Yes, it may seem a little late in the year now to talk about rhubarb, but my neighbor’s mom recently gave me some after telling me she hated it and didn't know what to do with it. For a moment, as she handed me the hated stalks, I felt offended for all rhubarb-kind as I am actually a fan. But then I got over it, walked into the house and promptly stuffed all of it into our fridge’s veggie bin.
I almost forgot about it.
Then, during one of those rare moments when I do actually sit down in front of the TV, I happened to see the first episode of Derek on Netflix and realized I had to do something with that rhubarb.
Did you see that episode?
Derek is a sweet, developmentally delayed fellow who works as an aide in a small retirement home called Broad Hill. He’s played by the British comedian, Ricky Gervais. You’d think that this might be a recipe for a TV show of bad taste or ill-humor or both, but it actually has a lot of heart, starting with the character Derek himself.
That surprised me.
Anyway, back to the bit about rhubarb. During episode one, Derek gets very excited about the dessert being served at the home that day. He recalls that it’s Monday, his "absolute favorite day" because Monday means rhubarb crumble and pudding! He goes to fetch his dessert, puts it down for a moment and then promptly sits on it. (Oh no!)
It is all over his pants. And while everyone is laughing, poor Derek has lost his serving of rhubarb crumble and pudding.
Well, I think he might enjoy this dessert. The filling is custardy and tart with rhubarb and the addition of lemon juice. Lemon zest adds a floral note.
The crust is actually a coconut and oat cookie dough sweetened with Lyle’s Golden syrup and pressed into a tart tin. Bay leaves have been infused in the butter for the dough, leaving a nice bit of the herbal.
It’s a simple-to-make dessert that’s full of heart. Like Derek.
Hope you enjoy it!
Rhubarb-Lemon Tart with Bay Leaf-Infused Cookie Crust
Makes six individual tarts or one large tart.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces (8 tablespoons/1 stick) unsalted butter, in 6 pieces
5 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons Lyle's golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
8 ounces rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces
¾ cup water
6 large eggs
¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons superfine (baker’s) sugar
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup lemon juice (approximately what you’ll get from one large lemon)
Zest from one lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, coconut, sugar and salt.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Place bay leaves in the butter and cover for at least 15 minutes or longer , depending on how prominent you want the bay leaf scent and flavor to be. Reheat gently and add golden syrup stirring together.
Place the baking soda in a small bowl and stir in the boiling water. Stir the baking soda mixture into the butter mixture. Then, stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture to combine. Press dough into your tart tin(s). Make sure there are no cracks or holes or else your filling will leak later on and that's a sad thing.
Place parchment on top of the crust and add weights (dried beans are nice). Bake for 5 minutes. Set aside while you work on your filling.
For the Filling:
Place rhubarb in a small saucepan and add the water. Cover and cook on low for approximately 20 minutes, until rhubarb is very soft. Puree and press through a strainer. Set aside ½ cup of the strained puree.
Mix eggs and sugar together, beating lightly for a few seconds. No need to be overly enthusiastic, as you don’t want the mixture to become frothy. Stir in rhubarb puree, lemon juice and cream. Pour the mixture through a sieve. Stir in lemon zest. Pour filling into tart shell. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The filling will still be a bit wobbly. Remove and allow to cool.
This tart enjoys playing dress up with a dollop or two of barely-sweetened whipped cream.
Crust lightly adapted from Bojon Gourmet, filling inspired by Nigel Slater.