For this cake made in the style of a tarte Tatin, rhubarb is caramelized until soft before being topped with batter and baked. This recipe first appeared in our April 2013 issue along with Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl's story, Good Stalk: Rhubarb.
Rhubarb Tarte Tatin
For this cake made in the style of a tarte tatin, rhubarb is simmered until tender before being topped with a biscuity dough and baked.
3⁄4 lb. fat rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1 1⁄2" long pieces
1 1⁄2 cups sugar, divided
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 6 tbsp. cut into 1⁄2" cubes and chilled
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
2 1⁄2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening
1⁄3 cup milk
2 large eggs
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Heat oven to 375°. Combine rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, 4 tbsp. butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1⁄4 tsp. salt in a 9" cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted and rhubarb is tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and arrange the rhubarb in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and salt, the flour, and the baking powder. Use your hands to rub the remaining butter and the shortening into the flour mixture until they are in coarse, pea-size pieces. Add milk and eggs and continue mixing with your hands until a soft, sticky dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Press the dough into an even 8-inch round, then carefully lift and settle it over the prepared skillet of rhubarb.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and cooked through and the juices are syrupy and thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the skillet from oven, immediately place a large flat serving platter upside down over it, then quickly and carefully invert. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if using.