If you love things that are sour and sweet at the same time, then you'll love this delicious Rhubarb Cream Tart. It's a simple rhubarb tart recipe made with a simple brown sugar cookie crust with a honey and vanilla mascarpone filling and sweet and tangy rhubarb compote. This recipe is easy to make and perfect for when you want a special treat for family get-togethers.
It's the beginning of rhubarb season and I love baking with it and trying new desserts. If you've never made a dessert with rhubarb before I hope you will try this recipe. Or perhaps try my Flaky Rhubarb Hand Pies or my Rhubarb Crumb Cake.
Why This Recipe Works
Rhubarb is a vegetable, but when cooked with a little sugar and paired with the right ingredients it becomes a great dessert. In this case it is paired with an easy-to-make vanilla mascarpone filling and a brown sugar crust. The combination of the sweet crust with the creamy mascarpone and sweet-tart rhubarb is absolutely delicious.
Rhubarb pairs really well with other fruit, especially strawberries. I have two recipes pairing strawberries and rhubarb - Rhubarb Strawberry Pie and Strawberry Rhubarb Curd Tarts. Both are delicious.
Rhubarb Cream Tart Ingredients
This recipe starts with a simple 5 ingredient tart crust. Because it is so simple it is important to use good quality ingredients like butter. It is also one of the reasons I love using Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour. The quality of this flour ensures I get great and consistent results in all my baked goods.
Brown Sugar Tart Crust Ingredients:
- Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour. Provides the structure for the tart crust.
- Unsalted Butter. Make sure to use good quality butter. Since this recipe has only 5 ingredients the taste of the butter will stand. In addition a low-quality (i.e. not enough fat) will make the dough crumbly
- Light Brown Sugar. The brown sugar provides a light caramel flavor that goes well with the rhubarb
- Kosher Salt. Salt adds flavor and depth to the tart crust
- Ground Cardamom. The ground cardamom is optional for this recipe. It provides a slight floral, spicy taste.
The Rhubarb Compote is simple to make and has only four ingredients:
- Fresh Rhubarb. Try to buy the thinner stalks of rhubarb. They are sweeter than the thicker stalks and easier to chop
- Granulated Sugar. Start with the amount of sugar in this recipe and then adjust in according to the desired level of sweetness.
- Orange Zest. The orange zest pairs really well with the rhubarb and the mascarpone.
- Water. This is just enough water to help cook and breakdown the rhubarb
The Mascarpone Filling is easy to make and one of my favorite fillings. It has just four (4) ingredients:
- Mascarpone Cheese. Mascarpone has a sweet, fresh buttery flavor that goes really well with the tanginess of the rhubarb compote.
- Honey. Honey continues the vanilla notes and adds a warm depth of flavor. If you don't have honey, start with 2 tablespoons of sugar to sweeten the mascarpone. After whipping the mascarpone taste it and add more sugar to the desired level of sweetness.
- Heavy Cream. The cream is whipped with the mascarpone to create a creamy pillowy filling.
- Vanilla Bean. The vanilla is a great flavor complement with the rhubarb. Use vanilla bean paste if you have can't get fresh vanilla beans.
How to Make the Rhubarb Cream Tart
The tart has three elements, each of which are easy to make. The recipe starts with the rhubarb compote. I recommend making this first, so it has plenty of time to cool. It can even be made the day before and refrigerated until ready to use.
How to Make the Tart Crust
Start by placing all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisking them to combine. You may need to break up the clumps of brown sugar with your fingers.
Part of the success with this crust is to add the melted butter to the dry ingredients while it is still hot and then press the dough into the pan while it is still warm. There is no need to butter the pan before pressing the dough into the pan.
Bake the crust until it is a deep golden brown.
How to Make the Rhubarb Compote
The rhubarb compote the day before you make the tart. Use thinner stalks of rhubarb. They are sweeter and easier to cut. Cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch thick pieces.
Place the rhubarb, sugar, water, and orange zest in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rhubarb until there are no pieces visible and it is soft.
Scrape the rhubarb compote into a bowl and let cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
How to Make the Mascarpone Cream Filling
This mascarpone filling is one of my favorites and super simple to make. I use a similar recipe for my Sweet Potato Sour Cream Cake and Bergamot Orange Olive Oil Cake. I've flavored the mascarpone with vanilla because the vanilla pairs really well with the tart rhubarb.
