Rhubarb shortbread tart

A big bundle of rhubarb stalks had been sitting in our kitchen all week, waiting for us to do something with it. But having already made rhubarb pie, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb muffins and eaten various combinations of rhubarb jams the last couple of seasons, I didn’t feel too inspired.

Still, I didn’t want our farmers market purchase to go to waste, so I dug through my cookbooks and online recipes for ideas. And I got pretty much the same results – crisps, pies, cobblers, jams…nothing jumped out.

Until I saw a super simple recipe for a shortbread crust that you could fill with just about any fruit filling to create a quick tart that most importantly, did not require you to make pie crust. Hallelujah.

Pie crust is awesome, but it’s more work than I felt like doing that day. And I was also out of just about everything, so I had to pick a recipe that didn’t require me to go to the store.

For the filling I chose to make my crisp filling, minus the strawberries since I didn’t have any. And I thought I should top it with something, so I followed the directions from yet another recipe for a crumb topping. And it came out great! I cooked down the rhubarb enough to take out a lot of the overwhelming tartness, and the shortbread bottom gives it a cookie-like crunch, which I love. The tart itself (I guess it’s only sort of a tart, but oh well) is also a much more manageable size than the giant pan of crisp, which goes a little easier on the thighs.

So if you’re looking for something new to do with the last rhubarb stalks of the season, try this.

Rhubarb shortbread tart
adapted from Simply in Season cookbook

1 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the crust, mix together ingredients until crumbly (a pastry cutter works great) with no pieces bigger than a pea.

Press into a 9-inch pie or tart pan.

Bake at 425 degrees until golden, 10-12 minutes. Cool. (Not the most beautiful crust ever made, but it sure tastes good.)

4 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine rhubarb, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (wait long enough for the water to start coming out of the fruit), then reduce heat to medium and cook 4 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water. I love to use a tiny whisk for this.

Add it to the rhubarb mixture and cook a couple more minutes until thickened.

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Mix the oats and brown sugar. Then cut in the butter (again, the pastry cutter works well for this).

When your crust is cool, spread the filling on top. Then sprinkle the crumb topping over that. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the crumb topping is browned.

Serve with a small scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, if you like.