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Tartelettes a la rhubarbe: Rhubarb Tartelettes

Rhubarb Tartelettes

With our schedules packed to the gills I often wonder if I can make a post "short and sweet". Sweet? Yes I can! Short? Yeah….not likely. I may start thinking I don’t have much of a story to go along with a post and three paragraphs in, I realize I will never have nothing to say. Why? Because I love to listen and pay attention.

When I was a little girl, maybe three or four years old, I was on the train with my mom actively listening to a conversation between the 2 ladies seated on the same banquette. I think I made them uncomfortable listening to them with such purpose that at the next stop, they moved to the banquette right behind us. Not even five minutes went on that I turned around, tapped on one of the ladies’s shoulders and exclaimed " Parle plus fort, j’entends pas!". "Speak louder I can’t hear!"

Baking With Rhubarb

I remember to this day what they were talking about. Embroidered handkerchiefs. See? I register everything. Down to the scent of the rhubarb tart my grandmother used to make for us in the summer. Since this year’s first ventures and posts with rhubarb, I have had a craving for Grandma’s rhubarb and custard tart and a couple of attempts left me seriously bruised in my hopes of finding that elusive scent. That one enticing flavor I could not pinpoint until last week when I was organizing the spice cabinet and exclaimed out loud "Je sais! C’etait de la cardamome!" (I got it! It was cardamom!)

Rhubarb Tartelettes

I have made her tart twice in tartelettes format (and plenty of other sweet treats) since I spotted local rhubarb at the farmers market (more fragrant and tart than store bought) and each time that precious scent of cardamom permeated the air and everything around the house transporting back to the days she was still around. The woman knew her tarts, that’s a fact. Apples were a fruit of choice but her custard rhubarb pie was something to come home to. Always. A slice of her tart and you will remember it forever.

Where am I going with all this "remembering this" and "nostalgia that"? Well, this coming Thursday is my birthday and I can’t remember for the life of me what I did last year to celebrate. I know what I made to celebrate (blogs are precious tools for that!) but can’t figure out if we stayed in and went out. How much Champagne did I have to completely forget?! Ha! I also get nostalgic around this time which was the perfect opportunity to make her famous pie. I made 8 small ones. Bill had one. That leaves one for every day of the week that I am celebrating being a year older.

Rhubarb Tartelettes

This year, we are starting the celebrations tonight with dinner. Tomorrow with drinks with friends and more celebration on the due day, Thursday. I figured it would be a sure way to remember next year what I did if I packed the week with plenty of opportunities to create memories find trouble. Eheheh! Right now I am knee deep in strawberry jam with the 20 pounds or so that Fanny and I picked up at Ambrose farm yesterday. The house smells divine. I did put a couple of bowls aside to mix with creme fraiche and serve along side the tartelettes. The resulting scene this morning (yes, tarts for breakfast!) was as delicious as it tasted.

I will do my best to save one for Thursday, the actual birthday. They are so good as they are with cardamom in the dough and custard and softly poached pieces of rhubarb. Not sure I can make them last.

Rhubarb Tartelettes - The Aftermath

Rhubarb Tartelettes

Makes eight 3-inch tarts or one 9-inch tart.

For the crust:
5 tablespoons (70gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 egg yolks
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup (80gr) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (60gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (30gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (40gr) corn starch
(or 1.5 cups of all purpose flour if not using gf flours & cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup cold water (optional if the dough seems too dry)

For the filling:
3 eggs
1 cup (200gr) sugar
1 cup (250ml) creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Poached rhubarb

Prepare the crust:
In a mixer, whip the butter on medium speed until light and airy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Mix until incorporated. Add the cardamom, salt, and all the different flours, and the xantham gum and mix briefly. Add some water, one tablespoon at a time if the dough feels too dry. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured (use more rice flour) board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between two sheets of plastic to fit your prefered pie pan or eight 3-inch tart rings. If the dough tears while you roll or/and transfer into the pan, just patch it with your fingertips. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper, fill with pie weights or dy beans and par bake for 10-15 minutes until almost completely baked. Remove the weights and parchment paper. At this point you can refrigerate the baked crust for up to 5 days before using.

