Following my last post where I challenged myself to make something from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, I have elected to make another recipe that ended-up taking about two days to complete. Beautiful things often take work, and having high standards can be time-consuming. Thomas Keller’s book is complex and everything is done the hard way for a reason. He wants you to appreciate the ingredients and to pay attention to the details. Simple flavors that are light and delicate means everything you put in the recipe must be as close to perfection as possible.
For this recipe, it calls for rhubarb to be soaked in grenadine and sugar for at least 24 hours. I opted to substitute the grenadine for beer and I wanted something that was funky and fruity. Boulevard Brewing Company’s Saison-Brett (8.5%ABV) is perfect because it’s not over-powering but it has the distinctive flavor profile of brettanomyces yeast used to create a this farmhouse-style ale. After about a day I noticed that the recipe had very red color to the rhubarb and mine wasn’t red in the middle because I didn’t use the grenadine. In order to fix this I added some cranberry bitters for color and added more sugar so the bitters didn’t over-power the rhubarb. That worked like a charm!
Pan used: 8×8 square brownie pan
6-8 rhubarb stalks, trimmed to the size of the pan.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of beer
4 dashes of cranberry bitters (or any red bitters) (or you can use food coloring or grenadine to achieve the red color)
Let the trimmed stalks sit in the beer for 24-48 hours. Try and rotate every 8 hours or so. When you are ready to assemble, pat dry on paper towels and discard the liquid.
2 2/3 cups AP Flour
1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of Powdered Sugar (second addition)
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoon of Almond Flour
8 oz of Unsalted Butter (room temp)
1 vanilla bean
3 1/2 tablespoons of eggs (basically take a few eggs and beat them together in a bowl and try and get the tablespoons from that)
1. Sift the AP flour and almond flour and powdered sugar (1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp) into a bowl. Be sure and break-up any lumps.
2. Beat butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for at least 2-3 minutes, or until creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) and mix until the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Take the vanilla bean and split it down the middle and scrape the seeds out and add them to the butter mixture. Mix for a few seconds to distribute.
3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions and only allow 15-30 seconds to get incorporated each time. Add the eggs and mix for another 15 seconds. Transfer the dough to a work surface (with flour and a silpat) and using the heel of your hand press the dough and drag your hand to smear the dough. This will create a smooth dough that is well incorporated instead of kneading the dough like bread.
4. Divide the dough in half and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to get firm. I opted to keep mine refrigerated for 24 hours and froze the second half of the dough. It can stay good in the freezer for about 1 month.
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons of Almond Flour
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons AP Flour
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons Eggs
1 cup + 1 tablespoon of Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons of Whole Milk
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of Heavy Cream
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of brown butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll-out your tart dough to about 1/2 – 1/4 inch thickness. Line the brownie pan with parchment paper with the edges sticking up and out of the pan. Place the tart dough on the bottom of the pan on the parchment paper in an even layer. If you failed to get it in there in once piece like i did then just patch it as best as you can. Cook for about 15 minutes and then rotate the pan and then cook for another 5-10 minutes until browned on the edges and hard to the touch. Set aside to cool.
2. Place your butter in a non-stick skillet and cook until browned but not burnt. Set aside to cool then strain using a cheesecloth to remove and debris.
3. Whisk together the almond flour and AP flour in a bowl. Combine the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk and cream to the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the brown butter. Using an off-set spatula, spread a small but even layer of the filling on the crust. Place the rhubarb (u shape facing up, curve side down) in the pan in the same direction filling the pan. Spread the rest of the filling to cover the rhubarb and make sure all gaps are filled. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 350 then reduce oven to 325 and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes. Set on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before removing.
Toasted Almond Streusel Topping (optional)
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons AP Flour
1 cup + 1 tablespoon Almond Flour
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
4 oz cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
1. Combine all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and mix with a pastry cutter or your hands to incorporate. Make sure the butter gets broken into little pieces. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours to get cold, otherwise it can be frozen for up to 1 month.
2. Spread cold streusel onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle the top of the rhubarb tart as desired.
Lift the tart out of the pan by the parchment paper and cup into long rectangle bars. Cut in the same direction the rhubarb was placed in the pan so you have a long strip of rhubarb not many little pieces.
Lasts: 2 days
Yield: 12 pieces
Season: Late Summer / Autumn
Level: Intermediate to Expert
I would make this again, especially since I have left-over crust and streusel so the process is already halfway done. That being said, it was a total pain-in-the-ass. This took me two days to make and essentially it was four recipes and 5 processes to get one damn tart made. Regardless, it was very tasty and the rhubarb had a ton of flavor. The cakey brown butter filling was delicious and light but sturdy and the crust was textually amazing. The streusel was crunchy and sweet and the almond flour really added something fun to the flavor combination. Maybe I will just go to Napa and get one from the experts at their bakery. At least they could say they have one customer who really appreciates all the work that goes into making these little tarts. If any of you are insane enough to make this, please let me know how it turns out