If you love the flavor of almond you're in for a treat! This easy gluten free rhubarb and frangipane tart is full of nutty, almond flavor topped with sweet and tangy rhubarb all held together by a beautifully crisp, golden brown crust.
First, and most importantly, do NOT be intimidated by the looks or sounds of this tart. While there are a few steps, I promise to walk you through them so you can serve an amazing looking pastry that tastes as good as it sounds.
How to make gluten free tart crust
The recipe for this gluten free rhubarb and frangipane tart uses a form of sweet shortcrust pastry called pâte sablée. A French pastry term roughly translated "dough" "sand". Once pressed out and baked, it creates a beautiful crisp, golden brown crust. This dough is incredibly forgiving and very easy to work with, which is a huge bonus since we're making this gluten free (and gluten free dough is not always easy to work with)! The recipe below is for a 9 inch tart pan.
One of the easiest ways to make this dough is with a food processor. Simply combine your ingredients in at least a 4 cup food processor and pulse until your mixture begins to crumble. You can then press this into your tart pan with your fingers, or roll out with a rolling pin. A quick 20 minute chill in the refrigerator will help solidify fats before moving on to blind baking.
If you do no own a food processor, you can use a stand mixer. And if that isn't an option, use a hand-held pastry blender or crumble the dough with your hands.
I very much enjoy this method of making gluten free pastry because it is SO forgiving. No rolling, which means no tearing or transferring the dough. You simply press the dough into your pan with your fingers.
If you're having trouble pressing the dough flat against the edge of the pan, you could use the bottom side of a measuring cup. It's important to press the dough as evenly as possible on the bottom and sides!
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What is a blind bake?
Any time you make a pie or tart where your filling either 1. doesn't need to be baked, or 2. will not require a long baking time, it is best to bake your crust before adding any filling. To do this, you have to cover and weigh down your crust so it doesn't puff up in the middle, hence the term 'blind bake' because you can not see the crust while it is baking and therefore have to trust your temperature and timing when it needs to come out. This can be accomplished a variety of ways:
- chose a medium to cover the tart. I prefer parchment paper, but aluminum foil is another great option.
- place some sort of weight on top of your parchment paper or foil. I have specific ceramic pie weights for this, but you can also use dried beans or uncooked rice.
In the case of this particular rhubarb and frangipane tart, we need to partially bake (or par-bake) the crust before adding the filling to ensure the crust is fully baked. A 10-15 minute blind bake does the trick and ensures that after you add the frangipane filling and finish baking it you will have a delicious, golden brown crispy crust that is fully baked.
What gluten free flour should you use?
Most gluten free flour blends you purchase contain xanthan gum, which I found out early on does not settle well with my stomach! As a result, I make my own flour blend using a variety of flours and starches, blended and measured to create a perfect blend I prefer over any other blend to date. Guar gum is a great replacement for xanthan gum; however, I prefer to add it to the recipe as needed and you'll see notes in every recipe on Just As Good Gluten Free with the recommended amounts to use. You can find the recipe to make your own mix here.
I completely understand this takes time, effort and space to make your own mix. Believe me, I've tried purchasing blends from stores, but I ALWAYS come back to this one. If you do not have the margin or desire to make your own blend, here are two I would recommend as a suitable substitute: King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour or Bob's Red Mill 1to1 Baking Flour.
How to make frangipane filling
Frangipane (fräⁿ-zhē-ˈpän, or ˈfran-jə-ˌpān) is an almond-flavored sweet pastry cream that is incredibly easy to make (not to be confused with marzipan, which is a dense almond and sugar paste used more for decorative purposes). First, you'll cream room temperature unsalted butter and sugar and then combine the remaining ingredients. As you can see below, the "cream" is more cookie batter like, making it easy to spread in your tart shell.
Once baked, (and it does need to be baked because it contains eggs!) you can expect a semi-sponge, semi-dense, almond-flavored, nutty, mouth-watering filling. Gosh, I wish I could explain it better. 🤣 Trust me, there's a reason this filling is a pastry staple. On it's own, scrumptious. But we're going to finish it off with some tangy rhubarb.
Is anyone here spatially challenged? Or is it just me?🙋♀️ The struggle is real here. I can see pretty patterns and do my best to replicate them, but I just.can.not.do.it. The teenager was called in to help start the pattern and every intention of covering the entire tart with a geometric rhubarb design was scrapped. Such is baking, but I'm happy with the final result.
