Rustic Wild Rhubarb Crostata
Updated: Jul 30
Rhubarb has been my favorite since I was little. Growing up in Alaska, we filled our freezer, pantry, and shelves with foraged, gathered, and harvested berries, fish, seafood, and wild game to carry us through the winter. We grew rhubarb in our garden and I remember watching my grandmother making pies with her fresh rhubarb in the kitchen, in awe of her ability to create such delicious desserts that were obviously packed with love, care, and tradition.
That's why I wanted to create a version of this rustic dessert with fresh, wild Rhubarb when I was in Alaska this summer visiting my family. Baking in a remote cabin, you make do with what you have, which is how this simple recipe evolved! I've included some tips to make this easy and really bring out the tartness of the rhubarb and join it with the sweetness of the sugar. I hope you enjoy!
Tips: -You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb for the filling and even add in some other berries (try strawberry) for some variety and sweetness.
The first time, I made this crust without white vinegar because we didn't have any. Apparently, the addition of the vinegar makes the crust more tender.
If you are worried about the filling being too juicy when it is cooked you can sprinkle the crust with almond flour to absorb any juice. I personally like it juicy, so I skipped this.
Chop your pieces into 1/4-1/2 inch sections to maintain texture.
Don't overbake! Rhubarb can get mushy if it's overcooked, so feel free to pile up that filling!
For this recipe you will need: Parchment paper, rolling pin, a baking sheet/pan or pizza stone, a pastry cutter or fork for blending butter into flour, and a pizza cutter (optional) for easy cutting.
INGREDIENTS: Makes 6-8 servings
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling your surface when you'll roll out the dough
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp of salt or none if you are using salted butter
8 Tbsps (1 stick) of cold butter, cubed
3-5 Tbsps of cold water, depending on the texture of your dough
1 Tbsp white vinegar (to make crust soft)
Sanding or regular sugar for dusting the crust
Milk or egg whites. This will be to "wash" the crust before adding the sugar
For the Rhubarb Filling:
4-5 cups rhubarb (frozen or fresh). I prefer fresh if you have access to it.
2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 Tbsps cornstarch
1/2-1 zest of a lemon
LET'S MAKE A CROSTATA
For the Crust
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add your cold butter cubes to flour mixture and use a pastry cutter, fork, or your hands to blend butter with flour. Combine until the mixture looks like sand with some pea-sized pieces of butter in it.
Slowly add cold water to flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms and no dry flour remains on the bottom of the bowl. Add vinegar. You may need to add more water/flour to reach desired texture. Once gently mixed and dough sticks together, form into a ball and then flatten to a disc-like shape. Wrap your disc of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate approximately one hour or overnight if you're making ahead.
For the Rhubarb Filling: *make this while your dough is chilling
Put the rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest in a bowl, but don't mix yet (we don't want all the juices leaking out). You want to mix right before you put the filling on your crust. NOTE: taste the mixture before you put it into your crust- you can add more sugar if desired, but this amount should be enough to balance the tartness of the rhubarb. Once the mixture is finished, place in the refrigerator, especially if you are using frozen rhubarb.
LET'S PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
After your dough is chilled, flour a flat surface and roll out your dough until it is about 1/6th to 1/4 inch thick and creates a circle that is about 14-18 inches in diameter. You want to have enough edge to fold over your filling and keep all the juices from overflowing. Your dough may be cold and not pliable, but this will change when you work with it. Be careful not to overwork! You can also add more water at this stage if the edges are cracking.
Line your baking sheet or pizza stone with parchment paper and transfer your dough to the baking sheet. TIP: I roll my dough over my rolling pin and then "unroll" for easy transfer.
Take your rhubarb mixture from the fridge, mix, and then spoon over your crust, leaving about 1 inch of edge around the outside.
Carefully fold over your dough edge, crimping together when necessary to keep juices in the pastry as it bakes.
Apply your egg-wash or milk to the folded crust edge.
Sprinkle crust with sugar.
Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until our crust is golden brown.
Let sit until cooled or transfer to a cooling rack. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 6 or 8 equal triangles.
SERVING TIPS: Enjoy topped with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and store in the fridge for 3-5 days. Between us, this won't even last that long it's so good!
Since discovering this easy, beautiful, and impressive dessert, I've played with so many different fillings from rhubarb to raspberry to apple for the 4th of July. Each time, people rave about how rustic, flavorful, and indulgent they are! My favorite version so far is rhubarb. I think because it reminds me so much of my family and my childhood, I'm taken back each time I bake with this hearty and vibrantly colored fruit. If you haven't ever tried rhubarb I highly recommend finding some at your local grocery store produce or freezer section and experiencing how delicious and easy this recipe is.