Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grandma's Rhubarb Tarts

I have the world's best Grandma.

When I was growing up, every summer until I was 11, my Grandma would take my sister, brother, and me as well as 5 of our cousins during the school summer break. She had a 3 bedroom house that would nearly burst at the seams most days. We learned at a very young age what a hard day's work really was. She had us up at 6am and to bed by 9pm. We were never allowed to say a mean word to or about one another, but if you were caught, it was Hades for you. She broke every child labor law there was. She drove a Chevy Nova and SOMEHOW got everyone of us in that car to go to grocery shopping and church every Sunday.

Funny thing? These are my most memorable and favorite childhood memories.

She was awesome in the kitchen. She made some amazing meals and nothing ever went to waste. She lived in the country on some good acreage, so berries of almost every kind were quite abundant. She also had a rhubarb patch not too far from the house. She would often promise a nice treat after a long day of hard yard work. We learned all too soon not to get too excited.

Her idea of a nice treat was stewed rhubarb. With no sugar. Ick. I began to hate that patch with a passion. I didn't come around to the idea of rhubarb until I was in my 20s and she made this magnificent cobbler for a BBQ. Seriously, where was this deliciousness when we were growing up??

Grandma is now 93 years old. She's in a nursing home, living out her winter years. She sometimes forgets who I am when I visit, but I don't mind. She's given me the most wonderful memories a girl could ask for which helped mold me to the person I am today.

This post is dedicated to you Grandma. You made me eat rhubarb until it beat me into submission.

And for that, I thank you.

Recipe adapted from my beautiful Grandma

Before making the tarts, the rhubarb must be blanched.

½ cup water
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
5-6 cups rhubarb, chopped into bite size pieces

You can certainly use a ready made pie crust for this recipe if you wish, but homemade dough is best. This is a favorite recipe of mine.

2¼ cups cake flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, COLD and cut into cubes
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

¾ cup sugar
½ cup flour
5 cups blanched rhubarb

½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup steel oats
4 Tablespoons butter, cold and cut into cubes

To blanch rhubarb: 

Combine water, lemon juice, and sugar in heavy large saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring sugar water to a boil. Add rhubarb and boil for a minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Allow rhubarb to simmer for several minutes. Remove pan from heat, keeping covered until rhubarb is tender. Uncover and cool completely.

To make crust:

Sift flour, sugar, and salt. It's important to always sift cake flour. In a stand mixer (or using a fork or pastry blender), mix flour mixture and butter together. Start on low speed, combine until flour resembles course meal. Empty dough onto floured surface and bring together until just incorporated, You don't want to work the dough too much or it will yield a tough texture. Roll into logs and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and chill for several hours.

To make filling:

Combine blanched rhubarb, sugar, and flour. Stir together.


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin and generously sprinkle with flour. To avoid over working the dough, I cut mine into small sections and work.

Roll out dough. Using a circular cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles and press to fit into hollows. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine sugar and flour and mix until incorporated. Add to rhubarb and mix well. Fill cups to top.

In small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, almonds, and oats. With pastry blender or fork, add butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of rhubarb mixture.

Bake 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is set in center. Cool completely.

Yields: 12 Rhubarb Tarts

Happy Baking!

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