Here are a few tips I learned along the way that are worth sharing if you care to make any patterns.
- pick rhubarb stalks that are as close to the same size as possible and cut them the same length. This is incredibly helpful if you're making any repeating pattern.
- create your pattern off to the side first and then transfer piece by piece to the frangipane (especially if you're like me and need to arrange and re-arrange without creating a big mess!)
- gently set the rhubarb on the frangipane until you're completely done laying all the rhubarb. Then come back and gently press the rhubarb into the frangipane to "set" it.
If you cover the entire tart with rhubarb, you will need somewhere between ¾ and 1 pound. The pattern below is about ½ pound as I used less than what I'd hoped for. The beauty of this tart is that you can make pretty shapes, or you simply lay long layers of rhubarb across the top. After it's baked, the rhubarb is easy to cut through. If you're at all interested, do a search for rhubarb tart and you'll see lots of fun patterns pop up.
Finally, I like to cover the rhubarb with a light coating of jams or preserves. For this tart, I used apricot preserves by slightly microwaving about 2 tablespoons for 10 seconds and then brushing the melted preserves over the top of the rhubarb with a pastry brush. It gives it a nice sheen and also helps to offset the tartness of the rhubarb with something sweet. Raspberry, strawberry, and most other jams or preserves would be a perfect substitute if you don't have apricot.
What can be made ahead in the gluten free rhubarb and frangipane tart?
Each component of this tart can be made ahead of time in some form or fashion.
Crust: you can make the dough and leave in the refrigerator to chill for a day before baking. OR, you can bake the dough and tightly cover in plastic wrap for one day. OR, you can bake your dough, tightly wrap with plastic, cover with foil, and freeze for a month.
Frangipane: can be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.
Rhubarb: cut rhubarb can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It would be helpful to dampen a paper towel to store with the rhubarb so the ends do not dry out.
Your rhubarb and frangipane gluten free tart will be finished when the top is golden brown. It should take around 35-40 minutes. I served this with homemade vanilla ice cream, but you can eat it on it's own, or top with fresh whipped cream. You can eat this tart warm or at room temperature.
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Easy Gluten Free Rhubarb and Frangipane Tart
- 1 ½ cup (225 grams) gluten free flour blend
- ½ teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (omit if in flour blend)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups almond flour (or almond meal)
- 3 tablespoons (about 28 grams) gluten free flour blend
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (omit if in flour blend)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ - 1 pound rhubarb (washed and ends trimmed), cut as desired for designs
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves or jam (can use raspberry or strawberry)
- 2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds (for decorations, optional)
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a 4 cup food processor or larger, combine all of the tart dough ingredients and pulse until the mixture is coarse and sandy. The dough will start to form together in a ball.
- Remove from food processor and spread the dough with your hands into a 9 inch tart pan. Press the dough into all the ridges and make sure to evenly spread the dough out. Sometimes I will use the bottom side of a measuring cup to help press the dough. Remove any excess dough that has gone over the top of the pan. Using the tines of a fork, poke a handful of holes into the crust to allow for air to escape.
- Place the tart pan with dough in a refrigerator for 20 minutes. This would be a great time to cut your rhubarb and decide what decoration you would like to make, if any.
- Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator and gently place a piece of parchment paper over the top and weigh down with pie weights. We are going to partially bake the crust using a blind-bake method. (NOTE: aluminum foil is a great substitute for parchment paper. If you do not have pie weights, dried beans or rice would be a perfect substitute.)
- Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges barely begin to turn brown. Remove from oven and begin preparing the frangipane. Keep your oven on at 350° F.
- While the dough is baking, grab a medium sized bowl (or use a stand mixer) and cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy (make sure your butter is at room temperature so it will incorporate easily). Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
- Evenly spread the frangipane mixture over the prebaked tart crust.
- Place your cut rhubarb on top of the frangipane. I like to make sure my decoration is how I like it, then go back and gently press the rhubarb down slightly to stick in the frangipane. Decorate with sliced almonds if desired.
- In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the apricot preserves for 10 seconds or until slightly melted. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the rhubarb with the apricot preserves. This will give it a nice sheen once its baked.
- Place the tart back in your 350° F oven and baked for 35-40 minutes. The frangipane will turn golden brown once done. Remove from oven and cool.
- Can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream or eat it without anything! Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap.
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