(The Very Last?) Dessert of the Month: Rhubarb Tart with something something

by Susan – I’ll reserve my feelings about the new layout of Living for another post, but let’s just say that in order to ward off recession doldrums, they’ve replaced my favorite section of the magazine with ones about 3/4-sleeve jackets and where you can buy them.

So having no idea that I was working on the very last DOTM ever, I blissfully created the March 2009 Living Dessert of the Month, Rhubarb Tart with Lemon-Yogurt Mousse, which was more beautiful than it was good to eat, but that’s OK. Dessert of the Month is about learning new techniques and spending three days on something and then eating a little of it before you drop the entire thing on the floor by accident.

That’s true! That happened! Luckily, I took pictures first (although I wish I’d gotten a shot of the crumpled mess on the floor also).


My friend Ross told me several times that this looks like arteries (while he ate a piece happily, I might add)

The best thing about this tart was the crust, which was a lemony-cornmeal type thing, and made in a springform pan instead of a tart pan or pie plate. As a result, you end up with something that looks very regal and crownlike. Both rustic and elegant at the same time. Why did I never think about baking a crust that way before? I want to try it on lots of other pies now, starting with maybe apple-strawberry. Something big and bulky that really needs a mile-high crust to keep it together.


The mousse in the neat straight-sided tart crust

Anyway the rhubarb itself was a brilliant pink, ultimately, just like the picture in the magazine, so that was a success, and the yogurt mousse was easy and great as well. Unfortunately, actually eating the poached rhubarb wasn’t as awesome, I didn’t think, as I wanted it to be. It was so stringy and hard to break down. That could have something to do with the fact that I didn’t have enough brandy as the recipe called for, and I also think I messed up the sugar melting process. The recipe had said something like “Cook sugar and water until the sugar turns amber, about 7 minutes.” Well, everyone always says to trust your eyes, not the time in the recipe, and that sugar would not turn amber. As a result I think I passed the hard ball stage or whatever and moved straight into weird, sick looking cells of sugar that would no longer liquefy.


Note giant lumps of hardened sugar

Maybe I will send these photos to editor Michael Boodro, so he can see that people faithfully make everything Martha tells us to. But jackets and beauty products? I’m a 28 year old woman. I’ve got Lucky magazine for that.



  1. Ross · March 30, 2009


    Seriously I will eat that again.

  2. Mom · April 2, 2009

    I have never cooked rhubarb in my life…you are very brave, Susan!
    But then I knew that. I love your writing…and agree that the Dessert of the Month is something they should have thought harder about eliminating. Dessert is such a happy thing.. and Lord knows we need more of that.

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