rustic-rhubarb-tarts Recipes

rustic rhubarb tarts

I hadn’t intended to audition any new rhubarb recipes this year. Between last year’s cobbler and previous seasons’ filled crumb coffee cake, strawberry rhubarb crumble, strawberry rhubarb pie, loaf cake and even compote, I was pretty sure I had the rhubarb terrain well-covered. But then I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket two weeks ago with Adam and we were both lured in by the bundled stalks. Because they’re shiny and pretty and pearly and pink and I cannot speak for Adam but I am incapable of resisting shiny pretty pearly pink things, nor do I wish to.

shiny pearly rhubarb stalks

I also hadn’t intended to bake another recipe from my new cookbook obsession, Good to the Grain, just yet. For the sake of my hips. For the sake of repetition, given that I already cannot stop talking about it (“The photos!” “The fresh ideas!” “Those danish, aaah!”). I needed to put it on a top shelf and come back to it with some willpower. Problem was, in the process of putting it away, those free-form rhubarb tarts on the cover taunted me once again, “Don’t you have rhubarb to use up? You know you wanna!”

rhubarb cross sectionrhubarb, sliced on the diagonalyolks, cream and dry ingredientspressing down the doughfilling the tartrhubarb tarts, ready to bake

Thus, here I am, my willpower dragging its tail behind it once again, and I brought you some rustic rhubarb tarts. They’re not only wonderful — a tart rhubarb compote with vanilla bean and dark brown sugar inside a mixed corn flour and cornmeal crust, barely sweet — but completely brilliant. You don’t need a rolling pin. You don’t need tart rings. You’re not blind-baking anything (shudder). You don’t need to play supermarket roulette looking for the perfect jam to hinge the whole dessert upon. The rustic style of the dessert is such that the more haphazard you are — tears! uneven edges! floppy sides! wild curls! — the better they look. Plus, because they hang out the freezer for an hour before you bake them (the only time the dough needs to be chilled, hooray!) you’ve got the ultimate “do ahead” built into the recipe — keep them in the freezer until you actually need them, so you can always serve them warm. Your friends will thank you, if you’re nice enough to share. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

rhubarb tarts
rhubarb tartlets, corn flour crust

One year ago: Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
Three years ago: Homemade Oreos

Rustic Rhubarb Tarts
Adapted from Good to the Grain

The original recipe included a rhubarb hibiscus compote which I am sure would be wonderful, but I’m not so into the floral thing and quite into the rhubarb-vanilla bean combination, so I changed it. Because I’m the boss in my own kitchen. The original recipe also used 2 pounds of rhubarb. I discovered I’d only brought home 1 1/2 pounds of rhubarb, scaled the recipe down, then found that my tarts did best with less than the recommend amount of compote, 3 tablespoons instead of 4, which meant than I only needed 3/4 of the volume — brilliant! It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly and I am recommending the same below.

I bet you would also like to know, “Why corn flour?” Well, Kim Boyce says that she loves cornmeal but found that by combining it with corn flour she could get the full flavor and pretty color of cornmeal without the rough bite. It also makes for a wonderfully delicate crust, as it has no gluten in it, but by combining it with regular flour, you can get the structure you need. How about that!

1 cup corn flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1 batch Rhubarb Vanilla Compote (recipe below)

In a food processor: Combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and pulse in short bursts, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add heavy cream and egg yolks and pulse until combined; it will look crumbly but it will become one mass when kneaded together.

In a stand mixer: Whisk the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, add the butter and turn the mixture speed to low (you’ll want to lock the top, so the mixture doesn’t fly about) and mix to break up the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is as coarse as cornmeal. Add the heavy cream and egg yolks and mix until combined. The dough will look crumbly but when pinched between your fingers, it will come together.

By hand: The butter can also be blended into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, or you fingertips. The cream and egg yolks can be mixed into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon. You’ll likely want to turn the dough out onto a counter to gently knead it into one mass.

Shape the tarts: Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Lightly flour a work surface and using the heel of your hand, flatten the dough into a rough circle. Continue flattening until it is approximately 5 inches in diameter. Try to work quickly, so the dough doesn’t get too warm and soft, making it harder to handle. For more elegant edges, gently flatten the outer edge of the circle with your fingertips, making it thinner than the rest of the dough.

Spoon 3 tablespoons of the Rhubarb Vanilla Compote into the center of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough toward the compote and up, to create a ruffled edge; continue around the perimeter, letting the ruffles be their bad irregular selves. Slide a bench scraper or spatula under the tart and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough. Freeze the tarts on their tray for at least 1 hour or up to 2 weeks, wrapped tightly in plastic.

Bake the tarts: Preheat over to 375°F. Bake tarts, still frozen, for about 35 minutes or until the edges of the tarts are brown and the rhubarb is bubbling and thick. Serve warm or at room temperature. The tarts keep in an airtight container (or not, as I forgot to wrap mine and they were still awesome the next day) for up to 2 days.

Rhubarb Vanilla Compote

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (i.e. 15 tablespoons, if you want to drive yourself mad)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Rinse the rhubarb stalks and trim the very ends. Cut them in half lengthwise (unless they’re very slim) and then on the diagonal into 3/4-inch chunks. Leaving the last 1 1/2 cups aside, put 3 cups of the rhubarb into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pods and turn the heat to medium low. (You want to start at a low temperature to encourage the rhubarb to release its liquid. Unlike most compotes, this one adds no water.) Cook the rhubarb mixture, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is saucy. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium, cooking an additional 15 to 17 minutes, or until the rhubarb is completely broken down and thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan. Discard your vanilla bean pods and add remaining rhubarb chunks to the compote. Pour the compote out onto a large plate to cool.

Do ahead: This keeps for one week in the fridge. It can also be used to fill pies, crisps and cobblers.

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234 comments on rustic rhubarb tarts

  1. Yum, they look like little purses! They both look and sound delicious. Next time I find myself with rhubarb I think I’ll have to make these.

  2. I just made these (only with leftover pie crust dough) today! It is a fabulous way to use up leftover rhubarb compote. I really like the idea of using corn flour. The cookbook sounds terrific and I’m intrigued after seeing a few recipes from it across the web.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever had rhubarb before! But I’ve heard such good things that I’ll have to jump on the bandwagon soon…’tis the season, after all. Thanks for sharing such a drool-worthy recipe!

