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Triple Baked Rubharb Tart

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A seriously delicious French rhubarb pie for the patient chef.

This is a demanding pie to make, but like a French Lady, she will reward those who know how to honor her.

The pie is baked three times:

  1. Bake shell, rhubarb and biscuits
  2. Prepare custard and bake further with custard
  3. Prepare meringue and bake further with meringue

Take 500gr rhubarb - the French lady understands nothing of ounces and pounds and only speaks in grams - get used to it.

Partially peel the rhubarb, then chop. Discard the peelings.

Pte foncer
250g flour
15gr sugar
125 butter
50gr egg
50gr water
I hate savory short doughs used in sweet pies - you need sugar in there.

I use my Kenwood kitchen machine instead of my arms to knead the dough, hence my size. You can get even better results with your bare hands.

Cut the butter into small cubes. This is not optional, as short dough is a precarious balance between dry powders and tiny bits of butter. If you work with very soft butter, you'll end up with cardboard-like dough and won't have the amazing crumbly texture of a proper short dough. Heed my words!

Sift flour, salt and baking powder, then fold in butter and mix until crumbly.

Add the water and mix on.

Add the eggs...

... and continue to mix.

Do not overmix! As soon as the dough starts having a uniform appearance with no large wet or yellow patches, stop.

Cover and put in a cool place for 2 hours.

Grease your pie pan, then sprinkle a little flour and toss until the pan is white all over.

Getting from this ...

to this is never easy. Short dough, you see, is not very pliable and very short on patience with the novice cook. As you try to stretch it with a rolling pin, it keeps breaking. You will most probably need to patch it up until you get the proper circular shape.

Use a fork to prick it all over.

French pastry chefs use biscuits la cuillre or biscuits de Reims, sponge fingers to soak up the juice the rhubarb will inevitably produce when baked. It is essential to do this but you might use other cookies.

Crush 3 biscuits ...

... and sprinkle over the stretched dough.

Add the chopped rhubarb...

... and bake for 15 minutes in a 200C/400F oven - our first baking out of three.

2 eggs
50gr milk
50gr cream
75gr sugar

We'll now prepare the custard that will enrich the pie and compensate for the rhubarb juice lost by evaporation or soaked up by the cookies. Pour the milk in a bowl and add the sugar, add the eggs and whisk everything until smooth.

As soon as the first baking is over - 15 minutes - pour the custard over the pie. Here I'm using a fancy entonnoir piston but you can do it with a beaker.

Reduce temperature to 180C/350F and bake for a further 30 minutes - our second baking.

70gr egg whites (about 2 large eggs)
105gr sugar

Separate egg yolks from whites and beat like a madman precisely as I explained in Making Your Own Meringues. Mix in the sugar and place in a pastry bag. I recommend you buy a roll of disposable transparent pastry bags, they are a gift of the plastic God to pastry chefs.

After the second baking, the custard has set and the dough is baked through.

Pipe your meringue with the pastry bag firmly in your left hand, not under the arm like a bagpipe, and the right hand guiding it to make concentric circles.

Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar using a tea strainer or fine sieve.

Reduce temperature to 160C/320F and bake for a final 5 minutes - our third baking.

That's it, here is our plump French lady coming out of the oven.

Delicately cut a slice and let her give you a warm kiss.



  • #1
  • Comment by Paul Mckenna
That recipe is a sexy bitch and she is worth the work !

  • #2
  • Comment by Paulina  C. L. Tognato
I love rhubarb with its citric taste, but is very difficult to find here.
I'll smell the taste of your wonderfull tart and remmenbered my last visit in Paris!!!!!!
  • #3
  • Answered by fx
Paulina, perhaps you could find one of the many great fruits that grow in Brazil and replace the rhubarb with it? The dough, custard and meringue could work with any citric-tasting fruits.
  • #4
  • Answered by fx
Paul, she is well worth the wait, but don't let her abuse, each slice is like 5000 calories!
Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
Great article
A piece of art.
I will try to find rhubarbs in Bogota, Colombia.
Could it work with mango?
  • #6
  • Comment by Helena
Hmm ... yum!

I'm going to have to resist the temptation to go out and harvest some though. Since rhubarb season is over and the plants are supposed to be left alone to give it a chance to regenerate for the follow year. Can't say I'm not tempted...
Really interesting. I've never seen a rhubarb tart/pie with custard cooked quite like this before.
As always, beautiful photography, and amazing recipe.
  • #8
  • Comment by Shu
Looks yummy, but too hard for a novice like me, plus rubharbs are not easily found here. I am, however, greatly looking forward to making your sour cream apple pie over the weekend!

Enjoyed your blog tremendously, fx. I'm now on page 10 of your back posts. Work in the office has never gone so slowly!
  • #9
  • Comment by Paul
Francois-Xavier, greetings and would this be good with plums? I have some from the garden that need eating up...
  • #10
  • Comment by donsiranni
Francois,when I grow up I'm gonna really try this,as I'll always have lots'a rubharb.
  • #11
  • Comment by Jason
Thanks FX, My father loves rubarb, custard and meringue and now I have a trifecta to please him! Keep up the great work.
  • #12
  • Comment by Jasmin
hi Fx,
your email address didn't work :(
Is there some kind of restriction?
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
Jasmin, please let me know what error message my email address generated. You can reply to this message and it should work!
  • #14
  • Answered by fx
Jason, good luck if you try this tart for your father, it ought to please him!
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
Don let me know how this works for you!
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Paul, I think this would work with tart/acidic plums. Since youll have the same issues of them pissing over the dough and threatening to transform it into a bog, the crumbled biscuits should solve it like they do for rhubarb. Good luck and let me know how it works!
  • #17
  • Answered by fx
Shu, thanks for your visit and please dont lose your job over my blog! Youll find lots of easier dessert recipes, try perhaps the Roasted Pineapples, they can also be used in a custard pie.
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
Laura, thanks for your kind words, I was not so pleased with the pictures on this one, a tad too dark and unsaturated. But it was late on a week night!
  • #19
  • Answered by fx
Helena, sometimes you can harvest a couple rhubarb shoots in the late summer ...
Man I'm in trouble now!
Sue just picked up the ingredients for this little taste of heaven and plans to make it tonight.

  • #21
  • Answered by fx
Dave, don't plan anything for tonight, you'll be up cooking until midnight, then you'll be eating pie until dawn!
  • #22
  • Comment by Larissa
I make a similar tart, but omit the custard, instead I sprinkle rhubarb with a little sugar mixed with a generous amount of cinnamon. This dessert is great for hot summer days.
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Larissa.

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