Rhubarb and Brown Butter Tart


Baking with a time limit is not my ideal way of baking. I calculate the exact amount of time I have to make everything and photograph it, plus throwing in some extra time in case something goes wrong (which it often does). I freak out if I think I might not have enough time because what if it's still in the oven when I have to go to work? I always finish with at least an hour to spare before work, yet I freak out anyways. 

Time constraints in general suck. No one likes time limits. No one likes to rush. I especially do not like to rush. Under pressure, I short circuit. Some people get 'in the zone' when under pressure. The only 'zone' I get in is the super-stressed-out-angry zone. There's some grumbling, lots of pouting, and a lot yelling at inanimate objects. That's my zone.


But you know what? In three weeks, there will be no time constraints, at least for a little while. In three weeks, I'm off to Europe with my boyfriend! I've only ever traveled either by myself or with my parents, so a trip with a significant other is a big step. An exciting step!


We're off to England for two weeks to visit my boyfriend's family and then we're off to Tuscany for another two weeks. As you can guess, I won't be updating the blog while I'm away (I'm on vacation, after all!). 


The only place in England that I've visited is London, and the town my boyfriend grew up in is quite small. I'm picturing green hills with sheep and friendly old men with tweed jackets. My boyfriend has assured me that his town is not that picturesque, but it's hard to let go of my version of it.


I've also been told that we might go strawberry picking, which is something I've never done before! I can't pass up an opportunity to bake with freshly picked strawberries so maybe I'll try to impress his parents with some of my baking. 


I've already had the pleasure of visiting Tuscany once before and I fell in love immediately. I've traveled a fair bit in my two decades of living but I have to say that Italy is my favorite place by far. Everything about it - the food, the scenery, the landscape, the people, the lifestyle. Pardon me while I pack up my life and move to Italy forever.


Anyways, enough of me bragging out about absolutely excited I am, and more of this tart. It's not really a normal tart. But it's not a pie or a bar or a square... So I guess it's a tart because that's what it's called in the book. It's good. It's a bit of work, but when you break it up into two days, it's not so bad. The only thing is that you need a quarter sheet pan (9-by-13 inches, like a normal baking sheet but smaller and has more of a lip). I don't have one and instead used a baking pan. Even though it had the correct measurements, I don't think it was exactly right. Don't get me wrong, it was still great and tasty, but it's like using a pie pan when you need a tart tin. 


If you have a quarter sheet pan, definitely use it! If you don't have one and don't see yourself using one very often, a 9-by-13 inch baking pan is a good alternative. No worries.


Rhubarb and Brown Butter Tart
Recipe from Bouchon Bakery

Cured Rhubarb
15 young rhubarb stalks (900 grams or about 2 pounds)
100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
120 g (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) Grenadine

Toasted Almond Streusel
120 grams (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
120 grams (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) almond meal/flour
120 grams (1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
0.6 gram (1/4 teaspoon) kosher salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
120 grams (4.2 oz) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Pâte Sucrée
375 grams (2 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
46 grams (1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons) powdered sugar
94 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar
47 grams (1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons) almond meal/flour
225 grams (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
56 grams (3 1/2 tablespoons) eggs

Brown Butter Filling
75 grams (1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons) almond meal/flour
75 grams (1/2 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons) all-purpose flour
150 grams (1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons) eggs
210 grams (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
75 grams (1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons) whole milk
75 grams (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) heavy cream
165 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) brown butter


The rhubarb needs to be cured for 24 hours prior to baking, the pâte sucrée needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours at least or preferably overnight, and the almond streusel needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours, so plan accordingly. The best way to do this would be on Day 1, cure the rhubarb, make the pâte sucrée, and make the almond streusel. On Day 2, assemble and bake everything.

For the cured rhubarb, trim the rhubarb so it fits lengthwise in a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Using a paring knife (a vegetable peeler would remove too much), beginning at one end of each stalk, pull off the strings and any tough peel running the length of the rhubarb; if any of the stalks are very young and green and don't trim easily, they can be left unpeeled.

Arrange the rhubarb in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle the grenadine over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning and tossing the rhubarb every 8 hours to coat it evenly.

