Spring is upon us and I've been compiling myself a giant list of things to make and do. The slow pace of winter is gone and there are raised beds to be tended to, chicken coop to be built and Spring recipes in the works. Long gone are the day dreams of slow winter braises and root vegetables, tender greens, fresh grown herbs and berries will be making their way back on to our plates. Along with Spring comes the anticipation of Summer, a season I have learned not to take for granted living in the PNW, longer days mean later bedtimes, eating alfresco, adventuring and easing into our mornings. I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, it's still Spring. When rhubarb starts showing up at the farmers markets, it's one of the first signs of Spring, the scheming begins of pastries, jams and cocktails. This vegetable is underrated by many, bummer because it's absolutely delicious.
Spring has become such a big gauge in my life of the passage of time. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the dormancy of winter and things are starting to wake up and come alive, maybe it's because my oldest son is turning another year older and the growth and presence of his life (and my youngest too) feels like a blip on the radar. Spring becomes a timeline, how many more Springs until we reach another big milestone in their lives? Kids can really put things in perspective! I feel really charmed, blessed, whatever you want to call it, that my path has gone in the way of a having a family and being a mom.
Since we are on the topic of family, my guys loved this tart! I wasn't sure how well received the poached rhubarb would be. This is such an adaptable recipe, if you are not a rhubarb lover sub in some strawberries or mixed berries, better yet make one in August when peaches are taking off. This should be a must on your "to make" list, no need for an occasion but if you're hard pressed for one just make this because it's Spring.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Tart Dough (recipe follows)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split length wise, seeds scraped
1/2 small red beet, well scrubbed, cut into wedges (optional)
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, leaves removed and stalks sliced diagonally into 2 inch pieces
4 ounces of cream cheese, room temp
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sour cream
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to a 12 inch square, about an 1/8 inch thick. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour; fit dough into a 9 inch square fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing into corners. Using a sharp knife or rolling pin, trim dough flush with pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Chill tart in freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line chilled tart shell the parchment, leaving at least a 1 inch overhang. Fill with pie weights. Bake until edges are just beginning to turn golden, 25 minutes. Remove parchment and weights and continue baking until crust is a deep golden brown all over, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.
Stir together 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and beet (if using) in a large skillet. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Add rhubarb; turn off heat. Cover, and let stand until rhubarb is tender and gives only slight resistance when pierced with a knife, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove the rhubarb from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and spread it in a single layer in a baking pan lined with paper towels. Strain 1 cup of the poaching liquid into a medium skillet. Cook over high heat until the syrup has thickened to a glaze, about 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
Combine cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; beat until smooth. Add sour cream and beat until mixture is very smooth.
Using an offset spatula, spread cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the cooled crust. Carefully arrange the poached rhubarb on the top of the cream cheese mixture, and drizzle with the cooled syrup. Chill tart in the refrigerator, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons heavy cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix at low speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
Add egg yolks, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 3/4 cup flour, and mix at low speed just until the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add remaining 3/4 cup flour along with the salt and cream, and mix just until flour is no longer visible, about 1 minute.
Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a flattened square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to one month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.