I love this desert’s association of ingredients and textures: a crunchy sablé breton shortbread, the rhubarb’s acidity and the sweetness of fresh strawberries. Serve as a cake to share or tartelettes individual tarts.
To prepare the base of this tart – a thick cookie rather than a classic pie pastry – I use the same recipe as for sablés bretons (shortbread cookies from Brittany).
A pastry from Brittany always means using salted butter. If you don’t have any, you can add a generous pinch of salt, preferably fleur de sel which is, in size, between salt and coarse salt.
Do you know how to make such a thick shortbread? There are tricks to follow, otherwise even if you prepare a beautiful round shape, in the oven with the increasing heat, the dough will “run away” as we say in French and you’ll get a flat, even larger, galette. It’s actually important to place a cold dough in the hot oven rather than a dough at room temperature as the first one won’t have time to melt and spread out while starting to bake.
You first have to roll out the shortbread dough at the desired thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. It’s quite convenient as the dough won’t stick to the rolling pin and you won’t have to spread flour on the working surface. Quick to clean afterwards. At this stage the shape is coarse. Then you have to place this on a baking sheet (or the oven tray) and let it chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Once out of the refrigerator, remove the top parchment paper and shape the forms you wish to get. Two options: either delimit the shape with a knife and remove any excess, or use circle shapes or any shape of your choice: large circle of the size of a pie, any kind of individual shapes or even your child’s clay shapes (make sure not to choose too thin shapes). Then bake. It’s even better if you can leave the circles (metal, not plastic ones) while baking.
I recommend to prepare all ingredients (shortbread, rhubarb compote and washed and cut strawberries) and arrange the tart at the last moment (before dinner or before serving) so that the shortbread won’t soften too much in contact with the rhubarb’s moisture. It’ll only take a few minutes.
I usually double shortbread proportions and bake at the same time the base of this tart and sablés bretons that I leave on the kitchen table (everyone at home – not only the kids – love them and grab them one after the other).
Preparation time : 30 min
Baking time: 20 min for the rhubarb compote + 10 to 15 min for the shortbread
Quantity : 6 shares
Specific equipment: rolling pin and parchment paper, optionnal baking circles
3 egg yolks
90g icing sugar
100g salted butter at room temperature, diced
5 gr baking powder
600 gr rhubarb
50 gr sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons water
Strawberires 400 gr
Prepare shortbread: mix ingredients, roll out and let it rest for 1 hour, then shape and bake. Prepare a dense rhubarb compote, chill it. Wash and cut strawberries. Arrange before serving.
Prepare the shortbread: in a food processor or in a bowl, whisk egg yolks and icing sugar (ideally sifted to avoid lumps). Add flour and yeast. Mix. Add the room temperature salted butter cut into small cubes. Mix again. Proceed quite quickly as the dough shall not become too soft which might occur if overbeaten.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on the working surface. Place the dough on the first sheet then cover with a second sheet. Roll out with a rolling pin until you get a ¼ inch (+/- ½ cm) thick shortbread.
Place this on a baking sheet or the oven tray and chill in the refrigerator of at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile prepare the rhubarb compote, dense enough so that it won’t drip. Prepare rhubarb: remove leaves and peel stems. Cut stems into pieces. Cook in a saucepan with sugar and water (water so that it won’t stick to the pan in the first minutes). Cook until getting the desired consistency (about 20 minutes but it depends on your fire). Then place in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Remove the shortbread from the refrigerator and remove the top parchment paper. Cut out the shapes of your choice (see explanations in the text just before the beginning of the recipe) and remove any excess of shortbread. Bake at 400°F (200°C), ideally leaving the circles (unbuttered), for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your dough. Shortbread should almost double in volume and get a pretty amber color. Remove from the oven and remove circles.
Wash and cut strawberries. You may want to make thin slices, or cut them in 2 (like on the photos) or 4.
Arrange by spreading the rhubarb compote all over the shortbread base, then neatly place strawberries on top.
It’s ready to serve.