Rhubarb frangipane tart

By now, you or someone you know has more rhubarb than is humanly possible to consume.  One can never have too many rhubarb recipes on hand for this time of year, so I shall add one to the pot.  This rhubarb frangipane tart has been a huge hit at the restaurant where I serve it with pink peppercorn ice cream.

Rhubarb Frangipane Tart

At first the components may seem like a pain, but the good thing is that they can be prepared separately and in advance.  You can then throw the tart together relatively quickly.  The compote is intentionally rather tart because the frangipane is rather sweet.  If you find that it is too tart for your taste, add some more sugar.  Though, what I love about rhubarb is its tartness and I think to sweeten it too much ruins its nature.  If you don’t like tart, then don’t make something with rhubarb is what I say.

The first component is to make your favorite tart or pie dough and line a 4"x13” rectangular tart pan.  You will then do a basic blind bake of the crust.  I then egg wash the bottom of the crust and return it to the oven for a few minutes to set the egg wash.  I find this helps keep the crust from sogging out.

Rhubarb Compote
10 oz diced rhubarb (weight after trimming and prepping)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup red wine
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1-2 star anise pods depending on taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 generous tsp pink peppercorns

Combine all but the pink peppercorns in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally.  While the compote cooks, crush the pink peppercorns with the side of a knife and set aside.  Once the compote has reduced and thickened by virtue of the rhubarb having fallen apart (thicker is better), remove the pan from heat and stir in the crushed pink peppercorns.  Allow the compote to cool, and then remove and discard the cinnamon stick and star anise.

Frangipane
8 oz almond paste
1.5 oz sugar
4 oz soft butter
2/3 cup eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 oz flour

In a mixing bowl, beat the almond paste and sugar together.  Gradually add the butter and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamed, scrapping down the bowl occasionally.  Gradually add the eggs, allowing them to emulsify into to the creaming mixture before adding more.  Scrape down the bowl.  Beat in the vanilla and flour.

To assemble the tarts, spread some (about half) of the compote in the bottom of the crust.  Next, it will be easiest to pipe the frangipane over the compote.  Don’t think you are being generous by over filling the shells, the frangipane will puff when it bakes, so fill to just under the rim of the tart shell.  Smooth out the top with an off-set palette knife.

Now take additional rhubarb and cut it into about quarter-inch sticks that are the width of the tart shell.  Arrange these rhubarb sticks down the tart and gently press them into the frangipane.  Bake at 325-350º until the frangipane has puffed, firmed up and browned nicely.

Serve the tart with the additional compote on the side, a scoop of pink peppercorn ice cream and a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

You may be wondering about those rhubarb chips in the picture.  Well, they are super simple.  Thinly slice rhubarb on a mandolin.  Brush the slices with simple syrup and arrange them on a Silpat-lined sheet pan.  Place in a gas oven with just the pilot light on (or as low as the oven will go) overnight.  Then use an off-set palette knife to gently slip under the chips to loosen them from the Silpat.