Bastien called me in a panic from one of our favorite markets. I could hear the hustle and bustle of tourists and little old ladies, probably all waiting to be served. He jumped straight to the point. “There is rhubarb!! But it’s expensive, do I buy??”
“How expensive?” I asked…
“Well…just expensive, boff…” the sounds of hustle and bustle seemed be crowding in. I could tell that he needed to act.
“Just buy! Buy! We’ve been rhubarb-deprived for too long!” That was the response he had been hoping for.
“Ok! A tout à l’heure!”
In the north, rhubarb was usually abundant and cheap when the spring + summer season rolled around. The vegetable just isn’t so common in the south. So when we come across it, well… we act.
Not the most common of vegetables, rhubarb looks like celery but is extremely tart… perfect for making desserts and jams. The leaves are toxic, so don’t think of eating those. It is usually sold without the leaves.
This is another simple recipe that you can make even when you don’t feel like tackling the kitchen, especially if you have tart dough already prepared in the freezer. A minimum of slicing, a minimum of measuring…
lemon (if you have any)
Preheat the oven to about 375°F or 190°C.
Press the tart dough into the tart pan of your choice, or spread onto a cookie sheet and form little edges to help hold in the rhubarb juices. Keep in the fridge while preparing the rest.
Use a potato peeler to remove the skins of the rhubarb, as they can be difficult to chew. I saved a few of the skins, as they were a pretty red color. After passing them in a sugar syrup to make them shiny, I used one to add a splash of color to the cooked tart as you can see in the top photos.
Slice the rhubarb stalks as you would like, or not at all, and place them on your tart dough. Sprinkle with about 3/4 cups of sugar, give or take. If you have a lemon, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the tart. This will help the sugar and rhubarb juice to thicken in the oven creating a delicious tart syrupy sauce. Keep in mind that the sugar will dissolve in the oven, and that the rhubarb will shrink.
Bake for about 45 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of your tart. When the crust is golden brown, the sugar all melted and beginning to caramelize, you will know that it’s ready. Allow to cool before slicing. Serve as is, or with a dab of whipped or ice cream.
Wear a bright polka-dotted dress or tie and serve in the summer time!