Alsatian Rhubarb Tart

FILLING
6 cups of 1/2-inch pieces of rhubarb (about 2 pounds), peeled if stringy
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

CRUST
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, Crisco, or coconut oil, or a combination of shortenings
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar

FOR GARNISH
Strawberries
Whipped cream or ice cream

1. Put the rhubarb and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a heavy medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb softens and falls apart. This can be done a day ahead.
2. To make the crust, cut the butter or shortening into small pieces, and toss into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, along with the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse until the texture is like very coarse meal. Gradually add 3 tablespoons ice water, pulsing until the dough comes together in a ball. Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and roll out the dough. Carefully fit it into an ungreased 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, or make it freeform on a cookie sheet of approximately the same size. Prick it all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
4. In the meantime, beat the eggs in a small bowl. Whisk in the cream, the vanilla, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
5. Spread the rhubarb on the bottom of the tart. Pour the custard over the rhubarb, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with strawberries if you like and whipped cream or ice cream.

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