Drain the rhubarb on paper towels; discard the liquid in the pan.


For the pâte sucrée, place the all-purpose flour i a medium bowl. Sift the 46 grams powdered sugar and the almond flour into the bowl. Break up any lumps of almond flour remaining in the sieve, add them to the bowl, and whisk to combine.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream on medium-low speed, warming the bowl as needed until the butter is the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Sift in the remaining 94 grams powdered sugar and pulse to incorporate the sugar, then increase the speed to medium-low and mix for about 1 minute, until the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, add them to the butter mixture, and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to distribute the seeds evenly.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing for 15 to 30 seconds after each addition, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that may have settled there. Add the eggs and mix on low speed until just combined, 15 to 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough to the work surface. Use the heel of your hand to smear the dough and work it together. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a 4-by-6 inch rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Wrap each piece in a double layer of plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours, but preferably overnight. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.


For the streusel, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk to break up any lumps. Add the butter and toss to coat the pieces. Work the mixture with your fingertips, breaking the butter into pieces no larger than 1/8 inch and combining it with the flour mixture. Do not overwork the mixture or allow the butter to become soft; if it does, place the bowl in the fridge to harden the butter before continuing.

Transfer the streusel to a covered container or resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Use the streusel while it is cold.


For the tart shell, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough and place it between two large pieces of parchment or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working from one side of the dough to the other, to begin to flatten the dough. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat (this will help prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled). Roll out the dough in the parchment from the center outward, rotating and flipping the dough over frequently. If the dough feels stuck to the parchment, lift off the parchment and reposition it. Should the edges crack, tap the edge of the dough with the rolling pin to bring it back together. If the dough softens, refrigerate it for a few minutes before placing it in the quarter sheet pan. Roll out the dough to 12-by-16 inches with a 1/8 inch thickness.

Remove the top piece of parchment if you have not already done so and place the dough upside down in the pan, making sure the corners are not thicker than the rest of the dough. Run your hands over the bottom piece of parchment (which is now facing up) to force out any air bubbles, then remove the parchment. Repair any cracks in the dough. For me, there were a lot of cracks. Freeze the dough for 30 minutes or refrigerate for an hour.

Line the dough with parchment and fill it with raw rice, dried beans, or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and baker for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is set and no longer sticks to the parchment. Remove the parchment and rice, return the pan to the oven, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.

For the streusel, lower the temperature of the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the streusel in an even layer on a sheet pan. Bake for about 12 minutes, turning the streusel with a metal spatula every 4 minutes, until it is golden brown and dry. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely. Pour the streusel into a food processor and pulse to the consistency of brown sugar. Set aside.

Meanwhile, for the filling, whisk together the almond flour and all-purpose flour in a medium bowl, breaking up any lumps in the almond flour.

For the brown butter, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt about 250 grams unsalted butter. As soon as it is melted, begin whisking to keep it fro separating. Once the butter begins to boil, stop whisking and increase the heat to medium high. Continue to cook the butter, whisking occasionally to keep the solids that settle on the bottom of the pan from burning, for about 5 minutes. As the moisture evaporates and butter browns, the bubbles will lessen. Lift some of the butter onto a spoon to check the colour: when the butter is caramel coloured, remove it from the heat and strain into a large bowl. Discard the solids and pour the clear butter into a container. When adding the butter to filling, it should be warm.

Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until thickened. With the mixer running on medium-low, slowly add the milk and cream. Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium low speed for a few seconds, until combined. With the mixer running, slowly add the brown butter and mix to combine. Transfer the filling to the pastry bag.

Pipe enough of the filling into the crust to cover the bottom with a 1/4 inch layer, and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula. Arrange the rhubarb rounded side up on top of the filling, running lengthwise in the pan. Pipe the filling around the stalks, filling in any gaps, then spread any remaining filling over the top of the rhubarb (it may not be completely covered).

Bake for 40 minutes. rotate the pan, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the filling is set and golden. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.

To serve, lift the tart out of the pan with a large spatula and trim the edges of the crust. Cut into 12 pieces and garnish each piece with some streusel topping. Dust the tops lightly with powdered sugar.

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