i would probably bore you if i recounted the details of how many different incarnations this dessert had before its current state; but you should know that there were 2 batches of rhubarb curd (which is now my favorite thing to spoon into my mouth - move over peanut butter!), mini layer cakes, one large layer cake, 4 cans worth of coconut cream, not to mention flour, nut meal, and other ingredients. i shudder to even write down how much was squandered here in the name of a singe dessert, but i have some trusty peeps (namely my husband and dad, thanks guys!) on my side willing to eat the leftover disasters. the lesson learned out of all this you ask?...curd is THE word, and lemon + hazelnut is a new favorite combo! if you do nothing else, i urge you to make rhubarb curd, people!
when choosing to make a meringue pie/tart, the decision was easy. i was making this post with mother's day in mind, as well as with what's in season. my mom would make my brother his favorite dessert each year for his birthday which was a lemon meringue pie - her pie crust was, and still is, the best i've ever eaten, the lemon filling was always store bought and made on the stovetop (similar to jell-o), and she whipped up the meringue using my nana's recipe. my favorite part was when she plopped the meringue on top using a spatula to evenly spread it all over the pie, then with an up-and-down motion she would make tiny peaks over the surface that would get all toasty when she broiled it in the oven. i wish i could say that the rhubarb i used here was from my mom's garden; as she has a huge plant that we've been watching grow (here it was just a month ago; it's now quadrupled in size!). but alas, this rhubarb was store bought in the name of curd and mother's day!
wishing all the mamas out there a happy day!
*in case you missed it, i was over at Food 52 the other day where i highlighted fresh spring spinach, and incorporated it into 5 dinner time meals :) you can check it out here
rhubarb meringue tarts w/ lemon-hazelnut crust (gluten + dairy free)
i threw some strawberries in with the rhubarb curd for some added pink color, and for a bit of sweetness. i've also made it using 6 ounces strawberries and 6 ounces rhubarb, with really yummy results - but here i wanted to keep some of rhubarb's tartness intact, so i reduced the amount of strawberries. either way it's super delightful! i also reduced the amount of sugar, so if you're looking for a curd on the sweeter side, this is not it.
| makes 4 small tarts or one 9" tart |
(dairy free) rhubarb curd
- 10 ounces rhubarb (roughly 4-5 stalks), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 ounces strawberries, halved
- 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 large free range egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
- 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
- zest of one small lemon (or half of a large lemon)
- 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons grade a maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- 4 free range egg whites
- ~1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, water and 3 tablespoons of sugar. cook for 10-15 minutes - until rhubarb is soft and falling apart. remove from heat and let cool
- transfer fruit mixture to a food processor and puree mixture. over a bowl, put mixture through a fine mesh sieve. set aside
- in a large heat proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar, whisk in the fruit mixture. place bowl over a medium-sized pot with 1-inch of boiling water and stir continually with a rubber spatula until the mixture thickens, about 10-12 minutes. (the curd should thicken up and coat the back of your spatula when ready) remove from heat and pour curd mix into a lidded jar; place in freezer (without the lid) for about 15 minutes - you want the curd to be cold, not frozen. once cold, secure lid on the jar and place in the refrigerator until ready to use
- preheat oven to 350° and oil 4 small pie pans with coconut oil and set aside
- grind the hazelnuts in your food processor to make the meal. once ground, add lemon zest, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt. blend ingredients until a ball of dough forms. remove dough, and using your hands divide it evenly between the pie pans. press mixture evenly into each dish, moving up and around to distribute the dough; place the dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly toasted. remove from oven and let cool completely
- once the crusts have cooled, make the meringue. in a large bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar. using an electric mixer, whip the whites until stiff white peaks form, about 5-6 minutes. set aside
- preheat your broiler
- place about 3-4 tablespoons of rhubarb curd in each shell; spoon meringue over the curd and crusts and evenly distribute. use the back of a spatula to make peaks on top. place tarts on a baking sheet and broil for a few seconds, rotating to brown evenly, until toasted
- tarts are best eaten the day of, but can be refrigerated for about 1 day