Rustic Rhubarb, Almond, and Honey Tart {Gluten-Free}

A few readers who saw my post on turning down a book deal understood that I no longer wished to publish a cookbook. Au contraire! Rather, I realized the value in working with an agent who could advise and advocate for me. It was too late to go that route with that particular publisher, but I’ve been researching and contacting literary agents. In the meantime, I’m testing a slew of recipes behind the scenes.

In the past week I’ve made:

  • 3 coffeecakes
  • 3 crisps
  • 1 pie
  • 1 pound cake
  • 1 oven pancake
  • 1 batch of turnovers
  • ice cream
  • and this tart

That is way too much sweet stuff to have in one’s apartment. (Though somehow, I still managed to polish off a bar of chocolate as well.) In any case, my coping mechanism is:

a) take a vigorous yoga class daily
b) fob off baked goods on yoga teacher

Back in January, I made two resolutions: (this post is getting very list-y)

1) take an early morning yoga class just once
2) switch my bank to a credit union

I’ve never been a morning person, so I felt that dragging my tired bones out of bed at 6:30 am in order to get massacred in pretzel-like poses would be a fun challenge. Jay decided to join me, and we somehow managed to get ourselves hooked on the 7:30 am classes at San Francisco’s Yoga Mayu, a beautiful studio owned by our friends and neighbors Gizella and Robert.

I found it so nice to roll out of bed and, before I could second-guess myself or become engrossed in taking BuzzFeed quizzes working, pull on some stretchy pants and take a stroll in the morning air down to the studio for a can of daily whoop-ass. As a bonus, it got me up and energized, leaving time during the few precious hours of Winter daylight to take pictures of food.

So while the second resolution has yet to be resolved, and what little money I have is still being controlled by a shanky big bank that thinks it’s cool to change the terms of my account and begin charging me monthly fees for having less money than they now require (thanks, guys), the early morning yoga habit stuck.

One of the teachers, Roy Gan, is beautiful inside and out and, like all good yoga teachers, has a bit of a sadistic streak. He refers to his morning class as “espresso,” enjoys laughing evilly while he holds us in some torturous abdominal exercise, and works us so hard that we are often able to wring out our clothes after class.

I brought Roy a slice of this tart the other day, and was surprised to find him unfamiliar with rhubarb. With rhubarb being so trendy these days in the foodblogosphere, I forget sometimes that not everyone is acquainted with the plant that looks like celery but tastes like lemon and flowers. Roy looked at the rosy stalks, clearly puzzled. “What is this?” he asked.

I considered how to describe rhubarb to someone who had never tasted it. The closest cousin to rhubarb is celery in terms of its stalk-like nature, but the thought of a sweet celery pie or tart never elicits gustatory excitement in the recipient. Still, I couldn’t stop myself from blurting, “It’s kind of like celery, only…different.”

Roy eyed the stalks warily. “Yeah,” he said, “I thought so.”

I thought that perhaps a bite of buttery crust, pillowy almond paste and tender, sweet rhubarb would wipe the disgusted expression from Roy’s face, but instead he remained a study in politeness and said, “The crust is very good.”

While I learned anew that rhubarb isn’t for everyone, I was at least glad that my flaky, gluten-free crust passed the Roy test. The right flour blend and a few sneaky techniques – namely cold butter left in big chunks, a fraisage to bring the dough together, and a bit of rolling and folding à la puff pastry – makes the dough nearly as flaky as a wheat-based dough. It stands up well to the filling, staying crisp even days after baking.

I adapted a favorite citrus tart, a Big Sur Bakery Cookbook inspiration that I posted last year at the request of my friend Amelia. A simple frangipane of sorts made from almonds, sugar, butter, and eggs tops a large rectangle of dough whose edges fold over to form a crust. The rhubarb stalks are simply halved lengthwise (or quartered if very thick), then laid across the tart over the almond paste and sprinkled with sugar. A stint in a hot oven leaves them perfectly tender. I drizzle the tart with runny honey and cut it into squares that are easy to devour out of and; no fussy plates or forks necessary.

