The Spring Tart You Must Make

April 28, 2009


My husband Randy likes to rate things on a scale from 1 to 10.  The rating system applies to meals he has had, presentations he has done, movies he has seen.  It is a way for his linear mind to organize input.  My non-linear mind has no need for such organization so I find it somewhat irksome that he often asks me to rate certain things.  I can’t assign a number to a meal or an experience.  When he presses me, I will come up with a number, but it feels so wrong to me and I immediately question whatever number I have chosen.

Having said all that, I have no problem telling you and anyone else who will listen that this dessert is a 10.  It was that good.  This is huge because for me, desserts fall into one of two categories.  #1 – Chocolate, #2 – Everything Else.  I call that second category “sort of desserts”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love lemon and I love apple but they are not chocolate and therefore not truly dessert…in my opinion.  The possible exception here is caramel which I love with enough passion to put it in the chocolate category.

If you scroll through the dessert section of this site, you will notice plenty of non-chocolate things.  That is because I am almost always baking for people other than myself and I recognize that there are many misguided souls out there who don’t fully appreciate a chocolate dessert – my husband being one of them.  In the interest of broadening my horizons, I decided to make this rhubarb tart (rhubarb? not even on my radar) for a dinner party on Saturday night.  It is in season right now and I know there are people who feel about rhubarb the way I feel about chocolate, my husband being one of them.


Where to start?  The recipe is perfect.  The crust was easy to work with and had just the perfect hint of sweetness.  The rhubarb is cooked down with plenty of brown sugar and cinnamon, so a sweetness emerges, but it still retains it’s delightful tang.  The crisp part is amazing as the crisp part of crisp desserts always is – the difference being that here there is a ton of it but not so much so that it is all you taste.  Again, the flavors and textures are perfect – a very well-written recipe.


And then there is the ice cream.  Brown Sugar – Sour Cream Ice Cream.  Do I really need to attempt to find words to describe it?  Suffice it to say that is the perfect match for the tart.  This is only the second time I have made ice cream and, as with the first time, I wondered why I don’t do this everyday.  If you have made ice cream you know, the texture and flavor cannot compare with store-bought – even the very best store-bought.  And it really takes no effort.  If you are looking for a perfect spring time tart, look no further.img_2019

Rhubarb Streusel Tart with Brown Sugar – Sour Cream Ice Cream
The Farm to Table Cookbook
Makes one – 9 inch tart

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 egg yolks

For the Streusel:
6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/2 tbsp. almond paste or marzipan
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the Filling:
1 1/2 pounds (about 6 cups) rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1.  To make the crust, blend the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor or an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until the butter lumps are no larger than peas.  Whisk the egg yolks in a small measuring cup and add enough water to make 1/4 cup liquid; add to flour mixture.  Mix until the dough just starts to come together.  (DT: I had to add another couple tablespoons water to get the dough to come together.  I also used ice cold water.)  Gather the dough, shape into a disc, and wrap in plastic.  Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

2.  To make the streusel, combine the butter, almond paste, sugar, flour, and cinnamon in food processor and process until the mixture is in fine crumbles.  (Alternatively, use a pastry blender.)  Refrigerate until needed.

3.  Allow the dough to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.  Roll on a lightly floured surface into a 1/2-inch-thick disc, frequently rotating the dough to prevent sticking.  Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Ease the dough into the pan, fitting it to the pan’s contour with fingertips, leaving some dough hanging over the edges.  Trim the pastry edges by rolling the pin over the rim and discard trimmings.  Freeze the shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

4.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

5.  Make the rhubarb filling by combining the rhubarb, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large sauté pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb is fall-apart tender, about 10 minutes.

6.  Fill the tart shell with the rhubarb mixture to within 1/2 inch from the top of the crust.  Sprinkle on the streusel and transfer to a baking sheet.  Bake until the streusel is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes.  Transfer the tart shell to a wire rack and cool completely.  Using a small sharp knife, gently loosen the crust from sides of pan.  Push up pan bottom to release tart.  Serve with ice cream.

