In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, there are alleyways between the rows of houses. In the summer, kids walk down the alleys, picking the raspberries that grow between the fences. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll have rhubarb growing in the yard. You’ll take a raw piece, dip it in a small bowl of sugar, and let the sweet and sour juices take over your tastebuds.
I live in Ontario now but every kitchen I worked in, it was obvious that I was born and raised in the prairies. My menus always consisted of Saskatoon berries, poppy seeds and rhubarb. These are simply the flavors that I grew up on, I’m familiar with, and still love to showcase today.
People often have a hard time with rhubarb, it typically gets made into a pie with strawberries, boiled down into a jam and really not much else. I was scouring cookbooks looking for some inspiration when I found this gem in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. A few alterations later, and I call it my own.
A recipe that takes some finesse and keeps the stalks intact to create a visually stunning dessert. It’s essentially a tart with 3 steps that must be executed perfectly: Pâte Sucrée (sugar dough), cured rhubarb, and a brown butter frangipane.
This recipe should be made in the early summer when the rhubarb is slender with vibrant red stalks.
One 9” x 13” casserole dish
- 2 ½ cups flour
- ¼ cup + 2 ½ Tbsp icing sugar
- ¾ cup + 1 Tbsp icing sugar
- ¼ cup + 3 Tbsp ground almonds
- 1 cup butter
- 1 tsp pure almond extract
- 1 egg
*Don’t be alarmed by the sequence of ingredients, this is the best pâte sucrée recipe i’ve tried.
Combine flour, first measurement of icing sugar and almond flour. Set aside.
Beat butter for 4 min or until soft. Add second amount of icing sugar and continue creaming for another 4 minutes.
Add almond extract to butter and mix until combined.
Add dry ingredients.
Add egg last and mix until incorporated.
Wrap and refrigerate.
- 2 lbs (or 2 bunches) young rhubarb stalks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp grenadine
Wash rhubarb stalks, trim to fit the dish you are using (9” x 13”) and sprinkle with the sugar.
Pour grenadine over top of stalks and toss to make sure it’s evenly coated.
Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
*The sugar draws out the moisture and adds sweetness while the grenadine adds a punch of red!
*If the stalks are older and larger, they should be peeled to remove any of those tough strings.
Brown Butter Frangipane:
- ½ cup + 3 Tbsp ground almonds
- ½ cup + 1 ½ tsp flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tsp whole milk
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp 35% cream
- ¾ cup + 1 Tbsp brown butter
Begin by browning the butter. Set aside.
Whip eggs and sugar together for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
With mixer running, slowly add the milk and cream.
Combine ground almonds and flour before adding to the egg mixture.
Finally drizzle in the WARM brown butter (it cannot be too hot and it cannot be too cold or your mixture will split).
Do not over mix.
Make the pâte sucrée first and refrigerate overnight.
Next, prepare the cured rhubarb and refrigerate overnight.
On the second day work the pate sucrée with your hands before rolling out and lining a lightly greased 9” x 13” casserole dish (or something similar with high edges) with your dough.
Blind bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes. Cool on counter.
Drain the rhubarb and begin the frangipane.
Line the trimmed rhubarb on the cooled pate sucrée and top with the frangipane, using a spatula to smooth it out.
Refrigerate the whole thing for 25 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes, then reduce the temp to 325° F and bake for another 12 minutes.
Chill before slicing.