  4. Jenny

    I’ve been agonizing over the perfect rhubarb dessert. I had taken the cornmeal crust recipe from your easy jam tart a few posts ago, filled it with jam, first, then not enough rhubarb, then too much rhubarb. I’d just come to the conclusion that I need to make the compote FIRST and then add it to the cornmeal crust… but in what form.

    And then you posted this. And conveniently answered all my prayers.

    Your blog is the perfect combination of form and function. Not so much tangential chatter that I have to scroll madly while growling, “Okay, okay; where’s the recipe???” but enough down-to-earth humor that I want to read because I know you are a real person with the cutest baby that has single-handedly convinced me that Asian babies are not always cuter than white ones.

    Be proud of your genes.

  5. these look terrific. i subscribe to the school of you-can-never-have-too-much-rhubarb. i have some shortcrust pastry in the freezer which i need to use up – do you think that would work as a substitute for the crust recipe you have here? was worried that with the rhubarb compote it might be too sweet?

  6. Everyone I know seems to be raving about rhubarb but I’ve never had it. Its also borderline impossible for me to find. And when I do, it will probably be expensive. For example, I finally found ramps the other day and they were $20 per pound. I have no idea if that is a lot for ramps having never seen them before, but it made me shudder.

    If I ever find rhubarb though, I am definitely making these.

  7. MMmm. My mom and I “adopted” a rhubarb plant that grows next to the plots of a community garden (I swear, it does not belong to anyone, and no one else seems to notice that it is edible, so its not stealing), and I really like corn flours and sweet things together. Also, I made your carrot salad of yesterday, for dinner tonight, with a steak. My husband actually THANKED me for making a vegetable salad!

  8. Okay, that’s it. You talked me into it. I was wondering which one of the wonderful recipes from this book I was going to convert to gluten-free next. This one.

  9. Francheska

    Now if they only sold Rhubarb here…

    I’ve never seen or tasted them im very curious they remind me of sugarcanes :(

  10. These are so cute! I love the rustic nature of it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen or noticed corn flour in the market before. Do you think this would work with just cornmeal? I guess it would be grainier, but I don’t think I’d mind it.

  11. They look fabulous! It’s definitely rhubarb season. Before you added the all purpose flour, was it just corn flour and cornmeal? An interesting-sounding combination and one that I’d like to try, if I can. I am now borrowing a copy of “Good to the Grain” from my library. Thank you!

  12. You ‘never had rhubarb’ people must be from the South! I’m from Milwaukee and we grew it in our garden. I ate it every month as a kid, my favorite was rhubarb meringue pie. Love it! I remember the giant leaves made me think of elephant ears, but I wasn’t allowed to touch it in the garden as I was told the leaves are poisonous.

  13. I think it’s safe to say that no matter if I feel like I’ve covered rhubarb’s terrain–those green/red stalks are whispering my name with such tangy goodness that I must reignite my love affair. Good job for saying YES to rhubarb.

  14. Tanya

    OMG these look so good! getting hungry already (not good). Can’t wait to pick up a bunch of rhubarb tomorrow and give these a whirl!

  15. Donbiker

    I’m not sure what this sentence means. “Discard your vanilla bean pods and remaining rhubarb chunks to the compote.” Do you mean that these are to be discarded?

  16. youthbaker

    Is it true that rhubarb leaves are poisonous? I have some growing in my back yard and the prospect of poisoning a potential tart eater terrifies me.

    P.S. Nothing better than a rustic tart.

  17. d’oh, wish I had this recipe over the weekend when I was baking bread and had two yolks leftover because I used the whites for something else. Plus it looks yummy. LOVE rhubarb!

  18. Louise

    Yum, will try that when my own rhubarb comes into season in October and I want something different. And Jacob remains super cute!

  19. Babs from gleeful food

    Oh, yum! I have yet to bake something from Good to the Grain, although the book has inspired me to a lot of baking already. I’m not much of a baker, but the recipes in this books are just awesome. Love your adaption!

  20. Bef

    Youthbaker: My understanding is that rhubarb leaves are poisonous.

    Deb: “Cornflour” here in Australia is generally used as a thickener, but I thought it was called “corn starch” in N America. Perhaps you are referring to something different?

    These sure look yummy. Unfortunately rhubarb season is done here for this year. But this past summer I planted rhubarb :) Not allowed to harvest the first year to enable the crown to develop. But now I am really looking forward to next summer’s crop – you know what I’m planning on making with the first picking :)

    1. deb

      Bef — Different from corn starch, which is indeed a thickener. (Or silk-ifier, in the case of powdered sugar and cake flour.)

      Availability — Corn flour is available from Bob’s Red Mill and a slew of other smaller brands. New Yorkers, I bought mine by accident at Kalustyans. I was looking for corn meal and bought something that was labeled corn meal but was actually floury, no grit — I believe it was mislabeled. That said, I am almost positive they have corn flour in bags that are properly labeled too!

      Donbiker — The word “add” is missing. Now fixed!

      Zoe — I didn’t add it, it was in the original recipe. Boyce says she needs to use a blend of flours to make corn flour work for something like this.

  21. So these are the tarts on the cover of my new amazon obsession (in the cart, out of the cart, back in again–oh bother). And with my favorite veggie fruit! Gah! I’m losing my will to resist!

  22. Deb,
    1. the book, I too love this book, I just can’t quit it!
    2. rhubarb, eat as much as you can while you can…
    3. adore, the “shiny pretty pearly pink things”
    4. curls, so sweet!
    5. you, rock as always, thank you!

  23. Debio

    These look great! I have a gargantuan rhubarb patch in my gardenand have made rhubarb crisp and cake this year so far. I have 2 words for you… Rhubarb cheesecake! That is for the weekend!

  24. Beautiful tarts. Love the addition of “rustic” to the name. I’ve been thinking I need to jump on the rhubarb band wagon and this post now cements it.

  25. A dear friend of mine has a rhubarb recipe from her childhood friend’s gramma: a ‘pushed in place’ crumble crust holding not-sweet rhubarb compote under a sweetened meringue…mmmmm. I’ll see if I can get her to share the recipe.