Prepare the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale and airy. Add the creme fraiche and cardamom and whisk until well blended.
Divide the poached rhubarb pieces (you may not need the whole quantity but you can freeze it for up to 3 months if needed) at the bottom of each pre baked shell and divide the filling accordingly. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden.
If you have leftover filling, place in a baking cup and bake alongside the tarts. Bonus baked egg custard!

Le P’Tit Coin Francais:

Tarte a rhubarbe:

Pour une tarte ou 8 minis

Pour la pate:
70gr beurre mou, non sale
3 jaunes d’oeuf
pincee de sel
pincee de cardamome
80gr farine de riz brun
60gr farine de millet
30gr farine de sorghum
40gr de maizena
(ou de 210gr de farine blanche)
1/2 cc de gomme de xantham

Pour la garniture:
3 oeufs
200 gr sucre
230 gr creme fraiche
1/2 cc cardamome

Preparer la pate:
Dans le bol d’un mixer, battez le beurre pendant 1 minute. Ajoutez les jaunes d’oeufs un a un, tout en melangeant bien apres chaque jaune. Ajoutez le sel, cardamome et les farines sans gluten, le sel et la gomme de xantham. Melangez brievement et verzes le contenu sur un plan de travail. Ramassez en boule et metter au refrigerateur pendant une heure.
Prechauffez le four a 180C et positionnez une plaque au milieu.
Etalez la pate sur un plan de travail legerement farine (farine sans gluten de preference), ou entre deux feuilles de papier sulfurise. Foncez en un plat a tarte (mini ou pas), mettre une feuille de papier sulfurise dans le fond, et des pois/riz. Faire pre-cuire 10-15 minutes. Sortez la tarte du four et laissez refroidir.

Preparer la garniture:
Dans un grand bol, fouetter les oeufs et le sucre jusqu’a ce que le melange blanchisse. Ajouter la creme fraiche et la cardamome et battre jusqu’a obtention d’un melange homogene.
Placer des morceaux de rhubarbe au fond des tartes, ajoutez assez d’appareil a garniture pour les recouvrir et faites cuire 20-25 minutes a 180C.

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Jackie May 11, 2010 um 9:38 pm

Oh Helene, this looks incredible! You've really inspired me to make some tartelettes soon, before rhubarb season is over! Yum.

And your photography is, as always, the REAL sweet treat here. 🙂 Thanks for your beauty. You make the simplest things absolutely stunning.


Unknown May 11, 2010 um 9:42 pm


Steph (desserts for breakfast) May 11, 2010 um 9:42 pm

OMG, you had me at custard and rhubarb! I can't wait to try this, and throw some cardamom in, too. 🙂

Anonymous May 11, 2010 um 10:03 pm

I bet you can't save one for Thursday, they look amazing.
Happy birthday, Helen!!!!

Jessica @ How Sweet May 11, 2010 um 10:05 pm

Beautiful and delicious!

m May 11, 2010 um 10:09 pm

Beautiful! And your childhood story on the train was cute. :]

Anonymous May 11, 2010 um 10:15 pm

As always the photos are absolutely fantastic. I want to eat these now! Will have to save this recipe for later.

Anonymous May 11, 2010 um 10:42 pm

This looks great! Definitely going to try making it if I have time.

Gabi May 12, 2010 um 12:46 am

Your photography is to die for, as always. I had a few questions about the recipe though:

(1) Do you need the xantham gum if you are using all purpose flour? If so, what section of the grocery store might I find it in?

(2) Your tarts are so perfectly shaped! I couldn't help but admire the perfect 1/8 inch thick borders on the side of the tarts. What tart pans do you use? Or is it a trick in setting the crust in the pan?

(3) The dough that makes the top layer on the tart – do you just roll that and refrigerate until needed?

Thank you so much!

Jenn Sutherland May 12, 2010 um 12:46 am

Happy Birthday! Can you hear my tummy rumbling over here?! WOW – these look amazing. And I might just have to give these a try this weekend, as I know that rhubarb will be one of the few things at our first farmer's market of the season on Saturday! Tarts seem like a fine way to kick off the season!

