Rhubarb Curd Shortbread

By • April 30, 2010 • 77 Comments



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&MA&M

Serves 16 bars

for the curd

  • 3/4 pounds 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 cup 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.
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Tags: breakfast, can be made ahead

Comments (77) Questions (7)

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about 1 month ago Jeanne-Marie

Divine. Thanks for the recipe.

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about 1 month 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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2 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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2 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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about 1 month 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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about 1 month 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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2 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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2 months ago Rivka

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

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2 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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4 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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about 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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about 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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about 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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about 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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2 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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about 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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about 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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about 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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over 2 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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about 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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about 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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almost 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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almost 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 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!

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about 3 years ago emadethis

I've gotten as far as the puree and I can tell these are going to be fantastic. This color is incredible. Oh lovely rhubarb--how long has your beauty been covered by the brashness (however delicious) of strawberry? Thanks for a recipe that lets rhubarb's glory shine!

I did use a food mill for the puree and it worked great.

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about 3 years ago FrancesRenHuang

I just made this last week, and I want to tell you it is so good. It is a keeper for my dessert collection. Thank you so much.

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about 3 years ago Harlan191

Made these today for mother's day... absolutely delicious. The curd was so good, and the shortbread crust just made it awesome.

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about 3 years ago JulieBoulangerie

Love 'em... thinking that it needs something nutty. Anyone tried oatmeal or graham flour in the shortbread?

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about 3 years ago Rivka

Haven't yet, but planning to try a granola crust next week - will report back.

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over 3 years ago midnitechef

I grew up with rhubarb and I'm missing it dearly now that it won't grow in Texas (at least I can't seem to get it going). I will have to try this recipe once I can find fresh rhubarb!

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almost 4 years ago Jennifer (Delicieux)

My parents are visiting from interstate soon and my Mum adores rhubarb so I think I will have to make this for her. It looks so beautiful.

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about 4 years ago Midge

These are seriously addictive. I might have to give the rest away before I eat them all..

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about 4 years ago kikimama

made these for a rehearsal dinner -- beautiful and delicious and different.

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about 4 years ago donnaweaves

Love these! The shortbread stays nice and soft. I would make them in a slightly larger pan next time - perhaps a 7 x 10 in order to make each bar a bit smaller and make the entire recipe go a bit farther. I must admit I ate most of the pan myself!

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about 4 years ago WinnieAb

I talked my mom into making these last week for her dinner guests...made sure she saved a few for me...they are fantastic! Great recipe Rivka!

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about 4 years ago annalea

Made these today with a slightly different shortbread recipe. I also added a few strawberries to the fruit mixture. I must say this is divine! I never thought I liked rhubarb, but I decided to give this winning recipe a try to test it out and low and behold - I like it! Thanks!

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about 4 years ago Rivka

Several ppl have told me that they don't like rhubarb but enjoy these bars. I think the eggs tame the rhubarb's acidity, and the custard-like texture of the curd brings out the flavor of the rhubarb more subtly. Glad you enjoyed!

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about 4 years ago whatsjohneating

This looks delicious. I'm going to try it...now!

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about 4 years ago s-chapstick

I have a recipe for nuked lemon curd(it's so easy) do you think it would work with the rhubarb ???

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about 4 years ago Rivka

Not knowing anything about the recipe, it's hard to say -- but hey, worth a try...right?

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about 4 years ago Gourmando

The hardest part was pushing the curd through the sieve but it did result in a silky smooth curd. This recipe combined two of my husband' s favorite things--shortbread and rhubarb (no strawberries mixed in).

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about 4 years ago blueridgebaker

Do you think a food mill would work instead of a sieve/immersion blender? Would the holes be small enough?

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about 4 years ago Price Kitchen

I put the cooked rhubarb and liquid into my food processor and they turned out fine. I also didn't push through the strainer after making the curd. The strainer seems to have gotten lost in the sand box already this year. I knew they wouldn't be quite as smooth, but there were no complaints from those eating them.

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about 4 years ago Rivka

Not sure, but hey -- try it and let us know!