  26. Symphonic Chef

    Wow. Cooked rhubarb is usually no beauty queen, but this is an exception! Can’t wait to try these cuties! (Though nothing beats Jacob’s curls!)

  27. I don’t get it. I keep seeing photos of rhubarb desserts with this very cranberry colored rhubarb filling. My rhubarb cobbler and pie is the color of applesauce. Are you guys dying the filling with something? Is that why you always see rhubarb/strawberry combinations? Or are you just jacking up the saturation in PhotoShop? Your stalks don’t look any redder than the ones out of my garden… It’s a mystery.

    1. deb

      Foy — My sauce was more pink/brown, from the dark brown sugar. Here’s the cooling puddle I spared you guys. Anyway, most of the rhubarb recipes I see combine it with strawberries which allows it to be a lovely pink, also sweeter.

      Hibiscus makes things red, right? That would explain why the tarts on the cover are a much more alluring pink/red than mine are. Too bad I can’t get into edible florals.

  28. The tarts look very good, with not too much fuss. I will have to try the recipe if I find fresh rhubarb again. It seems to have already disappeared from our markets!

  29. Debbie

    I SO agree! I always pass on recipes with that floraly stuff … hibiscus, rosewater, etc. YUCK! On the other hand, vanilla and vanilla beans = YUM!!! :) And a perfect match for rhubarb! I just made yummy strawberry rhubarb scones yesterday … mmmmm.

  30. Petro Borchard

    I have a friend who will love me even more when I make this next when I cook for her – she’s never interested in what is for mains, only which dessert is on the menu and she and I both LOVE the sweet-tart lovelyness that is rhubarb.

    In South Africa I guess corn meal is what we know as mealie meal that is used to make “pap” (grits) that we serve with tomato + onion gravy at bbq’s.

  31. Katie

    These look fantastic–but most of my family despises rhubarb, and I’ve actually never had it. I assume I could use some other fruit-type filling, but I’m not sure what. Jam/preserves seems like it wouldn’t be the right consistency. Maybe I could try doing a sort of pie-filling approach? I’d appreciate others’ suggestions. Thanks!

  32. Nicole

    Here’s how tired I am today – a food processor AND a stand mixer??? And then by hand? Pffft – thought this was supposed to be easy! Then, I got some caffeine, reconvened my brain cells and reread. Ohhh… Yeah! I have lurking rhubarb in the crisper from my CSA and an errand at the organic market today!

  33. I’ve never eaten rhubarb, so I’ve always been a little wary of it as it desert. It always seems like something only Garison Keller enjoys. These, however, look fantastic. And with some old friends having just moved to NY, I’m looking for things I can stick in my freezer and come out looking like a goddess in 15 minutes, because there’s now a constant cocktail party going on around here. You may have saved me.

  34. Christy

    Ah, thank you for posting this recipe! I just received a whole bunch of rhubarb in my produce box and was looking for a recipe with just rhubarb, but couldn’t find one. Everything is strawberry-rhubarb and I haven’t any strawberries just yet. I’m so excited to try this!

  35. We all have rhubarb on the brain!!!!
    I posted my rhubarb cobbler cake yesterday.
    These tarts are gorgeous and I love rhubarb, I wish it was available all year long.

    Stacey Snacks

  36. Heather

    There is one more you have to try – rhubarb custard streusel pie. I was turned off by stewed rhubarb as a kid, but when I tried a pie of this pie decades later it was a relevation. The chunks of rhubarb stay intact, yet soft and there is just enough custard to bind them together. Combine that with an oatmeal streusel topping and oh la la! I first tried it in an Irish restaurant in Ontario, and then found a very close approximation in an old cookbook – once I replaced the top crust with streusel!

  37. Amy

    We just got our first box from our CSA, and we got a GIANT batch of rhubarb. I’m not so familiar with rhubarb, and my husband is down-right scared of it, so this recipe might be a nice way to ease us both into a new veggie-fruit??! Looks awesome!!

  38. Kathy

    Your “wild rings” photo just made my day! I don’t usually cook with rhubarb, but I do love strawberry rhubarb pie, and these casual tarts seem very manageable. Thanks!

  39. Teri

    I was not going to buy another cook book…until I saw Good to the Grain…its amazing. Great recipes. almost as good as SK pictures. Now I will not buy another cookbook till yours is done.

  40. Just got my copy of Good to the Grain yesterday and have been reading and devouring it cover to cover!!! Can’t wait to make these, as well as many other recipes. I already made the figgy buckwheat scones (recipe on 101 Cookbooks) — outstanding.
    Love the wild curls!!!

  41. I’ve read in old cookbooks that corn flour is the same as corn starch. Kim doesn’t mean corn starch, right? She means the stuff that you can only buy at Whole Foods that says corn flour, right?

    1. deb

      Corn flour is from ground corn; corn starch is from the endosperm of the corn, if I understand correctly — they’re not the same product. However, just to make it more confusing, in some places outside the U.S. — such as Australia and the UK, and I’m sure other areas — “cornflour” is how what we sell as “corn starch” in the U.S. is labeled.

  42. Wendy

    WOW Deb!! I just saw your small button on the sidebar announcing your cookbook! Good for you – and I can’t wait till 2012 – I’ll be at the bookstore, book in hand!


  43. I made these this past weekend too! i LOVE that book.

    i actually did half ‘regular’ and half of them gluten/dairy free (for a friend – aren’t i nice?!). i liked the gf ones even better! for those who are curious, I used hemp milk instead of cream, shortening instead of butter, and for the 1 c ap flour, i used 1/2 white rice, 1/4 sorghum, and 1/4 potato starch (in weight, not measurements). i have leftover dough and compote – making the rest tonight!

  44. touched by sun

    I’m curious enough to go to find Good to the Grain at the library so as to try the rhubarb/hibiscus compote. Deb, commercial red hibiscus does stain purple/red–aka sorrel in West Indian communities (and many know it as a drink by the same name), it is also the predominant flavor in Celestial Seasoning’s Red Zinger tea. I find hibiscus to be very NON floral, in fact using it whenever a peculiar to hibiscus complex sour taste is wanted. Hibiscus also doesn’t add a floral fragrance the way other flowers do, like rose water or even lavender. In the Caribbean, it is used for both savories and for sweets but must be actively sweetened as it’s much like rhubarb in that it carries no sweetness of its own.