The finished product reminds me of an almond croissant, shatteringly crisp and fragrant with almond, plus tangy freshness from the meltingly tender rhubarb.

Regardless, I probably won’t be bringing Roy anymore of this tart. Unlike him, I’m not that sadistic.

Many thanks to Jay’s mom Mary for the multi-hued hen’s eggs and chubby rhubarb stalks that made this tart extra-awesome!

Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin’, Pinterest, or Instagram, subscribe to receive posts via email, or make a donation.

Rooting for Rhubarb:

Hibiscus Rhubarb + Haupia {Coconut Milk Pudding}
Strawberry Rhubarb Bourbon Cobbler with Ginger Oat Scones
Rhubarb Bourbon Brown Butter Tart with Almond Crust

One year ago:

Ginger Rhubarb Bee’s Knees Cocktail
Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Tart with Polenta Crust 

Two years ago:

Gluten-Free Espresso Cheesecake Brownies 

Three years ago:

Fava Bean and Radish Crostini 

Four years ago:

Creamy Sesame Soba Noodle Salad
Rosemary Pine Nut Biscotti

Rustic Rhubarb, Almond, and Honey Tart

Adapted from my Rustic Citrus Almond Tart, which I adapted from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

If gluten isn’t an issue for you or your guests, make this tart with my wheat-based Flakiest, All-Butter Pie Dough instead, and use all-purpose wheat flour in the frangipane instead of the rice flour. In the filling, I used two smallish eggs, plus a third egg for brushing the edges of the tart. Alternatively, whisk two large eggs together in a bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons and set them aside for brushing the dough, then use the remaining beaten egg in the filling.

Makes 1 large tart, 12 servings

For the almond paste:
1 cup (3.25 ounces / 90 grams) sliced almonds (or whole or slivered almonds)
6 tablespoons (2.5 ounces / 75 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces / 40 grams) sweet rice flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces / 85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 smallish eggs, plus 1 more for brushing the tart (or 1 1/2 large eggs, other half of egg reserved for brushing the tart)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For finishing the tart:
1 recipe Gluten-Free All-Butter Pie Dough fraisaged, and roll-fold-rolled
oat flour for rolling the dough
5 – 6 medium stalks rhubarb, at least 14″ long
about 3 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling
about 4 tablespoons honey, for drizzling

Make the almond paste:
In the body of a food processor, combine the almonds, sugar, rice flour and salt. Process until the almonds are finely ground. Add the softened butter, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and process to a paste. If the paste is very runny, cover and chill for 20-30 minutes until firm.

Shape the tart:
If the dough is cold, let it stand at room temperature until slightly softened, 5 minutes in a warm kitchen or 15 minutes in a cool kitchen. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of parchment paper dusted lightly with oat flour, and gently begin pressing it flat, then rolling it into a 12×16″ rectangle. As you work, periodically peel back the top piece of parchment, dust the dough lightly with flour, replace the parchment, grasp the dough sandwich with both hands and flip the whole thing over. Peel off the new top piece of parchment, dust with flour, and continue to roll. If the dough is uneven, cut off the long bits and press them onto the short bits, rolling to adhere. When your rectangle is 12×16″, trim the sides so that they’re even and straight. (If your dough becomes soft or sticky at any point, slip it onto a baking
sheet, parchment and all, and chill it for 10-20 minutes to firm the
butter.)

Slide the dough onto a sheet pan, still on the parchment. Spread the almond paste over the dough, leaving a 1″ border all the way around. Gently fold over the edges to make a crust. Chill the dough until firm, 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.

Trim your rhubarb stalks the length of the dough, then cut them in half lengthwise (or in quarters if they’re very fat). When the dough has chilled, lay the rhubarb across the dough, placing the stalks fairly close together. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the sugar all over the rhubarb and crust.

Bake the tart until the almond paste is golden and puffed and the rhubarb is tender, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Just before serving, drizzle all over with the honey, and cut into 12 rectangles.

