Rhubarb tart with orange custard

Some of the questions I had to answer while typing the recipe:
- How do you draw a snowflake?
- If you could control one element, which would you choose? (Answer: water)
- How do you say “strawberries” in French?
- If you were a pokémon-trainer, which pokémon would you want? (Answer: one that can vacuum clean)
While my daughter’s questions are mostly homework-related and the answers to these are usually straightforward, my son’s questions are often philosophical and at length arguments are required to support my stand.
It’s a miracle I did not type “rubber” instead of “rhubarb” and such. But I didn’t, I checked. And that means that you too can make this tart. I like several things about it: how pretty the small ruby cubes of rhubarb look in the custard, the inclusion of clove (one of my favorite spices) and the balance between sweet and tart that makes it equally suitable for a brunch. I also like that it’s pretty easy and fast to make. The dough is not a pie dough but a batter, so no chilling and no rolling out. This also means that the custard gently merges with the dough, I don’t exactly know why this is appealing, but it is. More rhubarb: free-form rhubarb tarts, rhubarb cobbler.

Rhubarb tart with orange custard
Adapted from Deborah Madison: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Tart dough
115 g (½ cup) unsalted butter
90 g (½ cup) sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grated orange zest
120 g (1 cup) unbleached flour

Filling
700 g (1 ½ pounds) rhubarb
100 to 150 g (½ to ¾ cup) natural cane sugar
¼ tsp ground clove
1 tbsp orange juice
1 egg
125 ml (½ cup) creme fraiche or cream

Preheat the oven to 185 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit).
Peel the rhubarb if it’s tough and stringy and dice it into small squares, about 8 mm (1/3 inch) across. Toss it with the sugar, using the larger amount for a sweeter tart, clove, and orange juice and set aside.
Butter a 28 cm (11 inch) tart pan and dust lightly with flour. Cream the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla and orange zest, then stir in the flour and salt. Using a spatula, smooth the batter into the tart pan, pushing it up against the edges to make a slight rim.
Beat the egg in a measuring jug, then add the juices that have collected from the rhubarb with enough cream to make 250 ml (1 cup). Distribute the rhubarb over the batter, keeping it within the rim. Pour the custard over the rhubarb and bake until set and lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar.

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