    I’ll let you know what I think once I try the recipe.

  45. Tweak the shape a wee bit, and these might be my new favorite hamantaschen…

    Also, next time you have an overabundance of rhubarb, you should think about rhubarb liqueur. You know, if you *have* to…

  46. Jackie in TN

    to #58 – (Foy) try not to pull the ‘strings’ on the rhubarb – I chop mine by stacking them on their sides – seems to slice neater without making those stringy things. That is one way your rhubarb will keep its color. My kitchen is without ‘corn flour’ – hmmm, what else will I use it for after the tarts?

  47. Hubby and I have rhubarb growing in our garden for the first time! I’ve never had rhubarb, but he loves it. When it’s time, I’m going to use either this recipe or one of your others – I just can’t decide which one! Whichever it is, though, I’m definitely going to link back to you and tell how wonderful it was. :D

  48. I’m no gardener, but rhubarb is one of the easiest things to grow. Plant it once, and it comes back every year. Everyone should have one in their back yard.

  49. A sweet hello from Frog Hollow Farm! I’m heading off to Whole Foods to buy some rhubarb! It’s such wonderful old-fashioned plant – my mom used to make strawberry-rhubarb pies when I was little. I didn’t appreciate the tartness along with the sweet back then, now I think it will be perfect. Thanks so much, just love your blog and love the Union Square Farmer’s Market – can’t get there enough! Ciao, bella~

  50. Janet

    Slightly off topic, but here goes. Your mini rhubarb tarts today reminded me of your similarly rustic cabbage-mushroom galette, which I made for the first time last week. Really liked it, especially the pastry. But it was a little wintry. I’d like to make a springtime galette for a bunch of vegetarian friends next week — with the same crust! But savory galette recipes (w/o cheese) are hard to find. Any ideas? Recipes? Love your site, your son, and your recipes!

  51. These are adorable and look great! I’m totally thinking free form baby gluten-free tarts! I mean, they already took the first step by using half corn flour. Why not just take it a bit further? And with no need to roll out dough, the gluten-free dough would behave much better.

  52. Actually you could place the hibiscus pods in a little strainer like a closed tea strainer or wraped in a small cheese cloth & tied – place it in with the rhubarb – as the rhubarb released it water – the hibiscus pods will release their color. Just an idea. The color is amazing!

  53. Lynne

    Is the corn flour the same as Masa Harina – the super silky flour like cornmeal used for tamales? If so, I’ll be set to make this just as soon as a few more of my rhubarb stalks grow a bit bigger.

    and yes, I just ordered the Good to the Grain book. If anyone is interested, BOMC2 has it for $12.95 & free shipping.

    1. deb

      Lynne — I am pretty sure it is the same as Masa Harina. But I would wait for someone else to jump in and agree before going on my word alone!

      Gale — You use the whole stalk. Just trim the ends and if yours still have them on, the leaves.

  54. Jen

    I have a pound of rhubarb staring at me from the top shelf of my refridgerator every time I open it. I think you have inspired me to do something with it tonight!

  55. Redsoxweddingbliss

    I have a sensitivity/mild allergy to cane sugar and can’t use the brown sugar called for in the compote. I usually substitute palm sugar for cane sugar, but haven’t ventured into the brown sugar/palm sugar sub yet. Any advice or thoughts?

  56. Talk to me about picking out rhubarb. I love the stuff, but I’ve never cooked it myself. I assumed one should only use the red parts, but you appear to have used the green parts too. Is the whole stalk properly ripened even if only part of it is red? Sorry for being so helpless!

  57. Anna

    I’ve been eying that cookbook for the last month or so — you really couldn’t put it down? I’m a collector of fun flours (buckwheat, whole wheat, even amaranth) but finding good recipes for them is tricky.

  58. Erin R.

    Awesome with the Masa Harina! I was all stumped about the cornflour, which I have never seen before, but then I remembered that Masa Harina is absolutely EVERYWHERE around here. I’m glad someone else thought of it, too. I”m all set to make these now for Memorial weekend. Do you suppose they’d be too sweet with a few strawberries thrown in?

  59. Nancy

    So, my co-worker just came up behind me and asked who that cute baby is…and I had a hard time not saying, “Oh, that’s my friend’s baby”. Anyway, he says your baby has great salad (hair).

    Off I go to order this cookbook!

  60. i’m seriously thinking about abandoning my job this morning to make these rhubarb dreams…it is so nice to see someone who loves rhubarb – an unparalleled taste (in my opinion obvs). as someone who is gluten-free, i think i can adapt these and the corn flour is really a wonderful addition. thank you again.

  61. JanetP

    Just wanted to say thanks for including the directions for making it by hand. Not only do I not own a KitchenAid, but I don’t even have a stand mixer, so I do everything by hand. It’s usually an easy transition to figure out the recipe, but thanks!

    1. deb

      Maggie — I have never peeled rhubarb. It is certainly not tough if you cook it.

      Flours — I have only tried this recipe as written. In theory, however, you could swap additional regular flour for the corn flour. I’d love to hear from someone who gives it a spin!

  62. Maggie

    Do you peal your rhubarb? My husband’s grandmother told me you always have to peal rhubarb because the outside is tough and stringy, so I do. But, I hate doing it, so I’d really like to know that she’s wrong and that this step is unnecessary.

  63. Masa harina is treated with limewater (slaked lime), which is a chemical compound (not lime juice!) so it will not taste or produce the same result as corn flour – wiki talks about it under “masa.” I recently made a rhubarb galette similar to this from an America’s Test Kitchen adaptation of a recipe from a restaurant named Blue Hour in Portland, OR. The filling also had vanilla bean with the addition of lemon zest. The rhubarb was not cooked down but just softened to release its juices which were then saved and simmered down to serve as a sauce alongside – the galette dough even had corn meal in it, but called for buttermilk rather than cream. This looks equally amazing. I really want this cookbook.