The tart is best the day of baking. It will keep at cool room temperature for up to 1 day, and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

64 thoughts on “Rustic Rhubarb, Almond, and Honey Tart {Gluten-Free}”

  1. Those honey-drizzle action shots, oh my! Astounding.

    I think Roy just needs a little more time with rhubarb… And I also admire the heck out of your early-morning routine. That's commitment.

    1. Thanks, lady! I had too much fun shooting those. Hm, did I fail to mention that the class is only three days a week? *bats eyes innocently*

  2. I'm so glad you hear you are still pursuing a cookbook deal. I'm sure the end result, when you find the right publisher, will be wonderful. I'll definitely be in line to get my copy. By the way, those photos of the honey drizzling are just beautiful. :)

  3. I am one of those who have never cooked/tried Rhubarb even though there are Rhubarb recipes everywhere I turn. But then when you say, "The finished product reminds me of an almond croissant…" Ok, enough said, lady. I will definitely Rhubarb now, esp. your recipe :)

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your photos as always. Also, I am waiting for your cookbook, seriously :)

    1. Aww! Thanks, Pang. I think you'll get hooked once you try it – so tangy and complex and utterly unique. :) BTW, your photos are out of control!

  4. Alanna, this looks life changing! It is so beautiful. And I think the way you are going about the book is awesome. The publisher that gets you is one lucky team!

  5. If I wouldn't be on whole30 I would come over to taste this! It looks so delious, as eveb if Rhubarb is a big thing in Germany I have never really tasted it too!c

  6. wow those photos are AWESOME!!! <3 <3 i never manage to take decent photos while cooking.. i should have an assistant or so :))

  7. Lovely tart and beautiful pictures. Impressed with your work-out routine especially if in the beginning you were not a morning person. Also impressive is you understanding what you need in order to write the cookbook you want and following it.

  8. I should have started commenting so much sooner.

    First, I'm glad to hear you're working with a literary agent on a cookbook. You have a lot to offer and I would love having your cookbook on my kitchen bookcase (yes, I'm that hardcore). I really think that what doomed your last project, more than anything else, was that you had the wrong editor. Perhaps his numbers were honest and his negotiations fair, but when you cannot get comfortable you do not have a basis for collaboration. I'm something of a Julia Child groupie–I grew up in the town where she lived and my family knew her on a first-name basis–so I'll again make reference to the fact that it took nine years to publish MTAOFC. Now that you're underway with cookbookery in earnest, I really can't recommend strongly enough a read of "As Always, Julia," if you haven't cracked the cover yet. It's the correspondence between Mrs Child and Avis DeVoto, who was her advocate and eventual dear friend as the book traveled from publisher to publisher. You'll enjoy it: it's proto-feminism, anti-McCarthyism, culinary history, and great humor in epistolary form. Get it–it will energize you for the project.

    Second, did I miss a step or did you simply lay raw stalks of rhubarb on your pastry cream without fussing with the boiling and cups of sugar and whatnot? Because I have always felt guilty about rhubarb. I know I'm supposed to enjoy it as an East-Coast localvore but it has always been too much stewing and stirring in summertime for what is basically the poor-man's lemon substitute. So if you're telling me that high heat in the oven skips that step, you made a rhubarb convert. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Sully! This is pretty much my favorite note ever – thank you for putting a huge smile on my face!

      You are exactly right about that editor and myself not jibing; if we had been able to communicate more easily, the whole thing would have felt like less of a daunting struggle. There were just too many strikes against the project, and I might have tolerated the other problems had it seemed financially worth it, but it just seemed like it wasn't going to pay off monetarily or emotionally. I already do enough labor-of-love type jobs, so I didn't need a long-term one complete with a binding contract, thank you very much. Ok, .

      I'm fascinated by your connection with Julia Child! How cool. I'm looking for a new book to read and that one sounds perfect – thank you for the recommendation. My mom actually gave me two Julia books for Hanukkah – both about cats 'cause we are crazy cat ladies, which I'm loving.

