By (kind of) Popular Demand

Rhubarb Poptarts with Rye Pastry and Cardamom Glaze

cardamom glaze

I had no intention of posting this recipe here—one that I quite literally just threw together little-by-little over the course of a couple of evenings (I am so not a weekday baker), hoping that it would work for a breakfast potluck we were having at work. I baked them off the morning of and piled the surprisingly substantial tarts, which were not even done cooling, in a Tupperware container that I left uncovered so they wouldn’t steam and turn from crisp to mushy. I ran to work in half the time it usually takes me, darting through the streets of my town with an open box of warm pastries. It couldn’t have looked as strange as that time I stuffed the remnants of a certain 3-layer cream cake into a bright blue cold-keeper bag and ran it around town in 90-degree weather. But it was still ridiculous. When I arrived, I threw spoonfuls of glaze messily onto just cooled-tarts and set them down.

These are simple tarts, elevated perhaps because they’re encased in my very favorite pastry, whose nuttiness is a warm counterpoint to the clarifying tang of the simple rhubarb filling. But they were very well-loved (in fact there are still shards of their flaky, flaky layers gracing corners of our office), so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case you haven’t had your fill of the stalks yet (or they’re the only thing in your garden). And I’ll take any excuse to get more rhubarb on the blog. I just love the stuff.

rye dough
stacked tarts

So in lieu of a normal post, here are some links to check out while you’re stirring your pot of rhubarb:

1. I still don’t believe this really happened but the folks at Food & Wine ran an interview with me on Tuesday, and I came close to fainting when I saw my mug front-and-center on their homepage. I am shocked and honored.

2. Speaking of my mug, my very good friend Sam (with whom I’ve eaten A LOT of food) took that photo of me because I’m camera-shy and had nothing appropriate to submit. In addition to dogs, plants, and food, she can now add Sachas to her list of captures. Soon there will be a lot more first names on that list.

3. I can’t wait to get my hands on Kimberley Hasselbrink’s cookbook Vibrant Food. Everything I’ve seen from it looks right up my alley—and just in time for farmers’ market season.

And because food isn’t my only interest…

4. I saw Phosphorescent live in May. Do you know them? You should, because the set was so, so beautiful. Especially this song with extended intro live.

5. You may have noticed that the comments on the above video were ridiculous. Which reminds me of this Moshe Kasher bit. Clean up your YouTube comments, people. (Warning: not for the easily offended.)

6. I love this. (OK, more food.)

hand pie

Rhubarb Poptarts with Rye Pastry and Cardamom Glaze
Dough adapted from adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce
Makes 9 tarts

The exact measurements (it can be hard when rolling the rectangles) in step 2 are not that important, as long as the rectangles’ thickness is 1/8 inch to 3/16 inches, the length of the rectangle is longer than the width, and the second rectangle is proportionately a bit larger than the first one. I’ve made a similar filling successfully with alternative sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar, but no fake stuff), if you’re so inclined to try. The tarts are just as delicious without the glaze if you don’t want to add it. The glaze will take 15 to 30 minutes to set, but you don’t have to wait that long to eat the tarts if you don’t mind the glaze being wet! Because if you don’t wait, the centers will still be warm when you eat them.

1 recipe Rye Pie Dough for Double-Crust Pie
11/4 pounds rhubarb (1 pound cut into ½ inch segments, ¼ pound diced)
85 grams (about 7 tablespoons) sugar
34 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 eggs

75 grams (34 cup) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons buttermilk
34 teaspoon cardamom (or to taste)
Lemon zest, to taste

1. For the tarts: Combine rhubarb, sugar, and cornstarch in large saucepan. Cook, covered and stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until rhubarb is very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered and stirring frequently, until mixture has reduced, thickened, and become jammy, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in lemon zest and diced rhubarb, transfer mixture to bowl, and let cool completely (rhubarb mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days before using).

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly beat 1 egg in small bowl and set aside. Using bench scraper, cut dough rectangle in half crosswise. Return one half of dough to refrigerator. Roll one half into about 12 by 10½-inch rectangle that is 18 to 316 inch thick, with long side facing you. Trim sides if they’re uneven, cutting off as little dough as possible. Cut dough into 9 equal-size rectangles. Refrigerate rectangles and repeat with remaining dough square, rolling it to about 12½ by 11-inch rectangle. Place about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rhubarb filling in center of 9 smaller dough rectangles and spread, leaving about ½-inch border around edges. Brush exposed edges of topped rectangles beaten egg. Top with larger dough rectangles, pressing edges with tines of fork to seal. Using fork, poke the tops a few times and freeze tarts for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 month before baking.

3. Lightly beat remaining egg in small bowl. Transfer frozen tarts to prepared baking sheet, brush with beaten egg, and bake until the tarts have completely puffed, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake tarts for 20 to 30 minutes longer, rotating sheet hallway through baking until crust is well-browned and crisp. Let tarts cool for at least 30 minutes before glazing.

4. For the glaze: Whisk all ingredients together until completely smooth. When tarts are cool spread tops with glaze or spoon glaze over tarts for a more rustic look. (Tarts are best eaten the day they are made. If you keep them for longer, recrisp them in a 400 degree oven before serving.)

12 responses

  1. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to sample these pop tarts. They are a really wonderful mix of savory and sweet and the pastry is oh so flaky! I bet there are still pieces lingering in the office, befriending brownie crumbs. The cardamom glaze takes them over the top! (And congrats again on the interview! That is amazing.)

    • Hi! I don’t really use vodka in my pie dough anymore, but you’re right: I did include it in my 2012 cherry pie recipe. Replacing a bit of the water with vodka is good for limiting gluten development, especially for those who are afraid of pie dough making. However, I now usually use the fraisage method for all quick all-purpose flour pie doughs (see this post: and no longer feel the vodka is necessary for me. Feel free to use your discretion. Now, the rye crust follows a quick puff pastry method, essentially, but it does include some cider vinegar which works as a tenderizer. Hope that answers your question!

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