Rustic Rhubarb Tart

A rustic tart of seasonal rhubarb and strawberry.

It is possible to make this tart wheat free, dairy free and/or egg free depending on which pastry you use.

This is what I make the most — one piece of pastry rolled out with the edges folded over a mountain of gorgeous fruit. I prefer this to a fruit pie with top and bottom pastry, as the bottom pastry crisps wonderfully and you get more fruit and less pastry in each slice. It’s especially quick to put together if you already have pastry in the freezer. Almost any fruit, as long as it is ripe, is delicious in this tart.

Ingredients (serves 10–12)

  • 1 quantity classic sweet shortcrust pastry (see page 197), barley and spelt sweet shortcrust pastry (see page 198), or coconut oil sweet shortcrust pastry (see page 199) rested and well-chilled
  • 1 tablespoon raw or golden caster (superfine) sugar, extra, for sprinkling (optional)


  • 600g rhubarb, trimmed of leaves and bases, washed and cut into 2–3 cm pieces
  • 500–600g ripe strawberries, hulled, washed and larger ones halved or quartered (use less berries if using coconut oil sweet shortcrust pastry)
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) raw sugar or 60 ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) or kudzu (kuzu), or spelt or wheat flour


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll out the pastry to a 30–35 cm diameter circle (or smaller if using the coconut oil sweet shortcrust). Move the pastry to the baking tray (I generally fold it) and centre it – depending on the size of the tray, it may overhang the sides a little. Don’t worry about this as you will be folding this over the fruit. If the weather is warm, or the pastry has softened, place it in the fridge at this point to chill while you prepare the fruit.

Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl, together with the sugar or maple syrup and corn flour and toss through gently. Don’t do this step too early, as the juices will weep from the fruit and you want them to do this in the oven, where they will be immediately bound by the corn flour.

Remove the pastry from the fridge – it should be chilled but not so flrm that you can’t fold the sides inward. If you do not already have a tray under the pastry, slide one under now.

Either arrange the prepared fruit in an attractive pattern, or simply pile it into the middle and gently spread to leave a border of about 8 cm. Fold the pastry border over the fruit, peeling it from the paper underneath as you go. Try not to fold the pastry over itself as this gives you too many layers and it will not cook properly. Use kitchen scissors if needed to cut any pastry that is too wide. Sprinkle with the extra sugar if desired. If required, trim the sides of the baking paper to flt the tray. Place the tart in the freezer for 5–10 minutes to chill up.

Place the tart in the oven. You can tell if your temperature is right by how the butter is behaving; if it is running out of the pastry, you need to turn it up — it should be sizzling on the pastry or at the base of it. Bake for 15–20 minutes before reducing to 180°C for about 35 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden, and juices are bubbling, which indicates that the starch has cooked out. I also like to see that the juices have begun to ooze from the tart. If this has not happened, but the pastry is beginning to burn, reduce the oven temperature slightly. Don’t be worried if the juices look too watery, they will thicken as they cool a little.

Individual tartlets
Divide the Classic Sweet Shortcrust or Barley and Spelt Sweet Shortcrust into six, or the Coconut Oil Sweet Shortcrust into four, and roll to a diameter of 18cm. You will need 100–150 g fruit per tart. Once folded, they will be about 12cm in diameter. Sprinkle with a little sugar, if desired. Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 170°C and continue baking for 20–25 minutes.

Baking notes
I’ve suggested you use 1–1.3 kg of fruit. Be bountiful, and remember the fruit will cook down. I tend to use closer to 1 kg when using winter fruits with less liquid in them (apples and pears) and more with the wetter summer stone fruits and berries.

You must always assess the amount of sugar and thickener you add to the fruit. Taste your fruit and see how sweet it is, adding between 1 1/2–3 tablespoons of sugar. Know also that fruits such as rhubarb will also require more. Wet fruit, such as stone and berries, especially, will require more flour/starch than dry winter fruits, about 1 1/2–2 tablespoons, but I tend to err on the side of less, preferring juice that is just bound, but runs.

Note that while the Classic Sweet Shortcrust Pastry and Barley and Spelt Sweet Shortcrust Pastry will roll out to about 30–35 cm in diameter, the Coconut Oil Sweet Shortcrust Pastry will roll out to only 26–29 cm and will need only 1kg of fruit.

Recipe and image from Wholefood Baking by Jude Blereau, published by Murdoch Books May 2013, rrp $45.00. Purchase Wholefood Baking from Booktopia for $35.95

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