Jammy pink rhubarb, coconut custard, and a honey-rose water drizzle! Who needs gluten (or dairy or nuts or refined sugar, for that matter) when you've got all this going on?!
A weeknight dinner was an unusual inspiration for this dessert, but the idea took hold as soon as I made the Fennel & Coconut Tart recipe from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl of Green Kitchen Stories. (A review of their excellent new cookbook coming later this week!)
Though the tart in the book was a savory one, I loved the idea of using creamy coconut milk to make a custard filling to complement a pastry crust made with coconut oil. And with spring rhubarb popping up in the markets, I couldn't wait to make a sweet — but not too sweet — variation.
David and Luise's recipe was already gluten-free and dairy-free, and my dessert version is also nut-free and uses honey rather than refined sugars. Of course, if you eat gluten, feel free to substitute your own favorite tart crust. But keep the coconut and honey — along with a splash of rose water and a pinch of cardamom, they really complement the rhubarb.
This isn't a tart for people who like achingly sweet treats, but those of us who enjoy more subtle, fragrant sweetness should find it a delightful dessert for spring.
Rhubarb Coconut Honey Tart
Inspired by Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl
For the pastry:
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons rice flour
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sunflower seed flour (see Recipe Notes)
3 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, cool enough to be solid but malleable
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon honey whisked with 3 tablespoons ice water
More ice water as needed
1 egg white, beaten
For the filling:
12 ounces slender rhubarb stalks, cut into approximately 2- by 1/2-inch-thick sticks (see Recipe Notes)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon rose water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Coconut Whipped Cream (optional)
9-inch removable-bottom tart pan
To prepare the pastry, combine the rice flour, sunflower seed flour, potato starch, and salt in a bowl. Add the coconut oil and lemon zest, and mix with a fork until pea-size clumps form. Add the honey water and continue mixing with the fork until the dough comes together. The dough may be slightly crumbly, but it should be moist enough that you can shape it into a ball. If necessary, drizzle in a little more water. Shape the ball into a disk, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Set an oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest for a few minutes so it is pliable. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. (It won't roll as smoothly as gluten-based dough — don't worry about getting it perfect. Any stray crumbles can be pressed in to the pan.) Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and firmly press it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim the edges. Prick the bottom all over with a fork.
Line the bottom of the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper and weights. Let cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack.
While the tart shell is cooling, prepare the rhubarb. In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb with the honey and rosewater, and set aside.
Brush the egg white over the bottom of the the tart shell. Strain the rhubarb, reserving the liquid, and arrange the pieces in an even layer in the tart shell. Whisk together the coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and cardamom, and pour this mixture over the rhubarb.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tart is golden. If the edges of the crust start to brown too deeply, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Simmer the reserved rhubarb liquid in a small saucepan until it is reduced to a syrup. Drizzle it over the tart.
Serve the tart as is or with coconut whipped cream (highly recommended!). It's also delicious chilled.
- Sunflower seed flour: This is generally not available commercially, so see this post for easy DIY instructions. Can also substitute almond flour.
- Rhubarb: If slender rhubarb stalks are not available, slice thick rhubarb stalks lengthwise to approximately 1/2-inch-thick.
- This recipe is inspired by and loosely based upon the Fennel & Coconut Tart in Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl.
(Images: Emily Ho)