  64. rebecca

    these look divine! i’m getting ready to move soon, though, and don’t want to buy corn flour (which i won’t end up using all of). can i just use all purpose flour and cornmeal instead?

  65. Lisa

    I got this for my mom for Mother’s Day–huge hit, and thanks, Deb for the recommendation! I made her the Beet and Quinoa Pancakes for breakfast–fantastic. And as you mentioned, she’s not preachy. Great book. Can’t wait to try these!

  66. Lynne

    Okay, per the Bob’s Red Mill website, here’s the cornflour vs masa harina answer:

    Golden Masa Harina Corn Flour
    Masa Harina Flour is used to make authentic Mexican tortillas. It is made from corn soaked in lime then dried before grinding.

    Corn Flour
    Corn Flour is freshly stone ground at Bob’s Red Mill and contains all of the bran, germ and endosperm. Add it to your favorite pancake, biscuit or bread recipe for added flavor and nutrition. Try making your favorite cornbread recipe with part or all corn flour instead of cornmeal. Your cornbread will be richer and less crumbly when made this way. Available in regular or organic. (there was also a gluten free version listed for them that needs it.)

    I have never seen the Bob’s Corn Flour in the store, but will check a couple of places en route home tonight. I’m really hoping that by the weekend, my first rhubarb will be ready to pick.

  67. I really need to try something with rhubarb. I remember how much I loved it as a child but then for some reason stopped finding it in my kitchen (largely because my mom always bought the rhubarb.. but then I moved out..). These tarts are adorable and look positively delicious!!

  68. Hannahrama

    We’re lovin’ the good to the grain action in our house- it’s fab book so far!

    I see that Jacob’s a fan of the gin….

  69. Lynne

    Success!! I finally found a store that carries the corn flour. It only took calls to darned near every health food/gourmet place in a 3 county area. Oddly enough it’s one that husband drives right past en route to his buddy’s place….40 miles from our house & since he’s going there tonight…….. BTW he has now announced that the Smitten Kitchen is clearly a dangerous place. Be proud.

  70. renee

    Is rhubarb a veggie or a fruit? I keep putting that cookbook in and out of my amazon cart too. Do you all think she uses too many refined flours though?

    1. deb

      Amy — Blind baking is when you line an unbaked pie crust with foil or parchment and fill it with pie weights, then bake it until it sets — i.e. blind because you can’t see what is happening. It is used to “set” tart crusts so that when they are baked with filling inside they don’t get soggy.

  71. Ellie

    I’ve made tarts like these, but the recipe I used had strawberries and the tarts were sprinkled with demerara sugar. A nice alternative :)

  72. Ms. S

    Hey, I completely agree with Touched by Sun, Hibiscus has a complex fruity sweet/tart slightly citrus-y flavor with no flowery taste at all. I’ve never thought to pair it with rhubarb, but it makes complete sense. Also, isn’t corn flour the same as masa? You know, like what tortillas are made from? Here in CA every grocery store carries masa, so if they are one and the same no special trips to Whole Foods and the like required, and masa is CHEAP!

  73. Ms. S

    Ooops! My bad! I just realized the whole masa/corn flour thing has already been covered in previous posts and they are not the same. That’s what I get for being impatient and not reading all 131 posts before replying. Mea Culpa!

  74. Gorgeous! One little note about the hibiscus flowers, in case anyone is tempted: their flavor is actually not floral, it’s rather more sour and bright. So they really punch up the rhubarb flavor and also stain the compote this incredible, juicy, gorgeous pink.

  75. touched by sun

    Hibiscus is also know in Latin America as flor de Jamaica (ha-may-ca), which is a popular aguas frescas.

  76. This pastry sounds incredible and I love the rustic look of the tarts.
    The Vanilla rhubarb compote sounds delicious. I have some rhubarb waiting for me int he garden….hmmm :)

  77. Glenda

    I had a jam recently studded with star anise flavour. Might we consider it instead of / in addition to the vanilla? I think it would provide a ‘low note’ layering compliment to the fruit.

  78. Sarah

    Another good combo for rhubarb: 750g rhubarb, juice and zest of 1 orange, few bits of ginger chopped up really small (I think it was supposed to be stem ginger but I didn’t have any, so I used crystallised ginger instead). Sling in a pan and cook til it’s done. So good, so, so good…

  79. Oh my, I can’t believe it is already a rhubarb season! The recipe looks great, I can’t wait to try it for father’s day dessert. My lucky dad, his favorite dessert is rhubarb pie and father’s day happen to be in midst of a rhubarb season.

  80. Cristina

    Thank you for including the “by hand” pastry instructions….much appreciated!! I am a student without a food processor (unfortunately) and am sometimes confounded on how I should do certain recipes without it (ex. how it should look, what I am losing by doing it from hand etc.) Its very helpful to see it explained in the different ways.

  81. Deborah

    In case anyone is curious these are easy to convert to gluten free. My boyfriend is gluten intolerant and so I have been converting everything to gluten free lately. I only had to substitute the flour for gluten free flour that I buy in the health food section of the store. It measures cup for cup. I also used cornflour to flour the board when rolling out because gluten free flour has a clumpy consistency and doesnt really help on the board. Hope that helps anyone who is gluten intolerant!

  82. I, for one, am very glad that you tossed your willpower aside and made these pretty little tarts. The freeform, rustic nature of them is so pretty and perfect for a last-minute dessert.

  83. I just made a rhubarb ricotta galette the other day, kind of on the same order. These look very tasty as well, I love that they are individually sized!

  84. OOO, just picked some at my mom’s (mine’s in it’s first year so no harvest this year). I was mulling over what to make with it and this looks perfect, I especially love that it’s whole grain.

  85. michelle

    I found my dough to be a little too dry and cracked when folding the sides so I used another tbs heavy cream and it held together nicely. Perfect for the Half-way-to-Thanksgiving dinner party tonight!

  86. Tamae

    I couldn’t get the dough to come together at all. It would squeeze into a ball, but it was nowhere near together enough to be patted into circles and picked up. The filling ended up absolutely delicious in a crisp (made from part of the dough, some extra butter, brown sugar, and handful of oats.

  87. Symphonic Chef

    We were feeling impatient, so just made the filling and ate it with crepes and whipped cream. YUM! Loved the vanilla bean in there.

