Rhubarb Curd Shortbread

By • April 30, 2010 78 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.

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