I was inspired by some rhubarb. Fruit has not looked great at the store lately, but then I saw it, the first signs of spring: rhubarb. I love the long, thin pieces that appear to be stretching, arching backward. Red, pink and a little green, this steam is weird and wonderful. Its more complex than just sour and tart, there are some great earthy things happening. I decided to mix it with some frozen blueberries and make a pie. The pie idea quickly turned into the desire to instead make a tart. Staring at a stick of frozen butter, not wanting to delay this plan further, I decided to brown the butter rather than waiting for the stick to slightly defrost. Then there was the balance of the pie filling, which wasn't quite right. It screamed for some lemon juice, but cider vinegar was all I had. A dash of vanilla extract helped round out the flavor.
The recipe is a serendipitous hodge-podge of last minute ideas that came together better than expect. The crust, even though it puffed in the oven, was crisp, crumbly and just barely sweet.(I used this recipe as a starting point.) The filling was warm, sweet, tart and floral from the vanilla. It probably would taste great with a scoop of vanilla or sweet cream ice cream but I loath hot desserts with cold ice cream. (I know, I am weird)
Melt and brown the butter:
While the butter cools, make the filling:
Adding the tapioca starch to the frozen berries helps keep it from clumping.
While the filling cools, make the dough by creaming the cold, brown butter:
Cream in the sugar and then add in the other ingredients:
The mixture is going to look crumbly, but its perfect. Just push it together with your hands till it forms a dough and then pat into the tin:
Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or until the dough is cold:
Bake @ 350F for 9-10 minutes or until the dough is starting to brown:
Cool and fill:
Blueberry Rhubarb Brown Butter Almond Tart
1/2 cup butter, browned & cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cup frozen blueberries
1 1/2-2 cup diced rhubarb
5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
You could order the steps differently, make the filling first or the crust a day ahead.
Make the dough:
1. Melt and brown the butter. Allow it to cool and resolidify.
2. Whip the butter. Add in the 1/2 cup sugar and cream until fluffy - the mixture should more than double in size and lighten in color.
3. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
4. Combine the dry ingredients and slowly add them to the butter/sugar mix.
5. Press the mixture into a few ball shapes and then press those into the tart shell.
6. Put the tart shell in the fridge to cool before baking.
Cook the filling:
1. Sprinkle the tapioca starch over half the frozen blueberries and shake them to coat.
2. Put the all of the berries, rhubarb and sugar into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer. You want to cook this till the rhubarb is just cooked through.
3. Remove from the heat, stir in the vinegar and cider.
4. Set aside and allow it to cool.
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Remove the tart shell from the fridge and dock the dough (stab it gently with a fork all over).
3. Bake at 350F for 9-10 minutes or until the dough just starts to brown.
4. Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
5. Pour in the fruit filling. Using a rubber scraper or off-set spatuala, push the fruit to the edges but try not to get any up on the top edge of the crust (it will burn there).
6. Return it to the 350F oven for another 9-10 minutes or until the shell is just beyond golden brown at the top edge.
7. Remove from the oven and wait. Seriously. You need to give the tapioca time to set and gel and for the crust to cool before cutting.