A simple—gorgeous and delicious—Rhubarb Pistachio Tart using frozen puff pastry, a few stalks of rhubarb, and bright green ground pistachio. The recipe goes easily vegan by leaving out the labneh and egg (and being sure to purchase oil-based puff pastry).
Lily of the Valley. Pink Peony. Rhubarb. These first flavors of late spring are the old-fashioned ones, the ones that gilded the yard of my grandmother, Alice Abowd, on Maple Street in Fostoria.
I remember long aisles of rhubarb especially, and I remember being surprised that the stalks were edible. She made rhubarb sauce, or rhubarb pie. We were talking recently about all of the glorious corners of my mom’s yard back on Wagon Wheel Lane, where she had what she called her mother’s lily of the valley, her peonies, her rhubarb.
The connection continues to be a kind of lifeline for Mom, as though when these bloom, her mama is back with her again in a way that she wasn’t all winter long.
By luck and grace, my own yard today blooms every spring with a big patch of lily of the valley, and a beauty of a peony. The rhubarb is missing, so I have to tap in where it grows wild along the river where I run. For the season, I pass there and my mind goes straight to my grandmother’s yard, my mother’s yard, and how those places were expressions of who they were, and how the very sight of it all every spring still connects Mom to her mom, and me to them.
That rhubarb along the river also gets me going on how delicious its tart flavor is, and all of the ways it would taste so great—saucy and in pies, yes, the old-fashioned way with Mom’s best pie crust. But also anew, layered with tart labneh and paired with pistachio for flavor and a dazzling color combination.
I like to move quickly and easily with my rhubarb pistachio tart, by using purchased puff pastry. Mom and her mom would be okay with that, and more than okay with the look and taste of this one.
Meanwhile I’m surveying the yard this spring, planning to expand the bed of lily of the valley (more is more), looking for a spot to plant the missing rhubarb, so the circle with be complete.
Rhubarb Pistachio Tart
All-butter frozen puff pastry such as Dafour is a treat, but oil-based frozen puff pastry, such as Peppridge Farms, readily available in most grocery stores, is just fine. Inspired by Izy Hosack's frame tart! If you're making this vegan, leave out the labneh sub more apricot jam for the egg wash.
- 1 box frozen puff pastry
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup labneh or Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup ground pistachios
- 3-4 stalks rhubarb, all similar size
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
Thaw the puff pastry at room temperature for 40 minutes. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 400 degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment.
If using Pepperidge Farms, unfold one of the puff pastrysheets on the parchment-lined sheet pan and prick all over with a fork. If using Dafour, unfold the pastry sheet and cut it into about a 9-inch square. Cut 4 1½-inch wide strips from the other sheet or remaining pastry. These will form a perimeter second layer on the square piece.
Brush the perimeter of the pastry square lightly with beaten egg to create a glue for the strips. Lay the strips around the perimeter with the egg wash, cutting the strips to fit so that they don’t overlap at the corners. Brush the tops of the strips with egg wash.
Sprinkle half of the pistachios evenly over the center of the pastry square. Spoon dollops of labneh in several spots over the pistachios. Spread the labneh using an offset knife, without lifting it off the pistachios as you go (it’ll be easier to spread the less the knife is lifted).
Measure the length of the internal square of the
pastry, and cut several pieces of rhubarb to this length. Lay the rhubarb pieces
snugly next to each other to fill the pastry.
In a small bowl, rub the sugar with and lemon zest with your
fingers to release the lemon flavor. Add the rose water and mix to combine.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the rhubarb.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is deep golden brown and the rhubarb is soft. Cool the tart for 10 minutes. Warm the apricot jam for a few seconds in the microwave then brush the tops of the rhubarb with the jam.
Sprinkle the pistachios in rows between the rhubarb slices; this is easiest using your fingers to control where the pistachio lands.
Slice and serve warm, or at room temperature.