puff pastry by cutting two rectangles and then roll out each piece into an 11-by 7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface to a little more than 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the pieces to an ungreased large baking sheet and place them side-by-side. Use a thin paring knife to make a 1/2-inch border around each pastry rectangle making sure not to cut all the way through and use a fork to prick pastry inside the border all over.
4. Strain the rhubarb from the juice mixture and reserve the liquid. Arrange overlapping slices of rhubarb within the borders of each pastry rectangle. Bake the rectangles for approximately 30 minutes until puffy and golden.
5. While the pastry is in the oven, put the reserved juice mixture in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down slightly but allow the liquid to remain at a boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup. This may take up to 15 minutes depending on burner strength.
6. When fully baked, remove the tarts to a rack to cool slightly. Pour or brush the glaze over the tarts and sprinkle with orange zest. Use a pizza slicer to cut each rectangle into serving size pieces and eat immediately! Actually, the tart will keep in the refrigerator for a few days but the syrup will make the puff pastry a bit soggy. I’d advise reheating before serving if kept in the refrigerator.

12 comments:

  1. That is shouting spring to me.Looks amazing.I love the gooey feel of such tart recipes.Have a nice weekend.

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  2. My rhubarb plants are currently under about 4 feet of snow. I know it's spring when I see tiny shoots starting to bust through the earth. Stalks will be ready in late May/June and I'll be sure to make this tart - it looks simply delicious! I'm a sucker for anything with puff pastry. Yum.

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  3. I didn't realize that rhubarb couldn't grow in the South that well. I'd somehow imagined that it is a Southern food all this time, since the desserts that I associate with it I've really only eaten in Dallas and Miami. Weird indeed!

    Your tart looks divine. I'd really enjoy that with coffee at breakie or perhaps after dinner with a tiny glass of green Chartreuse.

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  4. I always enjoy visiting your blog. Your photos are amazing and thes recipes are so mouth watering. Very excited to try this one!

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  5. I always joked about making a rhubarb pie since I did not think it was going to be anything edible. It is because I think they look like celery. But if you can believe I have not had rhubarb in my life! I guess I will buy some frozen puff pastry and head to the farmer's market now. I am curious.

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  6. I can't wait to check out the locally grown rhubarb. I haven't bought any yet this year, and this tart is causing serious rhubarb cravings. The glaze on top looks great!

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  7. What a beautiful tart! I love rhubarb and usually make rhubarb pie when it is in season. I think I am going to try this tart instead this year!

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  8. Thanks all!

    @Stevie- I was a bit surprised to see that it wasn't a Southern thing either. My Granny was the only person who ever served rhubarb when I was growing up so I just assumed it was an old Southern tradition. Props the yankees for growing such a fine "fruit" ;-)

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  9. This is a gorgeous dessert. I love its simplicity and its flavor shines through my computer screen. I really have to try this. It would be a perfect addition to the brunch table on Easter Sunday. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  10. Can you believe I've never had rhubarb? I have no idea what it tastes like! But you have sparked my interest...

    Might have to branch out and try some rhubarb :)

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  11. Believe it or not, I have never had rhubarb either. It looks so beautiful here, in your photos, that I'm tempted to pick up some on my next trip to the grocery store & bake this tart.

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  12. Hi Shelley,
    Hope everything is going smoothly in anticipation of that precious arrival in August. Just wanted to let you know that I linked to this, and also your blogpost from today, for Rhubarb Streusel Bars, today on my Facebook page: from maggie's farm.
    All my best!
    Maggie

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