I had originally planned on having this online for July 4th–its seasonal, the flavors are sophisticated and refreshing (perfect way to end a barbecue!), and the colors are vibrant and appropriately patriotic (well, its kind red, white, and blue, right?). Oh well, better late than never, because this one’s a keeper for sure: a blueberry rhubarb cream tart that will have everybody begging for seconds.
Once I finally discovered my love for rhubarb and how wonderfully it pairs with strawberries, I started trying to make up for lost time and work it into whatever I could. But I’d realized how little I’ve really come to appreciate rhubarb–I mean every use of it so far has been with strawberries! So it finally seemed time to let it shine in a different light.
This tart starts with a graham cracker crust and then, a light and delightfully tart rhubarb cream as filling. This was topped off with a rustic arrangement of sweet, glazed blueberries. The level of tartness is a point of contention for some (and easily altered with more sugar, a good idea if non-rhubarb fans are in the midst), but I decided to keep things pretty tart for this dessert. The motivation? (1) Let rhubarb be rhubarb and (2) provide an even starker contrast for the blueberries so as to further highlight their sweetness.
I loved this tart and it only further solidifies my love of rhubarb. It just felt summery, refreshing, and as far as desserts go, didn’t feel like an over-indulgence. Plus, the colors were really quite dramatic! Unfortunately, there was one downside that would lead to a change next time. Further down, you’ll see a slice of this tart…where “slice” is a word I use loosely. The rhubarb cream filling was simply a little too runny to stand up on its own (more pudding-like than pie filling as far as consistency), but like I said, I loved it and wouldn’t change it at all. So instead, I just wouldn’t make a big old tart, opting to do single-serve tartlets (which means no slicing is necessary!).
Seeing how this is a great way to enjoy blueberries, I thought I’d include this in this month’s Sugar High Friday’s, hosted by Susan at Foodblogga where the focus is berries (SHF is one of my favorite dessert-centric events started many moons ago…). Also, I’d recommend taking a peak at my original inspiration for this dessert since its also pretty darn sexy.
- 1 Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 lb rhubarb
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 water
- orange zest
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- orange zest
- 3 Tbsp butter
- Blueberry topping
- 1.67 cups blueberries
- 1 Tbsp sugar
Begin by preparing your graham cracker crust and pre-baking it blind (325°F for 18 minutes). Set it aside to cool down.
Get ready by dicing up the rhubarb and zesting an orange. If you really like rhubarb, you’ll be eating a few pieces as you go. If the thought of this disgusts you, you might consider adding more sugar to the recipe than I recommend. 😉
In a saucepan, add the diced rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, and water, warming up to a boil and then dropping to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rhubarb becomes incredibly tender and mushy.
Once sufficiently cooked, puree this mixture in a blender/food processor and set it aside in an ice bath to cool down.
Now, onto the creamy/custardy part of the rhubarb filling. Set up a gently simmering pan of hot water and prop a mixing bowl over it (a double boiler) such that the bowl is not touching the water. In the bowl and using an electric hand mixer (or just constantly and very quickly beating with a whisk), whisk the eggs, sugar, and orange zest for about 5-7 minutes or until creamy and thick. Take care not to overcook or overheat the eggs or you risk making a scrambled mess.
Now that the eggs are done, just in case any scrambling did happen, pour the egg mixture through a strainer into another bowl on an ice bath, so as to remove any little bits and to prevent the eggs from cooking any further. Immediately start mixing in the butter in small chunks, stirring to enrich the custard as the butter slowly melts.
Finally, fold the rhubarb mixture from earlier into the egg custard mixture you just prepared. Pour this into your pre-baked pie crust and smooth it out. Set this aside in the fridge for now (don’t put plastic wrap on it just yet).
Now, onto the blueberry topping. In a saucepan, warm up the sugar and about 2/3 cup of the blueberries, simmering for about 10 minutes or so until they pop and make a delicious mess that’s begging to stain something. Crush these further with a potato masher.
Now, strain the cooked and crushed blueberries into a large bowl (where the rest of your blueberries are waiting), pressing and squeezing to get every last bit of delicious juice out of those berries and into the bowl. Toss the whole berries well in the juice so that they are all nicely coated.
Finally, gently place the blueberries atop the rhubarb cream, drizzling any excess juice as you see fit. Let this chill in the fridge for a bit so as to firm up a little more.
And now, an optional step for garnish. I was impressed when I saw Ms. Glaze’s rhubarb ribbons, so I thought I’d give it a try. Look at mine and hers–the reason one of us is paid to cook ought to be pretty obvious. 😉
Making them is quite easy though–I think I just needed a bit more finesse. I didn’t have a mandoline, so I made carefully sliced thin slivers of rhubarb, tossed with sugar, and then let them dry in the oven on low heat for a good while.
Finally, carefully cut a slice (lol, see what I mean about those clean slices?), top with a twisted rhubarb ribbon, and enjoy!