It’s rhubarb season, and I’m so grateful for a friend’s generosity in sharing some of her rhubarb with us.
I was part of that generation of kids who picked rhubarb in the backyard, filled a small bowl with white sugar, and dipped the rhubarb in the bowl of sugar. That process continued until the bowl of sugar was empty and the rhubarb was gone.
The other ways rhubarb was served in our house was stewed in sugar and in rhubarb custard pies (my mom’s favourite).
I still enjoy rhubarb in desserts, and while my mom’s rhubarb custard pie was my inspiration for this recipe, you won’t find any refined white sugar, white flour or vegetable shortening in this Rhubarb Strawberry Tart.
This Rhubarb Strawberry Tart is so good that as soon as I had my first bite I had to a) text my love with a photo so he could share in the excitement, and b) text my neighbor to come over with a plate and take some home so we didn’t consume it all before the night was over.
It is rhubarb after all, which can really speed up digestion transit time, if you know what I mean.
Rhubarb is most well-known for its fiber content. It can have a laxative effect and promotes regular bowel function. In addition to the purgative effect, rhubarb also has diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties, and anti-bacterial properties(1). Rhubarb has also been shown to benefit people with chronic kidney disease (2).
Rhubarb contains active components including flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins and anthraquinones. Anthraquinones have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (3). This could be beneficial particularly for people with diabetes mellitus. Some of the anthraquinones derived from rhubarb also show protective effects on the brain with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and helping to maintaining the integrity of the blood brain barrier (4).
Rhubarb has a very sour taste. That sour taste comes from malic acid and oxalic acid. Cooking significantly reduces oxalic acid (5). This Rhubarb Strawberry Tart, with a raw base and cooked filling, has just the right amount of sweetness, with that hint of sourness we associate with rhubarb.
The base is a simple combination of plump Medjool dates, raw pecans and coconut oil. The rhubarb and strawberries are sweetened with honey. I used arrowroot flour to add a bit of creaminess, and agar flakes so it would set. Using agar flakes alone would have given the tart a texture that was too firm. The combination of arrowroot and agar flakes made the filling set perfectly. Just remember that if you use agar powder you only need one teaspoon, as one teaspoon of agar powder is equivalent to one tablespoon of agar flakes.
Rhubarb Strawberry Tart
- food processor
- 1 cup Medjool dates
- 1 ¼ cups chopped pecans
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 cups rhubarb chopped
- 1 cup strawberries (I used frozen berries)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
- 1 tablespoon agar flakes
- Remove pits from dates. Add dates, chopped pecans and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to food processor. Process until mixture sticks together and starts to form a ball. If mixture is still dry, add second tablespoon of coconut oil. Press crust mixture into bottom and sides of a tart pan or pie plate. Chill.
- Chop strawberries if they are frozen, or mash fresh strawberries.
- Put chopped rhubarb and chopped or mashed strawberries into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, until fruit mixture is soft and juicy.
- Add 1 tablespoon of arrowroot flour to small bowl. Take three tablespoons of the rhubarb strawberry liquid and mix with the arrowroot starch to dissolve the arrowroot flour.
- Pour the dissolved arrowroot into the saucepan and stir into the fruit mixture. Add 1 tablespoon agar flakes. Pour in honey. Stir fruit and heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer about 3-5 minutes, until mixture is thick but still pourable (It will set up as it cools). Remove from heat and let mixture sit for five minutes to cool slightly.
- Remove crust from fridge. Pour warm fruit mixture into crust. Place tart in fridge until set, at least a couple of hours.