  88. Emma

    I also wanted to thank you for including the “by hand” instructions. It’s always very frustrating for students when recipes call for expensive equipment! Doing it by hand can be more fun anyway :)

  89. Stephanie B

    I made these yesterday and they were delicious!

    I didn’t have corn flour (and didn’t feel like making a run to the store) so I used 1 cup of corn meal and 1.5 cups of regular flour. I had no complaints about the texture or taste.

  90. They look so yum. I love that they look so bright red and pretty. I recently made a rhubarb-pear galette with homemade cajeta but the color isn’t as vibrantly red as yours. I mean they were red but not the red hue I wanted.

  91. Sue T.

    I just popped in to see if there were any new entries on your site. The most recent entry is one I’d already read, and I was about to click on to another site, when… what is that little box on the left; that wasn’t there before… Smitten Kitchen cookbook? OMG! How did I miss that before? I clicked on that and you say it’s true! I am jumping so high that the folks in the apartment beneath mine must be wondering what is going on up here. But do we really have to wait for 2012? (Sob!) Just keep posting wonderful recipes and adorable baby pictures while we all wait, please?

  92. Jess

    These are sooo yummy. Well-worth the trip to Whole Foods to get the corn flour. I will double the compote part next time as I ran out and had to make one less than the recipe called for…tear. And to be honest, even if there is too much with a double batch, it won’t go to waste when we have vanilla ice cream sitting in the fridge.

  93. Jendorf

    I am excited to try these, but wonder if it could be done with strawberries and rhubarb (our favorite combination in this house). Would the strawberries add too much liquid?? Also, if I don’t want to invest in vanilla beans, could I add vanilla extract? Maybe I should just do the beans. . .

  94. Sarah

    These were absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!! I had never even tried rhubarb before but definitely will again. Can’t wati to try other fruit in this tart dough.

  95. Anne

    These were great! I only had medium-grind cornmeal, though, and I think next time I’ll just use 1 1/2 c corn flour and skip the cornmeal. And I love that I’ve still got six in the freezer to bake whenever I want.

  96. touched by sun

    would it be possible for someone with Good to the Grain to post the rhubarb/hibiscus compote recipe? The library does not yet have a copy….

  97. And here I was sitting here wondering what to do with the gigantic stalks of rhubarb that are taking up space on my counter! I’m going to try the compote first and maybe have it with some leftover mini pavlovas and Greek yogurt. Thanks!

  98. craig

    All that beautiful rhubarb was gone from our local stores, so substituted with granny smith apples. The compote came out a little chunkier than the rhubarb, but still delicious. The tarts turned out awesome. Everyone LOVED them.

  99. Tracy

    what do you do with the 1.5 cups of rhubarb that you set aside initially?? do you not use it, or am i missing something here???

  100. Renee

    I feel the same way about the Good to the Grain cookbook! I don’t think I’ll be able to put it away until I bake everything in it cover to cover. It’s so inspiring. Your rhubarb tarts came out beautifully.

  101. Jean Marie

    I am late getting to this post but will be making these soon. Lots of rhubarb in the CSA box lately. But, honestly Deb, I’m not sure that anything can beat that rhubarb cobbler with the egg yolks in the biscuit dough. So, we’ll see …!

  102. BethR

    Hi Deb – Don’t know if you will be able to read comment #180, but God bless you if you answer. First, I made the Claudia Fleming Rhubarb Cobbler the other night. The taste was incredible (I added some strawberries because I had beautiful ones). The taste was out of this world. Will definitely make it again, but I had a large amount of liquid. My rhubarb reduced tremendously and there was a half inch of liquid at the bottom of the pan. I hate gelatinous fruit desserts, and I want to make it again. What to do. Tapioca flour next time? Also, I think her cobbler could make some stupendous scones. Am planning to try the tarts and want to avoid the liquid problem. Was it inferior rhubarb?

    1. deb

      I read! I read! The 2 tablespoons of corn starch weren’t enough? Corn starch measurements are usually about a balance between keeping things from being too sloshy and keeping things on this side of Jell-O. There’s no reason you cannot adjust it up by a tablespoon (or more) if you want the fruit part less loose.

  103. Jendorf

    These were delicious!! I even forgot to buy the heavy cream and used lowfat buttermilk I had in the fridge instead–and the crust was perfect (even for my husband, who always hates crusts of any kind). I especially loved how easy they were to assemble. Every member of the family gobbled theirs up. =)

  104. This was the best thing yet that I’ve made from your site! The corn flour made the dough richer and this is now my go-to dough recipe for rustic tarts (can’t wait for the plums to be in season!) Rhubard is very underestimated as a fruit so keep those great recipes comin’! Thanks!

  105. Jessica G.

    I was raised with a rhubarb patch just outside the backdoor and have had just about everything rhubarb ever in life, except… tarts. Today I scoured the supermarket looking for rhubarb (can you believe it?) and finally had to ask the attendant who directed me to the last — THE LAST — 1.75 lbs of rhubarb on the shelf. I bought it all, which sent my four year old into hysterical laughter that perhaps could be credited to the late hour, lack of nap and hunger, but I secretly think it was her glee at knowing that no one else in our locale would be eating these tomorrow. I just whipped them up and, for a beginning cook, it was easy! They are in the freezer now and will be brought out tomorrow mid-cook-out for a warm and delicious treat. I might have to send my husband out for vanilla ice cream though as the thought of it melting languidly next to the warm tart is sending me into a slight moment of salivating ecstasy. Thanks for the great recipe! (The pre-taste of the compote was divine!)

  106. oh my – these are so good! i thought i would never like rhubarb, but these are fantastic. the cornmeal/flour is so smooth and adds so much to the tarts.

    note: you can use maseca or other brands of tortilla-making flour (found in the latino foods aisle or in a hispanic grocery store) as the corn flour.

  107. I’m completely obsessed about this book! As soon as I saw it on here (the first time), I placed an order on amazon. Just baked my second load of oatmeal sandwich bread which is just lovely! The banana cereal muffins is excellent too!

