Rhubarb Curd Shortbread

By • April 30, 2010 • 77 Comments

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Author Notes: I'm a curd fanatic. I eat the stuff straight out of the bowl. When I saw this rhubarb curd on a couple blogs, I was instantly smitten and had to try it for myself. It's got the zing and intrigue of passionfruit curd, but it's...pink! I'm in love. The shortbread is an adaptation of (shocker!) Karen DeMasco's recipe, with some spices added to complement the rhubarb. - RivkaRivka

Food52 Review: On top is a silky and tangy blanket of rhubarb curd (made just like lemon curd) and beneath is a pad of thick and crumbly spiced shortbread. Genius! We made the shortbread in the food processor and suggest that you do, too, if you have one handy. The curd takes some elbow grease, it must be said. Think of it as your workout for the day. Once you have the two basic elements, all you do is fuse them with an icing spreader and finish with a few minutes in the oven. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 16 bars

for the curd

  • 3/4 pound rhubarb (about 6 stalks)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

For the shortbread

  • 12 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered galangal or ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cloves
  1. Wash rhubarb and trim as little off the ends as possible. Cut rhubarb into 1-inch chunks. In a small saucepan, heat rhubarb, 1/4 sugar, and water on medium. Cook until rhubarb falls apart and there are no whole pieces left, adding water by the tablespoon if rhubarb sticks to the bottom of the pan. At this point, either use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, or (if you’re like me and your blender is otherwise occupied) push the mixture through a strainer. The first method is definitely easier.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Now, make the shortbread: blend all ingredients in a stand mixer or food processor until combined. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate about 1 hour. Then, either roll into 8×8 square and place square in 8-inch square baking pan, or dump dough into pan and use fingertips to press evenly into pan. Bake 30 minutes, until golden. Let cool on a rack or on the counter.
  3. Add a couple inches of water to the pot of a double boiler and set over medium heat. Put egg yolks, butter, remaining sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in the boil of the double boiler and whisk to combine. When sugar has dissolved completely, add the rhubarb puree by the spoonful, to temper the eggs. When all rhubarb has been added, set bowl over pot; the water should be simmering. Continue stirring the rhubarb mixture; after about 5 minutes, the mixture will be warm and slightly thickened. At this point, remove from heat. Press through a strainer -- this will give your curd that smooth, pudding-like texture.
  4. Use an offset spatula to spread curd evenly over shortbread. If you haven’t eaten half the bowl right then and there, you should have enough curd to make a layer about the thickness of the shortbread; I didn’t. Bake another 10 minutes, then remove from oven and cool on rack. Refrigerate about 20 minutes, and you’ll find that they’ve firmed up enough to slice cleanly. Cut into 16 equal bars. Dust with powdered sugar before serving; do your best not to polish them all off in one sitting.
Jump to Comments (77)

Tags: breakfast, can be made ahead

Comments (77) Questions (7)

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6 months ago Jeanne-Marie

Divine. Thanks for the recipe.

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7 months ago Chris

I thought this was just okay; probably won't make it again. In my area, I'm only able to get the greenish rhubarb from the farmers' market so the curd came out a sickly green-yellow color, not very appetizing at all. The shortbread was nice with the added spices but crumbled quite a bit, maybe I baked it too long. I got halfway through straining the curd and gave up and used my immersion blender for the second straining. Just not enough bang for the amount of work. Sorry! I really wanted to like it.

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7 months ago Ellen Erler

This looks spectacular and i couldnt wait to try it. I have made curd many times without problems, but this was pretty close to an unmittigated fail. Perhaps the problem was that I used rhubarb straight form the garden, but when I cooked it with the sugar and water specified, it was very liquidy. So I cooked it a bit more, then passed the puree hrough the strainer. I had about a cup of beautiful dark pink juice. It was not clear to me from the recipe how much juice to add to the sugar mixture. I added most of it. Was I supposed to use the remaining pulp? I used four large egg yolks from a friends hens, and the curd was bright yellow, not a hint of pink. They are tasty, but they do not even whisper "rhubarb". I will pass ithem off as citrus curd bars, I guess. Any thoughts?

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7 months ago Bonny Lee

Ellen,
Are you sure you used 3/4 pound of rhubarb, 4 Tablespoons of water, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar in the initial cooking? You should have ended up with a thick mixture.

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7 months ago Hannah Rome

I had a very similar issue when I used a food mill to blend the cooked rhubarb. There was a fair amount of juice but a lot of mashed rhubarb as well. In the end, I continued milling until it was a fine paste and reincorporated it into the liquid. And voila! A thick, tart puree. The only other issue I had was the final product not being quite so beautifully pink

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7 months ago Bonny Lee

I'm sorry, I typed the amount of sugar wrong. It should have said 4 Tablespoons of sugar. 4 Tablespoons = 1/4 cup - so the recipe is:
3/4 # rhubarb
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Did you weigh out your rhubarb to 12 ounces?

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7 months ago Bonny Lee

I have a question about this recipe. Why do you say to preheat the oven more than an hour before you can bake the crust? Isn't that a waste of electricity? My oven preheats in about 5 minutes.

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7 months ago Rivka

Bonny Lee, great point. Don't know why I said that! Disregard.