Delishhh May 12, 2010 um 12:54 am

Rhubarb! Rhubarb! Rhubarb! I LOVE it and another recipe for me to try with Rhubarb. I can't get enough of it.

Abby May 12, 2010 um 12:58 am

Happy early birthday!

I am always so pleasantly amazed at how many photos you take for a single blog post. I love visiting here! And I love thinking about grandmothers, too. Miss mine…

P May 12, 2010 um 1:50 am

Thanks for posting the recipe for this tempting treat! I have a b-day this week as well and have been pondering over what I wanted to eat. Now I know. I hope mine turn out as beautiful as yours.

jacqui May 12, 2010 um 2:41 am

I love rhubarb paired with cardamom. I made some rhubarb hand pies using orange and cardamom and they were fantastic, I can only image how these must taste! Have a wonderful birthday week!

Asha @ FSK May 12, 2010 um 2:46 am

Happy Birthday Helen! Wish you a fabulous year ahead, just like these tarts ;-)))

Broderick May 12, 2010 um 2:52 am

Whoa, these look so perfect!! Yum.

The Iconic May 12, 2010 um 3:55 am

What a wonderful post. Great recipe and lovely memories.x

Unknown May 12, 2010 um 4:42 am

Lovely! I hope you have a great birthday!

BlueTerracotta May 12, 2010 um 10:42 am

These look delicious! Can't wait to try them!

Marie May 12, 2010 um 12:23 pm

Rhubarb…wonderful in a pie!

BBB May 12, 2010 um 1:49 pm

I've been reading your site for a while now (beautiful pictures, great stories, recipes that make me drool!), but never commented before. But I have the same birthday as you, so I thought I should say hello and tell you how much I enjoy the blog!

The Urban Baker May 12, 2010 um 2:20 pm

ohhhh my! these are GORGEEEZMO! I don't even like Rhubarb. Yet, I am running to the farmers market today to get some. Thanks, as always, for inspiring!

Helene May 12, 2010 um 2:27 pm

1- no need for xanthan gum with all purpose flour.
2- I use 3-inch round tart rings. I guess it all comes from making gazillion of these back in the days at the restaurant.
3- per recipe: there is no dough going on top of the tart. That's the custard you see.

Thanks everyone!

DessertForTwo May 12, 2010 um 2:56 pm

I love that you can make individual tarts or one big one! Thanks for sharing! Your photos are beautiful!

Marianne Richardson May 12, 2010 um 3:21 pm

C'etait de la cardamome!

Thank You! Bless you, it was driving me crazy. Yes! That is the spice that makes rhubarb shine!

Patricia Scarpin May 12, 2010 um 4:15 pm

I've heard that there is one supermarket here in Sao Paulo that is carrying rhubarb now – up until now it was impossible to find here in Brazil. I know what I'll be making once I get my hands on those rhubarb stalks… 😉
Beautiful, sweetie! And I feel like you when I make my mom's rice pudding (with loads of ground cinnamon, to be eaten piping hot). Pure magic. 🙂

Lucia Hawley May 12, 2010 um 4:51 pm

I've been coming to your site on and off again for three years now–I tried to flick back through your recipes to find an explanation but I'm guessing I didn't try hard enough. It's come to my attention that you're baking so much gluten free these days!! That makes me so happy, everything is gourmet and you don't market the food as GF–it's just delicious food. What fun to read and eat! Sorry, my question is, why the switch to GF?

Susan May 12, 2010 um 5:10 pm

All I can see is T-A-L-E-N-T-E-D!! Just for fun I am going to try and make it looking only at the French Recipe.