  108. JS

    Made these this weekend–they were a huge hit! My experience: keep the rest of the dough in the fridge as much as possible while forming each tart. It warmed up quickly and got pretty hard to work with. Also, three tablespoons were way too much filling for my tarts (and I smushed the dough to the dimensions directed)–I used 2 tablespoons per tart and they were really full. Finally, don’t worry too much if it looks like the tarts will leek compote in the oven. They probably will, a bit, but the filling is thick enough that it doesn’t run everywhere, and the crust is substantial enough to handle it. Definite keeper–I’ll be making this again, with different fillings as the seasons change (peach! plum! berries! cranberry/apple!)

  109. I made these over the weekend with an unexpected bundle of farmers’ market rhubarb, with a couple of modifications. YUM, first of all. Second, I didn’t have corn flour, so used 1 cup cornmeal and 1.5 cups AP flour as one commenter posted above. I also used 1% milk instead of cream because that was what I had in the house. The tart crusts turned out a bit crisper than we really thought they should be, but they’d softened up nicely for breakfast the next morning. (What? It’s a cornmeal pancake with fruit on it!) These were a hit with our dinner guests, my husband, and one of the two kids big enough to eat real food. A nice forgiving recipe, and I’ll say it again: YUM. Thank you!

  110. T.

    Hi Deb, I’d love to make these tarts because I love all things rhubarb. However, like another commenter, I don’t have any vanilla beans. But I do have a big bottle of quality vanilla extract. Can I use that a substitute, and how much would be a good amount to add?


  111. Nancy

    Deb, I’ve checked three shops that sell Bob’s Red Mill products, but no corn flour. I have the compote in the fridge and it’s the last day I can use it! What can I use as a substitute? Your quick answer much appreciated. THANKS

  112. Nancy

    Thanks for the advice re AP flour instead of corn flour. These were really good, and because my kids thought they were hamanteshen and won’t eat rhubarb but WILL eat poppyseed filling, I wondered if you could whip up a hamantashen filling recipe. Also, please note: I used a tsp of coarse salt and they came out too salty. I’d probably cut it by half or maybe, in retrospect, I used a heaping tsp by mistake. Anyway, I will make these again!

  113. touched by sun

    Just made the rhubarb/hibiscus compote and it really is as wonderful as I would have thought! Rather than using brown sugar, I used dark agave syrup to taste after the rhubarb had released enough moisture. The hibiscus stained the rhubarb a great pinky purple. After removing the flowers, i dropped them in some seltzer water and had a nice drink : ).

    Also, you can find corn flour in the international section of some supermarkets as various Haitian/francophone African communities use it in cooking. My regular store was out of the Bob;s Red Mill brand, but a walk down the aisle and all was well.

  114. Just made these today and YUM!
    Having never used corn flour I was surprised to see it is JUST like the masa I use for making corn tortillas. I’m sure it would be an easy swap. Since I bought corn flour for this recipe I used it.

    Substitutions I made: buttermilk instead of cream, light brown sugar plus a scant tablespoon of molasses

    I used the food processor method and it turned out perfect!

    Very excited to try it with blueberries or apricots, I think the corn flour pastry would be a nice compliment.

    I blogged pics, will be up tomorrow at 10am pst


  115. Diana

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a few days (weeks? years? eternities?), and I’m finally getting some rhubarb in my CSA this weekend. It’s go time! I’m excited!

  116. Rachel

    I made these too… they were so delicious, I only let my husband eat two and I ate all the rest. Yep, I sure did.

    A few things: I made them with Masa Harina instead of corn flour and it worked perfectly. I also think the compote was delicious on its own, so I made some extra with my abundant CSA-share rhubarb and just ate it on bread as a jam.

  117. I just made these, and while they tasted good, they completely collapsed and flattened out in the oven, making a bit of a mess. I guess I didn’t pinch them up hard enough? Probably should have done more of a traditional galette-type thing, where the dough actually gets sort of folded over the filling. Ah well, live and learn.

  118. TiniB

    Love them, made them twice. Each time I made them in muffin tins with parchment as I found the compote to runny to be cooked flat. It worked out really well. Great to transport to picnics!

  119. this compote is incredible! i spooned some over yogurt for a snack and then poured the rest into a pie plate with a graham cracker crust pressed into the bottom. spread some whipped on top and it was the perfect balance of sweet, tart and creamy!

  120. Me_inChicago

    Bought the rhubarb and can’t find corn flour to save my life….even in a big city like Chicago. Have checked numerous store in person, including Whole Foods, Dominicks and other stores in the area. Darn. Any suggestions?

  121. Vidya

    I had rhubarb sitting in my fridge for two weeks, and finally got the time to make these a couple of nights ago. For the crust, I used polenta and ground it finely in my food processor. I used that and a bit of sorghum flour as a substitute for corn flour. Sorghum doesn’t have gluten either, and I mixed it with the ground polenta so it was still brilliantly yellow. The compote was great, but I reduced the sugar by a lot. The only other time I cooked with rhubarb, I followed the amount of sugar in the recipe and ended up with super sweet jam, instead of the tangy compote I was after. This time, I erred on the side of caution and used half a cup of light brown sugar, which ended up being the perfect amount. I think it’s my local rhubarb, it must be less sour, and I also had half a cup less than what was called for, so it evened out.

  122. I just made this, I was a little doubtful on the crust but it was really really good! I used 2 cups all purpose instead of the corn flour, but other than that, I followed it exactly. PERFECT!! Thank you!

  123. sara

    I grew up only eating rhubarb raw dipped in sugar (and running around half naked with the leaves on my head pretending I was a fairy, but that’s another story). My planting now is a cutting from my grandmother’s and, I suspect from my great-grandmother before that. I love rustic tarts and will definitely try this with this year’s bounty & let you know my results. I love the corn flour addition!

  124. I’m just eating one fresh from the oven and it’s delicious! I didn’t have any cream so just used water, and because I’m lazy I chucked the whole egg in instead of just the yoke, but it still tastes good :) The cornmeal gives it a lovely texture too, will definitely be making these again (and hopefully next time having some cream to pour over too!)

  125. Chloe

    Best tarts ever. Made them last week for the first time, and have just made a double batch today. Soooo good! I love the pastry, but the filling is good enough to eat on its own. I could also imagine pouring the compote over vanilla ice cream.

