As easy and delicious as it is beautiful!
This is a dessert that’s full of surprises. The free-form pastry is a snap to make and roll out and the jammy rhubarb compote make a great base layer for pretty-in-pink rhubarb. If your rhubarb stalks are really thick, you can slice them lengthwise before cutting into pieces and arranging them on top of the cooked rhubarb layer. Be sure to allow enough time for the tart to cool completely before serving. We love it ‘as is’ but it would also be great with whipped cream or ice cream.
For the pastry:
- 1 3/4 cups (445 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
- 3/4 cup (185 mL) cold butter
- 1 egg yolk (save the white for glazing the pastry)
- 5 tablespoons (75 mL) cold water
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) fresh or frozen rhubarb stalks, divided
- 1 cup (250 mL) white (granulated) sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) corn starch
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) minced candied ginger (or more, to taste)
To glaze the tart:
- Reserved egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) white (granulated) sugar
- Prepare the pie crust dough by placing flour, sugar and salt into food processor. Pulse briefly to combine then cut the butter into small pieces and add to the processor. Pulse (short on and off bursts) until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Beat egg yolk lightly, add water. With machine running, add liquids to flour mixture, then immediately turn off machine.
- Turn mixture (it will still be crumbly) out onto a beeswax wrap, piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and gently knead together into a ball. Flatten mixture into a circle about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, and refrigerate for one hour or up to three days.
- If you don’t have a food processor, grate the very cold butter into the flour mixture which has been placed in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg and water mixture then work the dough gently with your hands until you can gather it into a ball. Proceed to flatten, wrap and refrigerate it, as above.
- Prepare the first layer of filling by chopping several of the rhubarb stalks into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces, enough to measure out 2 cups (500 mL). Chop just one at a time so you don’t make extra – you’ll want longer pieces for the rest of the filling.
- In a medium-sized pot, whisk together the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Add the chopped rhubarb. Place pot on medium heat and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the sugar has melted, the rhubarb has started to dissolve and the mixture has thickened, about 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; stir in vanilla and candied ginger. Let cool at room temperature.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before rolling out between two sheets of parchment paper to a 14 inch (35 cm) diameter circle, of even thickness. Transfer dough (with parchment paper underneath) to a large baking sheet (a pizza pan works well).
- Slice remaining rhubarb stalks into 1 – 4 inch (2.5 – 10 cm) pieces. If you want to arrange them in a pattern, it’s helpful to do this on the counter first before you lay the rhubarb out in the pastry shell.
- Gently pour the cooked rhubarb mixture into the centre of the large pastry circle. It will spread out on its own, leaving you with an empty border approximately 2 inches (5 cm) all the way around. Lay the pieces of rhubarb on top of the cooked rhubarb, maintaining the empty border.
- Fold pastry border up over fruit, leaving the centre of the pie open (so fruit shows in centre).
- Glaze pastry with beaten egg white, pressing folds gently to seal; sprinkle pastry with sugar. Transfer to the fridge to chill for 20 minutes or up to an hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until crust is golden and filling slightly bubbly.
- Cool on a rack for at least an hour before serving.
Serves 8 – 10.