Feeling super artsy with this optical illusion rhubarb design. # 127: Rhubarb Frangipane Tart
Combating this gloomy rainy weather with a healthy dose of pink desserts. Elle Woods would approve! I made an army of strawberry cupcakes and this lovely rhubarb tart for family events this weekend. (Yes, the rest of the decorations were just a pink, and no none of it tasted like Pepto Bismol, despite the signature hue.)
This was my first rhubarb dessert! I had heard of this mysterious tart fruit that needs buckets of sugar (or a pile of strawberries) to make it edible, but never actually cooked with it.
First impression: it totally looks like celery with a sunburn. Did you know that it’s actually a vegetable? Whoever the first person was to cook it into a dessert was a brave human.
I feel like rhubarb isn’t a common ingredient in the U.S., but that’s just based on my personal experience. My mom loves it but doesn’t use it regularly. It’s classically mixed with strawberries, custard or frangipane. Essentially surrounding it with as much sugar as possible.
I’m securely in the all-butter camp in the great butter vs. shortening crust debate. The flavor you get just so much better! I actually prefer a soft crust texture to a crisp, flaky one you’d get with shortening. The closer to shortbread, the better!
I made sure to work the dough up higher than the edges of the tart pan so it could shrink without ruining the finish of the shell. Any part that was taller than the top of the pan after baking got mercilessly chopped off for the sake of an even edge. I also made sure to fully squish down the corner where the wall and floor meet so there wasn’t a huge crust heel on each piece.
My first design attempt didn’t pan out – very pretty but very nitpicky and hard to get right.
Voila! The Second attempt was much more successful. I had a movie on in the background though, so I cut way too many in one direction and not enough on the opposite slant… oops!
Luckily, I over-buy produce and had a few extra stalks to work with. It’s almost a herringbone pattern if you squint.
Success! I had juuusst enough to cover the bottom of the tart.
I chose frangipane to balance out the tartness of the rhubarb. It’s a lovely mix between marzipan and custard – truly the best of both worlds. Shout out to GBBO for introducing me to it!
I blind-baked the crust until slightly firm, then spread on a thick layer of frangipane. Honestly, wouldn’t be opposed to just a frangipane tart. WAIT EVEN BETTER: a chocolate frangipane tart. Coming soon to a kitchen near you!
Took awhile to transfer the masterpiece but the careful pre-design was totally worth it.
All dressed up for the oven. I painted on some sugar water for good measure. Next steps: place in oven and cross fingers that the celery-like stalk will magically turn into a soft, sweet fruit. Cinderella’s fairy godmother had it way easier.
A little trim here and there…
And the big reveal!
Ready for my close-up. I checked the rhubarb pieces to make sure they were soft before pulling this beauty out of the oven – I was told to avoid crunchy rhubarb at all costs.