Helene May 12, 2010 um 5:25 pm

Lucia Hawley: back in August 2008 I was diagnosed with Meniere disease, a tiny inflammation of a tube located between the brain and the ear (short version of what it is) after suffering debilitating attacks of rotational vertigo (forward motions not sideways), severe aura fullness (feeling like I am on a plane 24/7 with air pumped in my ears) and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
It is hereditary and runs on both sides of the family. The only remedy is to operate which the doctors can't do unless the tube is severely inflammed and enlarged which can take years and strike at any time. There are no meds either.
After a year of research on trying to find things that would help relieve some of the attacks (which would require me to lie down sometimes for an entire day), I found out that reducing salt, keeping cholesterol in check and baking gluten free had helped patients suffering from Meniere.
I started baking gluten free 100% in August 2009 and have not looked back ever since. It took me a few more months to commit to posting gf on the blog all the time. Was not sure how people would view the change but given how alive and well I feel now, I hope and I am actually sure they understand.

Thank you for asking, I hope that answers your question!

Beth May 12, 2010 um 6:05 pm

That looks too good. I could probably never be able to make them that good.

Maria May 12, 2010 um 7:05 pm

Thanks for posting the recipe. We have four rhubarb plants and I am always looking for new ideas. The tarts are lovely. Happy Birthday tomorrow:)

Helen May 12, 2010 um 7:23 pm

Happy Birthday for tomorrow. I hope you manage to save a tart or two for then! A ever, your photos are brilliant.

steph- whisk/spoon May 12, 2010 um 7:33 pm

happy almost birthday! i go rhubarb crazy every spring…i love it so. i never would have thought to a cardamom to it, but now i'm sure to try!

SnacksGiving May 12, 2010 um 8:37 pm

Happy Birthday Helen! Wish you a fabulous year ahead.

Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire May 12, 2010 um 9:04 pm

Elles sont trés belles tes tartelettes

Kari May 12, 2010 um 11:53 pm

Feliz cumpleaños Helen! Happy birthday Helen!

Rachael Hutchings May 13, 2010 um 1:32 am

Uh oh, what kind of blackmail material on me do you have filed away in that filing cabinet of a brain? I guess I'm going to have to be nice to you… 🙂 These are absolutely lovely! I LOVE cardamom.

Annie May 13, 2010 um 3:35 am

mmmmmm…..can I have a bite?!

Bonbon Oiseau May 13, 2010 um 3:50 am

beautiful photos and recipe of course and in advance: bon anniversaire mon amie!!!!

Sara May 13, 2010 um 5:46 am

Hey Helen! …:) Ive read your blog for maybe a year now and i absolutley love each and everyone of your new stories alongside with all the divine pictures and recepies..:) For some reason though i have never written anything here but with your birthday today, it was the perfect opportunity to stop by for a min and say todilooes..:) So Happy Birthday and i hope you have a wonderful day..^^

Frosted Envy May 13, 2010 um 10:53 am

Dear Helen,
here's to wishing you the very best for the years to come. I follow your site almost every day. well almost.;) everything you do is so inspiring, and one cannot thank you enough!
Joyeux Anniversaire!

Mónica Pinto May 13, 2010 um 11:01 am

Next month i will pick up my new rhubarb plants at the garden center. I´m looking forward to next year crop. Here – Gaia, Portugal- is not easy to find rhubarb stalks. The only way to have lovely fresh rhubarb is to plant it in the kitchen garden.
The tarts look delicious and beautiful just like everything you do, here in Tartelette!

Kim May 13, 2010 um 12:50 pm

Happy Birthday! Enjoy your week!

Melange a Trois May 13, 2010 um 5:44 pm

Those look so tasty! I just made strawberry rhubarb ice cream last night with cabernet and it was so tasty! I love rhubarb!!! So summery!

Sophie Sportende Foodie May 13, 2010 um 7:48 pm


Your rhubarb tartlets sing to me!!

MMMMMMMMMMMM,…I hapen to have fresh rhubarb from my father's garden!

Ivy May 13, 2010 um 9:33 pm

SOOO pretty!
Rhubard is really my favorite!
Aside from the chocolate and coconut combo.

Meg May 14, 2010 um 1:43 am

These are gorgeous! I've never tried cardamom with rhubarb, though I do love the taste of cardamom in sweet things. This recipe looks absolutely delicious.

Cyn May 14, 2010 um 4:36 am

Joyeux anniversaire!
The tartelettes look delightful.

