I lived in the Alsace region of France for about 8 months in my early twenties. I fell in love with French food and their culture. One of the friends I met there is Isabelle. She and her mother would fix wonderful meals for us. We shared many meals and holidays with them. They are dear friends! It was at their home that I first tasted a rhubarb tart. I fell in love with it. There was something irresistible about the tangy taste of the rhubarb coupled with the sweet, frothy cream and crispy crust.
Isabelle has moved to the states since then and lives about a half a mile from my house. My mother-in-law had given me some rhubarb from her rhubarb plant so I was ready to cook. She has a large rhubarb plant growing in her yard that she grew from a start her parents gave her years ago. Her parents have now both passed on, but I love the way cooking brings up many memories.
Anyway, I had never attempted a rhubarb tart myself, or any other tart for that matter, so I invited Isabelle over for the afternoon!
I had already cut the rhubarb into 1/3-1/2 inch dice and tossed them with sugar. I had transferred them to a strainer set over a bowl to drain overnight.
I was shocked at the amount of juice that was in the bowl when I removed them. What a juicy little vegetable! We made the pie crust together and then wrapped it in plastic wrap to refrigerate for 30 minutes.
I had never made a pastry crust that had an egg in it. When I ate the tart though I realized that it made the crust more hard and not as flaky which is what a tart needs. (You may have more insight on the reason for the egg, but that was my observation.) When the refrigeration process was complete we rolled it out and fit the pastry into a tart pan.
Those are my cute friend Isabelle’s hands doing such a good job piecing together the crust. I must stress to you all that I do not believe it matters if things aren’t perfect in cooking as long as they taste divine!
Alsatian Rhubarb tart contributed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice water
- 2 pounds rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/3-inch dice
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 large egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse just until it is the size of peas. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the ice water. Drizzle the egg mixture over the dough and pulse just until evenly moistened; do not let it form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb with 1/2 cup of the sugar; transfer to a strainer. Set it over the bowl and refrigerate overnight to drain.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round. Fit the pastry into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and trim the overhanging pastry.
- If using a convection oven, bake the raw rhubarb in a raw pastry. Set oven at 360 degrees and skip step 5.
- Line the pastry with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake the tart shell in the lower third of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake the shell for about 10 minutes, or until cooked and the bottom is lightly golden.
- Press on the rhubarb to extract as much liquid as possible. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Spread the rhubarb in the shell and bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just tender.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Pour the custard over the rhubarb and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until set. Bake in convection oven for 30 minutes.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425° and position a rack in the upper third of the oven. In convection oven, increase temperature to 375 degrees and bake an additional 25 minutes. Let the tart cool, then remove the ring, slide the tart onto a cake plate and serve.
Posted by Andrea