Bright, tangy rhubarb puree meets sweet and buttery shortbread. These single-serve rhubarb tarts are a simple yet elegant dessert, perfect for mother’s day or any celebration! Jump to the recipe here, or read on.
Rhubarb: a fruit, born into the body of a vegetable. While it might look like celery on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts.
Rhubarb is one of my favorite Spring offerings. Sure, it starts out as a sour, stringy stalk, but with a little help it can do so many things. It makes the most refreshing, pink cocktails this side of blood orange season, its tartness is a welcome ray of sunshine in any dessert, and it’s pretty as all get out. What’s not to love?
Also, it makes a mean rhubarb tart. Not that I’m biased, or anything.
This dessert was inspired by Spring (rhubarb season!) and also Mother’s Day, which happily coincide. My first instinct when it comes to mother’s day is chocolate… but this year, I’m making brunch for several moms I know, some of whom (not naming any names here) DON’T LIKE CHOCOLATE. It’s shocking, I know.
Fortunately, I have a plan B, and it’s nearly as good as chocolate (nearly): rhubarb tarts, with fresh berries, chopped pistachios, and toasted meringue. They look so pretty, people might not believe you when you say you made them. But you totally did, because they’re totally not that hard.
For the rhubarb filling (makes about 1 cup):
- 7oz (about 1¾ cups chopped, or 200g.) rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½ cup (100g.) granulated sugar, or more to taste
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp. fresh sqeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
- ½ TBSP powdered fruit pectin
For the shortbread crust (makes enough for four 4inch tart shells, with some dough leftover that can be used to make cookies. You might be able to get as many as six tarts out of it, if you try. If you only want to make a couple of tarts, you can halve the recipe):
- 1¾ sticks (14 TBSP, or 7oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup plus 1 TBSP (115g.) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. pure almond extract (optional)
- 1¾ cups (245g) all-purpose flour
- pinch of fine grain sea salt
- ½-3/4 cups (2.5 – 3.5oz.) raw almonds, finely chopped (optional — or roasted and shelled pistachios, or other nuts)
For the Italian meringue (optional — see recipe notes):
- 3 large egg whites (about 100ml), room temperature
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. lemon juice (or cream of tartar)
- Fresh berries of choice (I used raspberries)
- Chopped pistachios (or almonds, or other nuts)
- A few small leaves of mint (optional)
- Fresh whipped cream (optional, as an alternative to the Italian meringue — see recipe notes)
For the rhubarb filling:
- Combine all the ingredients in a large, non-reactive saucepan (ie., stainless steel or nonstick, NOT aluminum or cast iron as metals like these can react with the acids and create an off flavor).
- Place over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Cook until the rhubarb has broken down, and there are no whole pieces still visible (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from the heat.
- You can leave the filling like this, or very carefully puree it with an immersion blender, or regular blender. Always use caution when pureeing hot liquids, as they have a tendency to spatter. If the rhubarb mixture is too shallow in the pot to submerge a stick blender, transfer it to a tall glass measuring cup before pureeing. You can test the puree by dipping a spoon into it and placing it in the freezer for a couple of minutes to cool. If the puree is too tart for your taste, add a bit more sugar. If you’d like it more tart, add a few more drops of lemon juice.
- Pour into a clean jar, let cool completely, and store in the fridge until needed. (Puree will keep for up to two weeks. Makes about 1 cup, which is about twice what you’ll need for four tarts, but is delicious stirred into ice cream, yogurt, or oatmeal, too.)
You can find complete recipes of this INDIVIDUAL RHUBARB TARTS WITH PISTACHIOS, BERRIES, & SHORTBREAD CRUST in willcookforfriends.com