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Rhubarb Tart & Crème Fraîche

Rhubarb is such a delight. In early spring, great big bundles of it push out of the ground, and its red stalks and broad, green leaves — suddenly everywhere — are a humble harbinger of warmer weather and the beginning of Minnesota’s growing season. It’s a favorite in our kitchen, where we use it to make cocktails, chutney, and of course, pie.

For this rustic pastry, we tossed the bitter stalks with lemon, thyme, and a small amount of sugar and tucked them into a thin yet buttery crust. The result is a light, crispy tart that’s both savory and sweet. Here, we put a dollop of crème fraîche on it to make an appetizer, but you could easily top it with whipped cream and call it dessert.

Rhubarb Tart & Crème Fraîche

Servings: 6


    For the crème fraîche:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • For the crust:
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • cup ice cold water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ tsp flake salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ stick unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • For the tart:
  • 8 6-inch stalks of rhubarb, sliced lengthwise, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 whole egg, whisked
  • Flake salt, for garnish


  1. To make the crème fraîche: In a sanitized quart mason jar, combine the cream and buttermilk. Cover the jar tightly with cheesecloth and store it in a cool, dry place for 24 to 30 hours.
  2. Remove the cheesecloth and cover tightly with a lid.
  3. Store the crème fraîche in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or until you’re ready to make the tart.
  4. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375º.
  5. In a medium bowl whisk together the honey, water, and egg yolk until combined. Set aside.
  6. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to mix.
  7. Add the chilled butter and pulse 6 to 7 times just to break up the butter.
  8. Add the honey mixture to the dry mixture and pulse until a very loose dough has formed.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead it into a round shape a few inches thick.
  10. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill it in the refrigerator for an hour.
  11. To make the tart: In a large bowl, toss all of the filling ingredients together — except the egg and flake salt.
  12. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round, roughly 1⁄4-inch thick.
  13. Arrange the rhubarb in one layer on the crust, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Note: we arranged ours in a fancy design, but the tart will taste just as delicious if you do something simpler.
  14. Fold the edge over the filling, leaving the center open.
  15. Brush the crust with the whisked egg, and sprinkle the crust and filling with a little sugar, thyme, and flake salt.
  16. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm or cool with a dollop of crème fraîche.