Jaws will drop when you serve your guests this gorgeous rhubarb dessert! Thin slices of tart, seasonal rhubarb top a sweet almond frangipane filling, nestled into a buttery shortbread crust. It’s as delicious as it is beautiful!
For the life of me, I can’t be sure if I thought of this myself or saw it somewhere. I swear, I look at so many genius food ideas every day, I can’t even keep it straight!
I do know that last year, Sprinkle Bakes covered a cake in thin ribbons of poached rhubarb and my jaw hit the floor.
I get so excited about rhubarb every year. I think my family thinks I’m nuts. But I only just discovered it a few years ago and I feel like I need to make up for all those sad years where there was no rhubarb in my life!
If you’ve never had it, it’s the loveliest pink-y red color, with stalks like celery, but a flavor that reminds me more of a tart apple. It comes into grocery stores in spring, and if you blink you could easily miss it. This is why I get a little crazed every year around this time. Once it’s gone you won’t see it again for a full year.
This past weekend we were in the Hudson River Valley visiting my in-laws. We hit a farmers market while we were there, and lo and behold they were selling big rhubarb plants in pots. We snatched one up in a heartbeat, so from now on I know I’ll have rhubarb to play with every spring 😉
Yes, I play with my food. This tart was an especially fun little project. I completed it in a couple hours, maybe less, but I’m not even gonna pretend this isn’t fussy. This is the very definition of fussy food- so if you’ve got zero patience for those kind of shenanigans, it’s probably not for you. But if you are artsy-fartsy and good with your hands and you just want to floor everyone in the best possible way, give this a go. I bet you’ll really enjoy it.
Start by slicing the rhubarb stalks, long-ways, on a mandolin slicer. I think this would work well with a veggie peeler too though. Make the slices about 1/16-inch thick and then poach them in simmering sugar water for a minute, just until they’re soft enough to work with. Mine were like very al dente pasta almost. Then, just lay them out on a sheet of parchment in a lattice pattern. First, line them up horizontally, tight close together with the sides touching. Then, flip up every other strip and lay another ribbon cross-wise. Keep working in this way until the sheet of lattice-woven rhubarb is big enough to cover the whole top of your tart.
The crust is simple enough; you make it in the food processor and it only takes about 20 minutes total active time to mix it up, roll it out, and place it in the tart pan.
I decided to go with a frangipane filling, just for something different. It’s mostly ground almonds, sugar, eggs, and brown butter, baked in the shell, but the complex flavor you get from the rum, vanilla bean, and lemon is really nice! You could also go with a pastry cream filling, as a nut-free option, and I think it would be equally delish!
Once everything’s filled, baked, and cooled, you just flip that rhubarb lattice sheet on top, peel off the parchment, and trim the excess away with kitchen shears. Brush the leftover poaching liquid on top to give it a shiny pink glaze, and put on your most gracious smile, because lots of oohs and ahs are coming your way!
A few useful tools you may need for this recipe:
This post contains affiliate sales links.
For the Shortbread Crust
For the Frangipane Filling
For the Rhubarb Lattice Topping
- 8 -10 stalks fresh rhubarb
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
To make the shortbread crust
- Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Combine the egg, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl and add to the flour/butter mixture, while running the machine.
- Continue to process until the dough comes together into a ball.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Roll the dough to a thickness of about 3/16-inch.
- Place it in the tart pan, trimming away any excess.
- Line with foil and ceramic pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden.
To make the frangipane filling
- Place the butter in a small pan and cook over medium heat until nutty-brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the almond meal, sugar, egg, rum, vanilla, zest, almond extract, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.
- Mix in the browned butter, and transfer the mixture to the partially baked tart shell.
- Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
- Cool completely and top with rhubarb lattice.
To make the rhubarb lattice topping
- Using a mandolin slicer or vegetable peeler, slice the rhubarb long-ways to a thickness of about 1/16-inch.
- Place the water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a bare simmer, and add 4 or 5 slices of rhubarb. Cook until slightly softened, then drain on paper towels. Repeat, until all the rhubarb is cooked. Reserve the remaining syrup.
- Line up slices of cooked rhubarb side-by-side on a sheet of parchment. Fold alternating slices up, and place perpendicular slices over, in a lattice pattern. Repeat until the sheet of lattice is big enough to cover the entire top of the tart.
- Flip the sheet onto the top of the cooled tart, and peel the parchment away. Trim off any overhang with kitchen shears.
- Using a silicone pastry brush, dab the remaining poaching liquid over the lattice to glaze.