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about 4 years ago Price Kitchen

I just joined the site and this was the first recipe to try, needless to say, I am hooked and can't wait to try something else. The bars turned out great, liked by everyone, including my 4 year old daughter, who is obsessed with all things pink. We enjoyed them with friends at our Mother's Day brunch. Thanks again for the great recipe.

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about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Congrats! I love this recipe and the ideas it has given me to make other kinds of curd!!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Exactly! It's a fantastic recipe that keeps on giving! I'm currently thinking about blueberry curd/meringue pie.

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about 4 years ago Rivka

blueberry meringue pie? Yes! awaiting the recipe.

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

Congrats!

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about 4 years ago Rivka

thanks! I made your rhubarb tonight -- truly phenomenal. Like I said earlier, that earl grey-rhubarb combo is brilliant.

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about 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

Congrats! Well deserved.

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about 4 years ago elltea

These were delicious! My husband called them The Perfect Food. They took a *long* time to set up, but even with ragged edges, they were good. I am laughing out loud at the 16-bar yield, though -- I cut mine into nine large squares, and still our friends cried out for more.

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about 4 years ago Rivka

I hear you -- making 16 pieces doesn't mean everyone gets only 1! :)

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about 4 years ago ehrrin

Oh yum! I just got my first rhubarb of the season this weekend at our opening Farmers Market, and I'm going to make these tonight!

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about 4 years ago Rivka

hope you like them!

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about 4 years ago ehrrin

I made these tonight, and they're chilling in the refrigerator right now. My rhubarb wasn't as pink, so they're not quite as pretty as yours. But, you're right; I could've eaten the whole bowl of the curd alone!

I'm a little worried they're not setting up as firmly as they should, but hopefully they'll get firmer as they get colder.

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about 4 years ago Rivka

tasty, isn't it? :) if they don't firm up after a night in the fridge, try baking them off for ten more minutes or so -- that should do it.

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about 4 years ago ehrrin

Wonderful! Thanks for the tips. It's a lovely recipe. Thanks!

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about 4 years ago ehrrin

Hi Rivka,

I tried baking for a few more minutes this morning, and they came out perfectly! I'm sure it's my shoddy, uneven oven (though I shouldn't talk too badly about it, considering the workout I give it...).

Congratulations on the win! It's well-deserved!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

This recipe is divine. I only found white rhubarb at the market, so did a 50/50 mix of strawberries & rhubarb - it had to be pink! Delicious. Fragrant. Heavenly. Thanks, Rivka.

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about 4 years ago Rivka

so glad these worked. in a strange coincidence, my mom also made the curd this weekend with berries. She said it didn't come out perfect, but my dad called her crazy.

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about 4 years ago Margy@hidethecheese

Congratulatins! This looks fantastic. I'm going back to the farmers' market this weekend to get more rhubarb!

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about 4 years ago MissGinsu

What a fantastic idea! I adore rhubarb and now I can't quite believe I've been stuck on lemon curd for so long. This opens up a whole new universe of curd love. Thank you!

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

Those little pink squares are darling. Congrats!

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about 4 years ago cheese1227

This is lovely!!

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about 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

yum! I'm not sure I'd have enough curd left to put on the shortbread! (I'd eat most of it.) Congrats Rivka!

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about 4 years ago Rivka

Thanks all! Gotta give credit where it's due: Lara Feroni over at cook and eat has the most beautiful pictures of rhubarb bars, where I got the inspiration for this recipe. The photos are just drool-worthy -- a must-see: http://cookandeat.com/2010.... Lara was inspired by this post on Ginger Tablet: http://www.gingertablet... -- the interwebs are one big food incubator, aren't they?

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about 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Reminds me of the lemon squares I used to make--congratulations!

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about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Sign me up for the curd loving group! And with rhubard? It's gotta be GREAT.

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about 4 years ago gluttonforlife

Sounds delicious! I, too, am a curd fanatic. I'm going to post my recipe for butterless lemon curd--so satisfying, without so many calories...

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about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I definitely want to see this!!

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about 4 years ago Lizthechef

Me too!

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about 4 years ago Lizthechef

Just when I think I have cleaned up all the pink splotches on my stove, here comes another winner! Rhubarb curd alone is a thumbs up -