Tara Barker May 14, 2010 um 5:28 am

Mmm, I love rhubarb with cardamom! I passed by the rhubarb at the market today, thinking that we've had our fill and are ready to move on to another of Spring's treats. Then I saw your post, and realized that no, there's actually one more rhubarb item I need to make: your tartelettes!

Happy Birthday!

Simones Kitchen May 14, 2010 um 7:53 am

O this looks so absolutely gorgeous and you just inspired me to go and make some cakes myself… I still have red currants I want to use… Mmm, that might work in slightly different form

So your birthday was yesterday right? Hope you had a great time and that you had some of those gorgeous cakes left!

Unknown May 14, 2010 um 9:03 am

I really love your blog, your pastries your photography its so beautiful. I was compelled to comment after I read your reply about your Meinere issues. Long story short I have suffered from tinnitus, occasional vertigo and unexplained ear pain for years and it was just recently suggested that I eliminate salt from my diet. I think going GF is next for me and with your blog I think I can do it without feeling discouraged (I LOVE BAKING)…

I also saw that you are doing an event with Todd & Diane (White on Rice)whom I met YESTERDAY at a food blog event … wow small world. Diane was helping us all with our food shots – they are SO NICE!

Linda May 14, 2010 um 7:42 pm

These look beautiful and tasty, what great presentation. Thanks for this!

Kilee Johnson May 14, 2010 um 8:55 pm

Thank you thank you thank you for the gluten free tart recipe! I have always loved rubarb tarts and now have a great recipe. Take care!

Lucia Hawley May 15, 2010 um 3:09 am

Thank you so much for the generous response to my question! I appreciate your dedication.

Debby May 15, 2010 um 2:02 pm

They're in the oven right now… I can't wait! If they're anywhere near as good as your Upside Down Pear Cardamom Cakes they won't live very long 😉

I looove your recent glutenfree posts since I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy recently. I'looking forward to reading your new blog entries and to try more of your glutenfree recipes!

The Prudent Homemaker May 16, 2010 um 4:55 am

Embroidered handkerchiefs–well, my 3-year-old daughter ( and 8-year-old daughter, too) would have been all ears as well! They love handkerchiefs, and every Christmas all my children ask for me to make more.

Maggie May 17, 2010 um 3:11 pm

I made these yesterday with rhubarb from my neighbor (she has stalks upon stalks of it!). I loved the cardamom in it…such a lovely combination.

However, when I made the crust per the recipe, it seemed VERY dry and just would not come together enough to roll out and get into the tart rings, so I ended up having to add a bit of water to the recipe.

Is the dough SUPPOSED to be so crumbly?

Helene May 17, 2010 um 6:05 pm

Maggie: with the butter and the egg yolks it should not be crumbly. It wasn't here but you did the right thing by adding water. I'll make a note of it in the recipe.
P.S: writing in caps mean that you are yelling, which I hope you are not.

Monica May 17, 2010 um 9:15 pm


I live in Switzerland and cannot find sorghum flour anywhere, not even in France voisine…Can you please tell me what flour I can use as a substitute for sorghum flour (and is the ratio 1 for 1) in your recipes seeing that I only cook/bake gluten free, my son is celiac.

Merci. Monica

Maggie May 17, 2010 um 10:12 pm


Definitely *not* yelling. 🙂 (Except to say how marvelous your recipes are!) Not sure what happened with my crust. I used grade A large eggs for the yolks and the butter was definitely soft/room temperature. Still, just the bit of water did help and the crust was rich and delicious.

I just loved that everyone who tried it went, "What *is* that flavor?" Most of them (including myself) had never even tried caradmom in anything. But I'll definitely be looking for more places to use it. Do you think this tart would be good with cardamom using apricots or peaches, too?

Many thanks for all your wonderful recipes (I am the local "macaron queen" because of your recipe/method) and the gorgeous photography, as well.

Helene May 17, 2010 um 11:04 pm

Monica: quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, teff – all these would work in the same ratio. Good luck!