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7 months ago Bonny Lee

I'm going to try these now that my rhubarb plants are up. I think I'll add a little freshly grated ginger and ground cinnamon for more flavor.
One commenter mentioned that she didn't have a double boiler. If you don't have one, it's easy to duplicate this cooking method by placing a glass bowl, that's larger than your saucepan, on top, and cook the mixture over about an inch of simmering water in the saucepan.
I have an immersion blender and will use this to puree the rhubarb mixture before straining it.

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9 months ago Rosemary

I'm allergic to eggs. Can you suggest a substitute? I see that the recipe calls for straining, but I think the texture would be interesting. Perhaps adding a little cinnamon, ginger or other spice might really make this recipe zing! Sometimes a recipe needs a little spice to give it that over the top flavor. I love rhubarb. I recall tasting a famous ollalaberry pie but it tasted flat, needed a spice. Thanks.

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over 1 year ago ingababinga

I've been making this rhubarb curd shortbread recipe yearly since it posted here. It is always very well received, beautiful, and delicious. The curd can be used for other recipes or eaten straight as is! I actually find it easy to make and you just need a strainer that does not have a fine mesh and it will make the job easier.

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over 1 year ago The Fiery Epicurean

I think this recipe has a lot of potential but is missing something as it stands currently. It does really WOW you, even if the custard is amazingly delicious. I wanted more after reading the Author's Notes.

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over 1 year ago skenny89

This is fabulous I look forward each spring for rhubarb just to make this curd, I too am a curd fanatic and usually eat spoonfuls of whenever I make tarts

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over 1 year ago WannabeBaker

I really wanted to like this recipe, and it certainly tasted fine. I just don't think it tasted good enough to be worth all the effort. I don't have a double boiler (who does? Like 20 percent of cooks?), so that obviously made my job harder, but the worst part was straining the curd. I think I scraped it against the fine mesh for 20 minutes before I finally got it all through. Good, but not that good.

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7 months ago Bonny Lee

It's easy to make your own double boiler. Place your ingredients in a glass bowl that is larger than the top of a saucepan, and sits on top of it tightly (so no steam will escape). Add about an inch of water to the saucepan, and bring it to a simmer. Place your bowl on top of the simmering water, and you have a double boiler.

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over 1 year ago lalocook

Just made this yesterday for a dinner party. Ended up cooking the custard quite a bit longer b/c to me it didn't seem very custardy -- just thickened a bit. Delicious though. I ran out of time to make the shortbread (classic me move) but my plan B was delicious. I did individual ramekins: place a thin ginger biscuit on bottom, top with layer of curd, then make a meringue, dollop that over and bake. Meringue with this tart curd is perfect. And it's fun to serve people their own little toasty poofy desserts.

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over 1 year ago SB Wadsworth

How much rhubarb purée
Is measured out after step 1? I am looking to replace it with se homemade rosehip syrup and just need to know the volume/quantity of rhubarb sauce at the end if step 1...Thanks!

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over 1 year ago Sandra B

Any one have a glutton free recipe
For this?

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over 1 year ago fatgirleating

when i make GF baked goods i end up using either fully replacing the wheat flour with equal amounts (by weight, which is important, and 1C = 4.5 oz) manini brand baking flour OR 1 part Bob's Red Mill Sweet sourghum to 2 parts Bob' Pizza Crust mix (without the yeast packet) which i find gives a toothsome and tasty flour blend that's on the toasty side of flavor neutral

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over 2 years ago pamela joy

Tried using the shortbread from Rivka's recipe for tartlets and found it did not readily lend itself to lining tiny tart molds. (Messy, time-consuming, and the resultant tart shells were too delicate to be practical; they crumble if you blow on them.) Then tried a batch with Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart crust. Heaven! (Emboldened, I dehydrated some sugar syrup-soaked rhubarb slices for a garnish. I would dub them interesting. They resemble crystallized rose petals and taste like grown-up Sour Patch candy.)

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over 2 years ago pamela joy

Couldn't seem to submit a question via the Hotline, so I'll try submitting one here in the Comment section. Has anyone tried using this shortbread recipe to line tart pans? I need to make something rhubarb-y that's a bit fancier than squares. (And I'm dying to break in my new tartlet pan.)
-pj

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over 2 years ago Gargamel

Love, love this recipe. I have made a few times and people have raved about it. The curd is so good that I decided to use it differently: on a pavlova with tons of blueberries. It was spectacular.

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almost 3 years ago ChefCitron

Mmmm...I'm going to try your delicious rhubarb curd (looove rhubarb) using Tartine's Lrmon Curd Genius recipe method! Yum!

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over 1 year ago the burrower

Oh goodness you're channeling my thoughts exactly!! Did this work out? Please tell me and save me the trouble if it's not worth it! If it IS worth it, I'd love to hear how you did it. Thanks SO much in advance! Rhubarb season is upon us : )

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over 1 year ago the burrower

PS> Tartine is pretty much my baking bible. I've been meaning to try their Tartine Bread book for ages.

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about 3 years ago PatriciaScarpin

Now that the spring has arrived here in Sao Paulo I cannot wait to bake these - yum!

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about 3 years ago PatriciaScarpin

Now that the spring has arrived here in Sao Paulo I cannot wait to bake these - yum!

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over 3 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

OMG, this rhubarb curd is AMAZING. the shortbread + curd is in the oven now looking gorgeous (i had to add some cold water to my shortbread mixture to get it to come together- did anyone else do this?). does anyone have that wms-sonoma ebelskiver pancake pan? using this curd as the filling would be insanely good.
did gluttonforlife ever post a butterless curd recipe?
thank you rivka!