Help! Rhubarb tart virgin at work

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by alexia, May 18, 2002.

  1. alexia

    alexia

    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    10
    Help, please. I'm make a rhubarb tart/pie for the first time. Went to buy apples and saw this lovely rhubarb. Of course I'm checking out a bunch of recipes, but would appreciate any input. I suppose the main challenge of rhubarb pie is to keep it from being mush pie. Is it best to partially precook both the shell and the filling, then bake the two together the rest of the way? Or bake it together all the way?

    My inclination is to do a tart, but perhaps this particular filling would benefit from the extra crust - and a lattice would be pretty with the filling. Should I put in a drop of (natural) colorant I have on hand or some genadine to pick up the color? I thought maybe a touch of lemon zest might peak up the flavor without adding tartness? Or is that gilding the lily? I notice a few recipes call for adding figs and/or dates.

    If I don't lattice the top, I've thought of thinly slicing a couple apples and forming a decorative "top crust with them.

    Any help gratefully accepted.
     
  2. angrychef

    angrychef

    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hi Alexia, I'm not that crazy about rhubarb but i have made in the past strawberry rhubarb pie with a crumb topping crust. From what I have read regarding rhubarb, most people like to add another fruit with it since it's so bland and sour. For the pie that I made I baked the raw fruit in the unbaked shell.
     
  3. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    64
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    Orange zest works very well with rhubarb....I just happened to be making a tart this afternoon....sweetened cream cheese with zest and sugar, pinch a cinnamon.....topping will be heated sweetened thickened oj (actually I have tangerine juice in my fridge) and local STRAWBERRIES!!!! Heat the juice add cut up rhubarb cook to desired doneness make sure it's as sweet as you want add strawberries after you've taken it off the stove...you can even wait until it cools a bit.
     
  4. jill reichow

    jill reichow

    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    10
    I grew up on rhubarb and love the stuff. I'm only sorry that I'm a little far south for it to grow well. Doesn't like the heat here.

    I make a rhubarb custard pie. I hate to admit it, but use the recipe from the old Betty Crocker cookbook. I don't ever precook it. It will bake enough in the filling. Rhubarb strawberry pie is great also.

    I also bake it into a rhubard crumb sweet tea bread. The bite of the rhubarb is a great contrast to the sweet of the bread.

    Rhubarb jam........mmmmm. I wonder if I can get some from home this summer?:lips:
     
  5. alexia

    alexia

    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thanks to you all for your suggestions. I think I'll try them all as my tart turned out great. I decided to start with the most basic - all rhubarb, raw fruit. Up til now I've mostly been making it as a compote/side dish. This was much tastier.

    Jill, are you sharing your rhubarb crumb sweet bread? Sweet/sour is one of my favorite taste combinations.

    I followed Beranbaum's proportions for a rhubarb lattice pie made with the raw fruit. I used a simple flaky dough and painted it with a layer of rose hip jam. I dusted the lattice with some cinnamon sugar. It had just the right balance of sweet : tart.

    My only problem was that the juices overflowed. Fortunately I had not put the tart directly on the stone I bake on - I'm still scrubbing the pan!
     
  6. pongi

    pongi

    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    10
    My thought is that the two main problems of rhubarb pie are just the wateriness of rhubarb (which can make the juices overflow and the crust end up mushy) and its sour taste, which should be balanced by something sweeter. So, I don't start from raw rhubarb, but partially precook it, cut in pieces, with some sugar to make a compote which can also be frozen (here in Italy this is a necessity as rhubarb is hardly available).
    I usually don't add any other fruits but an egg custard. So, my favourite rhubarb pie is made with a base of shortcrust pastry-a layer of custard-a layer of powdered Amaretti cookies (which flavour goes very well with rhubarb)-a layer of rhubarb compote-a topping of shortcrust pastry, all baked together. It's not a quick recipe, but I love it.

    Pongi
     
  7. shawtycat

    shawtycat

    Messages:
    1,006
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    5
    Ive never had rhubarb....don't know what it tastes like. Just saw some at the supermarket and now this thread. You guys are giving me the inspiration to take my taste buds for a twirl. :)

    Think Ill start out small with this...don't like to waste good ingredients. Should I look for rhubarb that is all red? I saw some with a few light areas to it. Oh and it is already prepackaged by the supermarket in cellopane.