Maggie: I want a world populated with macaron queens ahahahha!!
Definitely, you can use (green) cardamom with anything sweet like apricots and peaches. Try it in cinnamon rolls instead of cinnamon and they will be more like Swedish rolls. So good.
Use the black cardamom for savory dishes.

Radu Prisacaru May 18, 2010 um 4:38 pm

I feel I should say, I absolutely love your website. Could tell me how I can subscribe with it. I invite you to see my post, I hope you will find interesting too.

PATRICIA ROY May 20, 2010 um 5:13 pm

I made these last night with my bf. Loved them! I added some cherries to mine and it came out great. Thanks!

maria May 21, 2010 um 11:34 am

i just love the pictures, the way you make them look real and so delicious.

Anonymous May 23, 2010 um 8:35 am

just made them yesterday. well, they tasted good, but there was a prob with baking them.
RESULT: good, but probably won`t be making them again.

Helene May 23, 2010 um 1:27 pm

Anonymous: would you like to share your problems so we can troubleshoot and see what could have gone wrong?

Anonymous May 24, 2010 um 2:57 pm

well,i didn` like the texture of the filling. also, i had to bake it a bit longer,as when the time came to take it out, it sooooooo wasn`t ready yet. i baked it for 5 more mins.
also, i did not reallyenjoy it when it cooled – when it was freshly baked it was perfect, but not so perfect some 8 h afterwards.

Helene May 24, 2010 um 3:29 pm

Anonymous: yes, rhubarb has a pretty distinct texture doesn' it? It's often hit or miss with people.
Ovens run differently so yes, oven times do end up varying from one recipe to the next and one household to the next.
Yes, most tarts, especially custards based one are best eaten within a couple of hours of baking. I find out that the longer they sit in the fridge the more bland they become. That however is completely lost on my husband who like them refrigerator cold. Go figure.

Thanks for the feedback.

Anonymous May 24, 2010 um 6:34 pm

Thanks a lot for the recipe. I made it yesterday with regular flour. I haven't expected filling to be that good. It was perfect!

Claire May 25, 2010 um 9:08 pm

Hi. I have been reading your blog for some time now. I too live in Charleston and love your comparisons between life here and life in France. We must find joy where we can, right? I love to catch glimpses of a far-off place in the here and now. Also, it is nice to see you posting this recipe in French as well. Makes my heart happy. Peace to you.

Julianne Jones May 26, 2010 um 4:00 am

I just made these tarts and while they taste wonderful, they do not look as pretty as yours. I used 4" tarts rings. While baking they looked like they were doing fine, but once done and out of the oven, they totally fell and it looks like gooey cheese around the rhubarb. Is this a problem in the amount I beat the eggs+sugar or in the baking or how i added in the creme fraiche…? Can you let me know what may be the problem? Thanks so much

Helene May 26, 2010 um 1:24 pm

Julianne: that mostly happens when there is a lot of moisture in the rhubarb to start with, even after poaching and cooking some rhubarb, depending on where and when it was harvested ceontains more water than others so the acidity of the rhubabr juice coming in content with the dairy of the sour cream will make the batter curddle and make it look like cheese. One thing to do is take an extra step to drain it a little bit more after poaching before adding to the tarts.

That's kind of why I don't do rhubarb and strawberries together in a custard tart. With all that moisture is like asking for double trouble 🙂

Hope that helps a bit.

Jen June 9, 2010 um 5:20 pm

These look amazing. Would they need to be refrigerated after they're baked or could they be left out on the counter for a few days?

Thank you,

Helene June 9, 2010 um 6:17 pm

Jen: I would strongly advise not to, as with any food that is cooked and which contains dairy to boot.

Helene June 9, 2010 um 6:18 pm

Jen: I would strongly advise not to leave them out, as with any food that is cooked and which contains dairy to boot.

Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad & Mixed Veg September 15, 2011 um 7:41 am

Your pictures are so pretty!! Your blog is like a cook book to me…one of those pretty cook books that I read just to look at the lovely photos:)

– I do not have tart tins. However, I have small ramekins. Do you think that could work?


Ricardo April 8, 2015 um 3:06 pm

I am trying it! Great recipe

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