Brown Sugar – Sour Cream Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

2 cups half-and-half
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
8 egg yolks
2 cups sour cream

1.  In a small saucepan, scald the half-and-half over medium-low heat until hot.

2.  Whisk the brown sugar and egg  yolks together in a medium bowl.  Slowly whisk in the half-and-half.

3.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture thickens enough to coat it, about 5 minutes.

4.  Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl.  Refrigerate until cold, then whisk the sour cream into the half-and-half mixture and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.


  1. You sold me on the tart & the ice-cream Dana, & egg yolks are not even on my ‘radar’! Just gorgeous…love everything about the desert. So well balanced & homely, yet elegant! We don’t get rhubard in India. Any suggestions for an alternate. Plums, peacehs,apricots,mango? Hmmm

    Comment by deeba — April 28, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  2. Just made the tart, with rhubarb from our garden. It’s absolutely delicious!

    Comment by Jenny — April 28, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

  3. Guess who’s never cooked with rhubarb? I keep thinking I should do something about that this season, and your tart looks fantastic!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — April 28, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

  4. Deeba – I think the basic principle of this tart would lend itself beautifully to other fruits. Any of those you mention would be delicious. The only thing you will have to watch is the sugar. Rhubarb is extremely sour, hence the large amount of sugar you cook it with (it also has the texture of celery when raw, so you cook it for a while to make it tender). I would maybe add sugar to taste and just cook your fruit to tender. Please report back if you try something!

    Jenny – So glad it turned out for you. I am jealous that you have your own rhubarb to work with!

    Lisa – The time has come. Another reason I loved this tart is that is just rhubarb. So often rhubarb is paired with strawberries so the sour flavor gets muddled. Let me know if you try it!

    Comment by dana — April 28, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

  5. Yum. I love rhubarb, but rarely feel so inspired to do something with it. Can’t wait to try this out…and the reader with her own rhubarb makes me want to put some in the garden. I don’t have an ice cream maker, but did recently try the Brown Sugar flavor of the Haagen Dazs “Five” brand, and it was so crazy good. Thanks for the post and pictures!

    Comment by Mara — April 28, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

  6. Dana, do you use golden brown sugar in the tart and ice cream, or a darker Demarra sugar?

    Looks marvellous, I’m gong to have to dig out that ice cream maker and get it into the freezer soon.

    Thank you for the recipe!

    Comment by Cynthia A — April 29, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

  7. Oooh, this looks perfect! I really do need to buy a tart pan as I’m not finding much luck thrifting for one.

    Comment by kickpleat — April 30, 2009 @ 6:41 am

  8. Cynthia – It’s funny the recipe doesn’t specify, isn’t it? I used golden brown sugar. I think darker would be too strong, especially for the rhubarb.

    Jeanette – they are pretty cheap – like $10, I think. At least here in the States. BTW: Did you see that Vancouver was rated the #4 city in the world to live in? I love it there.

    Comment by dana — April 30, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  9. I think our rhubarb is ready to be used just now, so I’ll make this on the weekend. The tart was so good last year that I’ve been looking forward to rhubarb season ever since!

    Comment by Jenny — May 18, 2010 @ 11:39 am

  10. I may be a little late on this one but I have this cooking away currently and it looks amazing! I had a little too much filling and streusel but I plan on eating the extras with some icecream tomorrow. Thanks so much for this recipe!

    Comment by Lisa — July 9, 2010 @ 8:21 am

  11. I made this tart today! Have been reading your blog for a while now and when I was looking for a rhubarb recipe, this seemed like great one.
    I am quite new to pies and tarts (this was actually just my second time making a recipe that required me to roll out dough) so I did have some difficulties with that – I ended up just laying pieces of half rolled out dough in the tin and pressing them together with my fingers. Oh, and the bowl of my food processor is too small so I mixed everything by hand. However, the whole thing just came out great!
    Did make some minor adjustments to the rhubarb – added the zest of an orange, some ginger powder, some freshly ground black pepper and some orange liqueur.
    But this is a wonderful recipe! Lovely flavours, foolproof and indeed a celebration of spring. Will definitely be making this again!

    Comment by Geneviève — May 12, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  12. […] Rhubarb Streusel Tart Makes 1 9-inch tart, adapted from Dana Treat […]

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