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Rhubarb Buttermilk Tarts with Brown Butter Ice Cream

Menu PartDessert
Rhubarb tarts

Chef Rodney Cerdan

Prospect Restaurant

San Francisco

It’s debatable whether rhubarb is a fruit or vegetable, but the fresh stalks are a true sign of spring. Chef Rodney Cerdan poaches the rhubarb in vanilla syrup and turns it into a jam for these individual pies. Homemade brown butter ice cream adds the finishing touch.


Brown butter ice cream

9 large egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 ¼ cups whole milk

¼ cup plus 3 1/3 tbsp. heavy cream

4 oz. brown butter, melted

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

Port wine rhubarb jam

1 lb. 2 oz. fresh rhubarb, sliced

2 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp. sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp. port wine

2½ tbsp. grenadine

½ tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1 vanilla bean

Vanilla poached rhubarb

2 pounds trimmed rhubarb, cut into ¼-inc pieces

6 cups simple syrup

2 vanilla beans

Buttermilk pie filling

3 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 cup plus 1½ tbsp. brown sugar

2½ tbsp. all-purpose flour

4 oz. brown butter, melted

1¼ cups plus 2½ tbsp. buttermilk, room temperature

¾ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

¼ tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Brown butter crumble

1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons almond flour/meal

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

5 ounces brown butter, melted

Tart dough

2¼ cups plus 3 tbsp. toasted almond flour/meal

1¾ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1¾ cups plus 3 tbsp. cake flour

12 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2½ tbsp. sugar

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks


1. For ice cream: Prepare an ice bath. Set a bowl in the ice bath with a strainer across the top.

2. In large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt until the mixture has thickened.

3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer. Slowly whisk the milk into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon (steam will just begin to rise from the surface), scraping sides and bottom often.

4. Remove from heat; stir in cream, brown butter and vanilla. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

5. Strain into bowl in ice bath, and cool, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate until very cold, preferably overnight.

6. Blend again if the butter has separated. Pour into an ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturer’s instructions until the texture of soft serve. For a firmer consistency, transfer to a storage container and freeze to harden.

7. Meanwhile, for rhubarb jam, in large saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, port wine, grenadine and salt. Scrape vanilla bean and add seeds and pod to pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often to keep from scorching, until rhubarb releases all its liquid, is tender and thickens, about 10 minutes. Reserve.

8. For poached rhubarb, place rhubarb in large bowl. Pour simple syrup into Dutch oven; scrape vanilla beans and add seeds and pods to syrup. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Pour vanilla syrup over rhubarb in bowl. Reserve.

9. For brown butter crumble, preheat oven to 325 F. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flours, sugars and salt. With mixer running on low speed, slowly add butter; continue to mix until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a sheet pan and bake, stirring once halfway through, until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

10. For tart dough, sift flours into medium bowl. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and yolks; mix until just incorporated. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

11. Transfer to work surface, bring together by hand, if needed, and divide in half. Flatten each piece into a disc about ½-inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

12. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line sheet pan(s) with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange twenty-four 3-to-3 ½-inch tart/flan rings on pans. Working with the first piece of dough, unwrap and place between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Remove top piece of parchment paper, cut circles to fit and line 12 of the rings, being sure to gently press against sides and into bottom edges. Repeat with remaining dough and rings. Patch any cracks. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then trim tops to remove any excess dough.

13. Line shells with parchment paper, letting it extend over top of the rings, and fill with dried beans. Bake, rotating pan once, until sides are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove parchment and the beans and cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 5 minutes.

14. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely. Run a paring knife around edge of each tart to loosen from rings and lift off the rings.

15. For pie filling, in medium bowl, whisk together eggs and yolks. Whisk in sugar and flour, followed by brown butter, buttermilk, nutmeg and salt; whisk until smooth. Transfer to a spouted measuring cup for easier pouring.

16. To assemble and bake: Brush bottom of tarts with rhubarb jam and top with about 2 tablespoons drained, poached rhubarb. Pour in buttermilk filling to cover rhubarb. Bake until set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

17. To assemble, sprinkle top of tarts generously with baked crumble. Brush jam on bottom of each serving plate and set the tart on top. Add a scoop of brown butter ice cream.

Photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board


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