Place the cold mascarpone cream, the honey and vanilla bean in a mixing bowl. You can use vanilla beat paste instead of vanilla beans. Beat it on medium speed with a hand held mixer until the ingredients are well combined and it has creamy texture.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the heavy cream. When all of it has been added, increase the speed to medium and whip the mixture until soft peaks form.
Refrigerate the mascarpone filling until ready to assemble the tart.
How to Make the RhubarbTart
Take the baked brown sugar tart crust. Spoon about 1/4-1/3 cup of the rhubarb compote on the bottom of the tart and use the back of a large spoon to spread it evenly across the bottom.
Slowly spread the mascarpone filling slowly across the rhubarb filling. Try to get the layer as even as possible. Next spread the remaining rhubarb compote across the cream with an offset spatula. Smooth the surface. Sprinkle the edges with the chopped pistachios.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use thinner rhubarb stalks. They are sweeter and easier to cut.
- That being said, the sweetness of the rhubarb can vary so taste the rhubarb compote while it is still chunky and add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time according to the desired level of sweetness.
- Use good quality butter for the crust. The quality of the butter will affect both the crust texture and taste
- When pressing the dough into the tart pan take your time to ensure the sides and the bottom are even. When I first starting making this tart crust it would take me up to 10 minutes to get the dough just right in the pan.
How to Serve the Tart
The tart tastes best when eating at room temperature and when consumed within two days of making the tart. The filling gradually softens the crust and while it still tastes good, the crust won't have that nice snap and crunch that goes so well with the creamy and fruity filling.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
I have not yet successfully made this tart crust with gluten-free flour. You can try, but I can't guarantee the results.
Yes, you can make it with cream cheese, but I think the slight tartness of cream cheese makes the combination with the rhubarb too tart.
The tart is best served the day it is made. After it is assembled it can sit a room temperature a for few hours. The tart should be served within 2 days of assembling it because the cream filling and rhubarb filling soften the crust.
More Spring Time Pies and Tarts
I love making pies and tarts. I think they're a great way to take advantage of seasonal fruit. Here are a few of my favorites:
If you like baking with seasonal ingredients then you definitely want to make this Rhubarb Cream Tart. It's fairly simple to make and you'll enjoy the results. If you make it please leave a comment below. And if you want to be notified of new recipes at the Bakes by Brown Sugar blog, please sign up to receive the Baking Newsletter.
Rhubarb Cream Tart
- 9-inch Tart Pan
- 1 pound (454 grams) rhubarb, cut into 1/2 pieces
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
Brown Sugar Tart Crust
- 1 1/3 cups (189 grams) all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons (63 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 8 ounces (227 grams) mascarpone cold
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup heavy cream cold
- 1/4 cup pistachio nuts toasted and chop
For the Crust
- Adjust 1 oven rack to the middle position in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk flour, cardamom, brown sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a dough forms and no specks of flour remain. Using your hands, press two-thirds of dough into the tart pan with removable bottom. Press remaining dough into fluted sides of the pan. Press and smooth dough with your hands to even thickness.
- Place pan on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the middle rack, until the top edges of the crust turn golden brown and firm to touch, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
- Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. The crust can be made the day before. Cover it with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
- Chop the rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the, rhubarb sugar and water in a 3-quart saucepan and bring it to a boil, only stirring enough to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook stir continuously until the rhubarb is broken down and soft. The final mixture will resemble a puree.
- If the rhubarb starts to stick to the bottom of the pan as it is cooking, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. When the rhubarb is done taste it and if it is too tart for your tastes add more sugar 2 tablespoons at a time until the desired sweetness is reached.
- Scrap the rhubarb into a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature before making the tart. If making the tart the next day store the rhubarb in the refrigerator.
- Place the cold mascarpone and the honey in a large bowl. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla bean and add it to the bowl. With a handheld mixer mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and the honey is well combined with the mascarpone.
- With the mixer on low speed slowly stream in the heavy whipping cream. When all of it is added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until visible beater marks at left in the whipped mascarpone and there are soft peaks. Be careful not to overmix.
Assemble the Tart
- Spread about 1/4 cup of the rhubarb compote across the bottom of the tart crust. Cover with the whipped mascarpone and spread evenly over the rhubarb filling. Go slow so you don’t disturb the rhubarb filling. Top the cream filling with the remaining rhubarb compote. Sprinkle toasted chopped pistachios on top.
- The tart should be eaten within 2 days because the cream filling will soften the tart crust. The tart should be refrigerated but can sit at room temperature for a few hours.