    Jodi
     
  8. alexia

    alexia

    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    10
    Jodi, if you decide to start with a pie, the Beranbaum ratio of sugar: rhubarb will give you a good sweet/sour flavor (though tartness of the fruit can vary a little). She recommends cutting it crosswise in 1/2" chunks. Her recipe calls for a flaky cream cheese dough and baking about 30-40 minutes. I used a simple flaky butter dough and found that it took more than an hour to get the crust properly browned (but remember I do much of the baking on the bottom of the oven).

    If you make a full upper crust you will probably not have the overflow problem I did. Also on reflection, my problem may also be from having arranged the rhubarb in the crust tightly rather than just dumping it in, leaving more airspaces.

    Most of all: DONT EAT THE LEAVES, they're poisonous.
     
  9. annie

    annie

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Fresh fruit - especially watery fruit like rhubarb or fresh peaches or berries - often overflow for me! Even making sure teh pastry is sealed around the edges isn't enough: if you fill the bottom brust, you run the risk of having so much juice it overflows, but wo wants s kimpy filling? And adding more tapioca or other thickener doesn't help when the filling is hot - and certainly isn't good when it cools!

    I have one very old recipe that calls for beating an egg into the filling, to make a sort of custard. It does help to take the edge of the sourness without going overboard on the sugar. Maybe the veryold timers could come by eggs easier than sugar!

    Oh - and over on the recipe exchange Jill R posted a rhubarb crumb bread recipe I'm headed out to try right now!
     
  10. pongi

    pongi

    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    10
    When making tarts with watery fruits (like fresh peaches or apricots) I usually cut them in half and pre-bake for about 10 mins with some granulated sugar, until they have given out their liquid. I also cover the shortcrust pastry layer with powdered dry cookies (as I said, I generally use Amaretti) before placing the fruits to absorb any other excess of fluid. Thicken the discarded fruit liquid on a low heat, add some gelatin and brush it on the tart when it's done.

    Pongi
     
  11. alexia

    alexia

    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    10
    Pongi, prebaking the fruit briefly is a great tip. Thanks.

    As for tha Amaretti, I'm afraid when I have them about, they don't last long enough to get in a pie. They'd be especially delicious with apricots and peaches.
     
  12. brreynolds

    brreynolds

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    10
    If you haven't already gone off and bought some rhubarb to turn into various galettes and tarts, I would say that the best introduction to it is the simplest -- rhubarb sauce -- since it can be made in any quantity, and you can adjust the sweetness on the fly, so you waste nothing. The (highly complex) directions are:

    1. Cut up the number of stalks you want to make into sauce (probably one for a test)

    2. Put the rhubarb in a pan with virtually no water (maybe a tablespoon, just enough to keep the rhubarb from sticking until it starts releasing its own considerable juice)

    3. Simmer until it is the desired consistency (as it cooks it disintegrates into a pulp)

    4. Add sugar to taste.

    My mother used to have rhubarb sauce all the time. She would use fresh bread and butter topped with rhubarb sauce as a "finish" for lunch. I was never a fan of rhubarb until this spring, when I bought some in the grocery store, cooked up some sauce, and realized that I'd been missing something. As it's very juicy, pies take about twice the usual amount of thickener.

    Mother grew rhubarb, and never worried about the color. Since its nice red color tends to dull when it cooks, green stalks don't look out of place in the resulting dish. (Those interested in keeping cooked rhubarb looking nice and pink - you can't maintain the real red, apparently - might be interested in a discussion of this in the Washington Post food section, I think May 22. It's website is www.Washingtonpost.com.)
     
  13. mary rose

    mary rose

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    I have a pie business and the folks in the  northeast cannot get enough of straw/rhubarb pie-- they love it especially the men-- I like rhubarb -pineapple and rhubarb apple-- I never cook it down-- it bubbles over but  you just need to put a drip pan under it and i use both flour and instant granulated tapioca to thicken it-- it comes out perfect every time