Since my last experience with rhubarb went so well, I picked up another pound of it at the grocery store to try out some more recipes. This tart recipe was the first on my list because it’s on the cover of Kim Boyce’s cookbook, Good to the Grain and I think I’ve opened that book about a million times since I got it a month ago. I just couldn’t look at it one more time without making those tarts.
The only problem was that my rhubarb wasn’t as blindingly red as hers looked, so I decided to change the filling and add some blueberries to it to give it a deeper color. I’ve tried rhubarb with cherries, strawberries and now blueberries and I have to say that blueberry-rhubarb combo is my favorite of the three. I cooked the blueberries and rhubarb with some orange zest and dark muscovado sugar which has a strong flavor similar to molasses. The resulting compote was so good I could hardly stop myself from eating it all before I even got the tarts made. Luckily, I made more compote than I had tarts to fill so I saved the rest and have been eating it on my oatmeal and yogurt and I even made another fool with it mixed in. And of course, I’ve been eating it in these wonderful tarts.
What I love about the recipe is the use of corn flour and fine cornmeal to create a crust that has a totally different taste from all the other tarts or pies I’ve ever had. But despite the different kind of flour the texture is spot on. It’s buttery and tender but still strong enough to hold the compote and it has that melt-in-your-mouth quality that the best crusts have. One of my favorite things is sweet cornbread and this crust has a very similar taste. The sweet corn flavor also compliments the rhubarb-blueberry combo well. But I think it would taste equally as good if you used strawberries or cherries or any other berry you like.
I also love the rustic look of these tarts. I think they’re just as pretty as the tarts I’ve made in my tart pans, but they’re so much easier to make. You don’t need special pans or even a rolling pin, it’s all made by hand. Just press the dough in to a circle, spoon some of the compote in the middle and fold up the sides. So simple!
This recipe is also very flexible. You need about 3 hours but most of that is waiting for things to cook or freeze, so you can go do other stuff. If you don’t have the time for that, you can divide it up by making the compote a day or two ahead of time or you can even form the tarts and freeze them for up to two weeks before you cook them. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be able to pull one of these out my freezer and bake it for an easy dessert one night.
adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
Dessert | Servings: 10 tarts
Prep time: 40 min | Cook time: 1 hour 5 minutes | Total time: 2 hour 45 min
- 1 lb. rhubarb stalks, cut on the diagonal into 3/4 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 3 heaping cups blueberries
- 1 1/4 cups muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
- Zest of 1 medium orange (about 1/2 tbsp.)
- 1 cup corn flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 oz. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- Set aside 1 cup of chopped rhubarb and 1 cup of blueberries. Add the remaining 2 cups each of rhubarb and blueberries to a large heavy-bottomed pot.
- Stir in the brown sugar and orange zest. Cover and turn the heat to medium-low. (You must start slowly so the rhubarb will release it’s juice as it warms up.) Cook for about 15 minutes until the mixture is saucy.
- Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium. Cook for 15-17 minutes, stirring regularly until the rhubarb and blueberries are completely broken down. You’ll know it’s ready when you can drag a spoon through the mixture and it leaves a trail on the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the the remaining rhubarb and blueberries. Pour the compote onto a large baking dish to cool.
- Sift the corn flour, flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt into a mixer bowl (but pour any chunky leftover bits back in).
- Add in the butter and mix on low speed using the paddle attachment for about a minute to break up the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is course and pebble-y.
- Add the heavy cream and egg yolks and mix until combined. The dough should be crumbly but come together when squeezed.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (using a scale helps a lot!).
On a lightly floured surface, take one piece and use the heel of your hand to flatten it evenly into a circle about 5 inches across. Make sure you can easily lift the dough from the counter and it’s not sticking. My dough was a bit sticky, so I had to scrape it off and flip the round a few times to get both sides sufficiently floured.
- Spoon 1/4 cup of the blueberry-rhubarb filling into the the center of the dough. Gently fold the edges of the dough in toward the filling to create an ruffled/rustic looking edge. Slide a scraper or metal spatula underneath and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
- Put the tarts in to the freezer to harder for a least an hour. At that point you can take them out to bake or wrap them tightly in plastic and store in the freezer for up to two weeks.
- Preheat the oven 375 degrees (F). Line two baking sheets with parchment and place the tarts on them. Bake for 35 minutes or until the tarts are brown and filling is bubbling and thick.
Eat warm or at room temperature. You can heat them up in the microwave for 30 seconds. Great with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
Store wrapped tightly in plastic or in a sealed container for up to 3 days.