There’s always things about every season that I look forward to… more specifically, seasonal ingredients that I anticipate every year! So lets talk about springtime. And caramelized rhubarb.
Growing up, we always had a rhubarb plant out back. Suddenly would just arrive every spring, growing wild and free! I have many fond memories of my mom having us go cut some and then she’d make the annual rhubarb pie. No occasion needed; the rhubarb was the occasion!
We enjoyed the pie together as a family, always of course, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. On these days my brothers and I found that the ordinary day was not so normal anymore…it was perfectly delicious and just as it should be :).
This caramelized rhubarb and blood orange tart is my fresh, seasonal take on childhood memories.
Here you’ll find an easy recipe where the rhubarb pre-cooks in a cast iron skillet on the stove, with butter and sugar, until the juice and sugar turn to a thick, caramel-like syrup.
The crust is then pre-baked, then made ready to layer in the caramelized rhubarb. It then goes back into the oven to bake again, and the finishing touch is to sprinkle with toasted almonds and powdered sugar. Just like that, you have an easy weekend dessert!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this week’s recipe! Both @alexandra_p_hobson and 2bakersandfakers requested gluten free, so I made sure to cater this recipe accordingly – thanks you two for jumping in on the curation!
I hope you can make this recipe over the weekend, and take full advantage of the springtime. If you do so, I’d love to see! Share by tagging me in your images on Instagram and make sure to use my hashtag #ckweekends and share with the community.
Happy weekend cooking!
Caramelized Rhubarb & Blood Orange Tart
- 940g (approx. 2 lbs) fresh rhubarb
- 57g (1/4 cup) + 2 tablespoons butter, separated
- 107g (1/2 cup) white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tablespoons blood orange juice, fresh squeezed
- pinch sea salt
- 1 egg white
- 57g (1/2 cup) sliced almonds
- powdered sugar
- whipped cream (optional for serving)
- 215 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour (or GF blend, I use King Arthur)
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 114 g (1/2 cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup ice water
Prepare rhubarb by rinsing thoroughly to remove any dirt and cut off ends by about 1/2”. Cut stalks into 4” long sections, leaving the thickness as is.
In a cast iron skillet on medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons butter until melted. Add in sugar and stir. Toss in rinsed, cut rhubarb (make sure to pat dry so it's not wet when going into the pan), stir until fully incorporated so that sugar evenly coats the stalks. Keep stove on med-low heat, cover pan for 1 minute, and then lift lid and continue to cook rhubarb for another 4 minutes. *Do not stir, rhubarb will fall apart and completely lose it’s shape. Simply lift pan and rotate side to side gently so that the sugar caramelizes evenly. You can do this once or twice over this 5 minute process.
Meanwhile, juice orange. In small bowl, combine juice, remaining 2 tablespoons warmed butter and pinch of sea salt. Stir. Slowly pour mixture evenly across skillet, and allow rhubarb to continue to caramelize. Watch for a deep amber color in sugar and keep a close eye so it does not burn, about another 15 - 20 minutes or so. Remove from heat when the liquid surrounding the rhubarb is thick and syrupy. Allow to cool to room temperature in pan ( this will also help the rhubarb firm up enough to lift from pan and into the crust, keeping it’s shape).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To prepare the crust, pulse flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse in short stints until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Finish by pulsing in up to 1/4 cup ice cold water just until a dough ball forms.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice, pressing to incorporate any dry bits of flour and add a sprinkle of extra flour if it’s too sticky to mold. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/4” thick.
Grease a small 8x10 baking dish (this is the size I used but you could use any similar in size pan, square or round) and fill with dough, pressing edges in. In a small bowl, whisk egg white. Poke crust with fork on base, brush on egg white wash and bake for approximately 8-10 minutes as a pre bake step.
Note: do not completely bake crust, you want it half-baked before being filled since the rhubarb will essentially be finished before going into the oven with the crust.
Remove crust from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully lift caramelized rhubarb, stalk by stalk into the tart, placing each stalk as close together as possible to the next. Return to oven and bake for approximately 15-25 minutes, or until the center of the tart is bubbling, and the crust is golden brown.
While the tart is baking, prepare toasted almonds. Warm cast iron skillet on medium heat, adding 2 tablespoons of butter to melt. Add almonds and stir until butter evenly coats all. Add a pinch of sea salt and toast, stirring continuously until almonds are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
When the tart is fully baked, remove from oven, sprinkle toasted almonds and powdered sugar on top, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Note: 2 lbs of rhubarb will shrink in size during caramelization. Depending on your size of pan, you may need to use just slightly less. You can also stack up extra rhubarb on a second layer if needed… always a win!