      And yes, the raw rhubarb stalks go straight into the oven and miraculously cook until tender! I used to think rhubarb needed to have the dickens cooked out of it, but when I learned that some people eat the stuff raw, I decided to throw caution to the wind. Let me know what you think if you give it a whirl! You'll not consider it a poor man's lemon substitute anymore, I'm pretty certain. Cheers!

  9. I have no doubt you will find the perfect agent who will champion you and your beautiful work. Your posts are so inspiring to me…and I know they're inspiring to many others. This tart is gorgeous. I don't know if I could want a dessert more!

  10. These photos — WOW. And if you need anyone to take the rest of this tart off your hands, I happen to LOVE rhubarb. ;)

    P.S. Just read your post about the cookbook deal and it is so informative and inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  11. I am obsessed with your "action" shots in this post!! Literally can't stop looking at them! Can I please move in with you? I promise I won't complain when you ask me to help you eat all the baked goods you are testing :) I really enjoy the tartness of rhubarb and love that you used the whole stalks. These looks absolutely delicious! I'm off to go get sucked into Buzzfeed quizzes :)

  12. Oh my goodness you have been a baking dynamo!!!! Truly you would be too big to get thru the door to your Yoga class if 1) you didn't go to class to start with 2) that you gave away some of your culinary efforts to the yoga teachers. I was not expecting this technique for the tart. Wild! I like it. Easy and the fruit is straight up, right there.

  13. Hello again!
    Beautiful photography Alanna, so happy I found your blog through our cookbook stories!
    This must be the prettiest rubarb tart I've seen ever!
    I've been trying to grow it myself but I am such an awful gardener that the slugs eat everything before I do!

    1. Hi, Regula! Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm so glad to have found your site, too. I know about awful gardening – my plants are all infested with aphids. Boo, slugs! I hope they leave your rhubarb alone so that you may enjoy some of its loveliness.

  14. I have been stalking your blog for quite a while; it's absolutely lovely (I'm slightly jealous of your mad photography skills!). :)

    This rhubarb tart is lush and brilliant! I'm slowly starting to introduce myself to the world of gf baking.

    Also, yoga is the way to go! I'm too lazy to run and have found that yoga & pilates help balance my baking addiction. :D

    1. Valerie! Thanks so much for saying so. I've been stalking *your* blog and am jealous of *your* mad photo skills! I've been finding GF baking a fun challenge, and so gratifying as I feel better eating a low-gluten diet and about half the people I know are doing the same. Thanks for reading, and for your sweet note!

  15. Alanna, your photography and recipes are simply gorgeous! I do hope the cookbook thing works out for you, it will all work out. By the way, I just moved to the Bay Area two weeks ago and I'm worried that I've completely missed rhubarb season, I can't seem to find it anywhere in the farmer's markets.

    1. Hi, Nik! Wow, I feel the same way about your photos! Thanks a bunch for the kind words of encouragement. And welcome to the Bay Area! I don't go to farmer's markets that often, though I don't recall ever seeing rhubarb there, either. I usually get it at Rainbow grocery co-op in SF. They should also have it at Berkeley Bowl, and possibly Monterey Market and some Whole Foods. But definitely at Rainbow! I got lucky this time and scored a whole bunch from my sweetie's mom, who grows it in her garden in Santa Cruz. Hope that helps.

      I'd love to meet up for coffee sometime if you ever find yourself in the city!

  16. I saw this and I knew I *had* to make it right away this evening ! It just came out of the oven and is so good! Thank you for sharing :)

  17. I love your blog, your picture, your cooking design ( This recipe is so graphic!)
    Please tell me your story, are you a photographer -so sophisticated work! ( This is a compliment)
    How long for such a post?
    Bravo!

  18. So I just made this tart (non-gluten free version) and it's delicious. It was fun to make and the almond paste is amazing! I picked the rhubarb from my garden and they were a little thin so I wish I used more rhubarb. Next time I think ill cover the entire surface or at least most of it with rhubarb. It comes out so citrus-y and tart and tastes so good with the honey and almond paste. Yum! Make this!

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