They say necessity is the mother of invention — and that goes a long way toward explaining the origin of this rhubarb-peach tart. Here’s what happened. It’s a great year for rhubarb here in France, and I’ve been bringing stalks of it back with me from my garden in the country. Friends invited me to dinner and I offered to bring a rhubarb tart. But when I went to make it, I discovered there wasn’t enough rhubarb to fill the tart shell. What to do? I had some peaches, so I added them — et voilà. Applause all around when I served the tart. By the way, this recipe is dedicated to the memory of Frank Zappa.
Tarte à la rhubarbe et aux pêches / Rhubarb tart with peaches
Now that rhubarb is flourishing, the red currants and cherries are starting to ripen. Either would make a fine substitute for peaches if you prefer. As I was reminded recently, rhubarb is more commonly paired in tarts with strawberries — in the United States. Over here in France, that would be an unlikely combination. I’ve never seen cooked strawberries in a French tart, probably because they tend to get soft and release a lot of juice.
A classic French strawberry tart has a crisp shell, a vanilla cream, fresh berries standing tall, and a bright red glaze. It’s similar to the recipe for raspberry tart that is already on this site. Both are absolutely perfect in early summer, if you feel like taking the time to produce an elegant and beautiful dessert. But they are a bit more complex than today’s rhubarb-peach confection — which is surprisingly quick to prepare. As we celebrate the summer solstice, it makes a fine tribute to the lazy, hazy days to come. Happy cooking!