For the Biscuit-
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal (I used old-fashioned yellow stone ground)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
zest of 1 medium orange
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼” pieces
½ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest.
Using your fingers or a bench scraper, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Mix until the butter is incorporated with a few large pieces remaining. Add the heavy cream to the butter/flour mixture, using a fork to gently combine; the dough will be soft and a little sticky. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape, about 15” x 6”. Use a floured bench scraper to carefully lift the biscuit dough into the tart pan. Don't worry if it's not perfect! Lightly flour your fingers and pat the dough evenly into the pan, easing it into the corners and along the sides. Try not to over work it; you don’t want it to become tough.
Place the tart pan on two half sheet pans (stacked together) and place on the middle rack of the oven. (I like to use two pans which helps prevent the bottom crust from overbrowning.) Bake for 18 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through baking. The biscuit should be golden but not dark. Carefully remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool completely before filling.
For the Rhubarb filling-
1 pound fresh rhubarb, rinsed, leaves removed, cut into ¾” pieces
½ cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt
zest of 1 medium orange
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb with the sugars, salt, and orange zest.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the rhubarb/sugar mixture and cook, without stirring, for a few minutes. Continue cooking the mixture, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, just until the rhubarb is tender and the juices thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Try not to overcook the rhubarb- you don’t want it to be crunchy but you don’t want it to break down completely. Remove from the heat, transfer to a heatproof container and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble the tart-
1 quart of local strawberries, lightly rinsed, stems removed, dried on paper towels (depending on their size, I halve some of them, leaving the remainder whole)
Place the biscuit (still in its pan) on a work surface. Retrieve the rhubarb filling from the fridge. Use an offset spatula to spread the filling over the biscuit crust. Dab any moisture from the strawberries with a paper towel. Carefully remove the sides of the tart pan and place the tart on a serving platter. (Leave the bottom on.) Place the strawberries on top of the rhubarb filling. Use a serrated knife to slice the tart and serve with freshly whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
For the Whipped Cream-
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange liqueur (optional)
Pour the heavy cream into a well-chilled bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla, and liqueur (optional) and use an electric hand mixer or a whisk to beat the cream until it thickens and holds soft peaks. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until just before using. Cover and refrigerate any leftover cream.