  126. Honeymoon Kitchen

    WOW these were GOOD! I am not a good baker at all, I just don’t have that touch or attention to detail, so when I do attempt it, I assume it won’t work. But these did! I love the corn flavor in the crust. Has anyone thought of any other fillings, maybe even savory, that might work with it?

  127. Melen

    I made these while in Canada and they were so good. But now that I am back in Taiwan I cannot get rhubarb anywhere! I am thinking that cranberries might work as a substitute. A similar tartness. Blueberries are too expensive here. I have a lot of other fruit options (mango, apple, etc.) but I am not sure what would be the best substitute. Any suggestions?

  128. Jade

    Wow I’m late to this party…

    I’ve tried rhubarb a few times cooked, but it never tastes right to me. For me rhubarb should be fresh picked and dipped in sugar.

    But it may be time to try again, these look yummy.

  129. Emma

    Just made these for my husband and his parents, and never had such a positive response from a dessert! So delicious, the cornmeal/polenta gives the pastry a fantastic fig-like texture and the rhubarb filling was tasty without the usual watery-ness- thank you! I’ve bookmarked about another 20 of your posts this evening so will try them soon!

  130. betsyohs

    Just wanted to say that I made these the other day using your all-butter pie crust. The crust didn’t stand up as much as your photos show, but they were still super fantastic. I also didn’t have time to freeze them before cooking, and they were fine. (Although when I make them again tonight, I am going to freeze them, in the hopes that they’ll leak a little less.) Using a pie crust gives you rustic pies rather than rustic tarts, but if you can’t find (or don’t want to hassle with) corn flour and corn meal, the results will still be fabulous!

  131. Joanne

    Well, it’s rhubarb season again and I’m making these little wonders again. I’ve tried quite a few of your recipes and have been very pleased, so I finally decided to applaud you in writing. Just popped this batch in the freezer for baking on Monday for the holiday. Since our wonderful Oregon strawberries are showing up at the Farmer’s Market, I’ll add a few slices to the open tops before I bake these. I can just see the vanilla ice cream melting over the warm pastries……yum…… Thanks, Deb, and can’t wait for the cookbook…..everyone’s getting one for Christmas!

  132. Becky

    OK, so sorry I sent you an email about this, without realizing you check old posts, so I’ll ask the question here and between the two, get it figured out. So, in the debate of cornmeal vs corn flour I’m still confused. I have a good wheat grinder which I discovered can also grind popcorn. All this time, I thought my end product was cornmeal, but is it actually corn flour?? Thanks.

  133. Hey, you might remember that I asked you some time ago about the rhubarb hamantaschen from the book – and now I’m back on the subject, since I started seeing rhubarb at the fancy supermarket down the street. And it’s still more than a month until Purim, but on the other hand, I know rhubarb is supposed to have a pretty short season, so I’m a bit conflicted, and looked for advice about making the hamantaschen ahead and keeping them frozen. It seems that this recipe is more or less similar; would the freezing option also be similar (i.e. at the freeze stage, just leave them in the freezer instead of taking then out to bake)? I mean, I assume it would be, but want to make sure…

  134. Mary bowman

    I am passionately in love with rhubarb, so it is fortuitous that I stumbled across this recipe! I love reading the comments. This site is great–no ugly hate posts from the Obama-haters and other generally grouchy nitwits. Just great food and good humor–who could ask for anything more? I live in Portland, Or., home of Bob’s Red Mill (and an outlet store!). Time to find some corn flour and some rhubarb!

  135. Haley

    I made these over the weekend and ate them last night – absolutely delicious and I’d expect nothing less! However, I had serious assembly problems, which I didn’t see elsewhere in the comments. When I tried to fold the tarts into their “rustic” form, they almost always broke/tore along the fold. The (super tasty) crust just wasn’t flexible enough to accommodate the shaping process. Any suggestions or anyone else experience this?

  136. Mikki

    I’m going to make a batch of the compote (well, I’ll futz with a test batch first and have a willing house-elf to eat whatever happens!) and am thinking of making some pocket pies with it…just to be different. I cut up 9 pounds of rhubarb tonight, and we’ve probably got another 20 pounds right now on the plant, so we’re rhubarb-wealthy this year! LOL

  137. Sara

    #227- I had the same issue. I made them by the site the first time and just could not get them to fold and hold shape due to the consistency of the dough. This second time I went rogue. I skipped the cornmeal and added one egg and one yolk due to a mistake. When it was time to shape the dough, I floured and cornmeal’d (maybe not a real word)the work space and the dough worked great! It had crunch but wasn’t brittle.

  138. I like the rhubarb and I cook it anyway, and I never forget the rhubarb tart. I shall test these recipe, I think that my daughters are going to adore. Thanks

  139. Val

    I made this with a mix of rhubarb and gooseberries. So delicious, but I should have added more sugar for the gooseberries. I think it would work with straight gooseberries, but I would not add more at the end of the cooking. They probably should all be cooked for the full time in the saucepan. I also could not find corn flour so I used brown rice flour. By the way my rhubarb is fading and my gooseberries are coming on strong. I see you were also asking for suggestions in 2007, but if you have heard of any in the intervening years I would appreciate hearing them. Best of luck and thank you!

  140. Peter D

    Tried for the first time last night. The crust was fabulous. The came together very nicely and it had great corn flavor. The one negative I have for the recipe is that the rhubarb filling doesn’t taste “rhubarb-y” enough. Between the dark brown sugar and the amount of reduction, it tastes almost fig like. I may try this again with an organic cane sugar or some demerara sugar instead. Has anyone else encountered this reaction from diners?

  141. Melissa

    Do you think the compote would freeze well? I plan on making it alone, putting it in 4oz jars and eating with yogurt or whatever later.

  142. Linda


    For the poster (Melissa) in regard to freezing it – yes, you can. I actually make up these tarts unbaked and freeze them, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and put them in a ziplock. I then bake them off straight from the freezer and they turn out beautifully. I have also frozen the extra compote alone and it does well.

    I agree with you about floral tasting things, in general. However, I have made this a bunch of times and the hibiscus does not make the compote taste flowery and it does make it a beautiful deep jewel tone.