Happy Mother’s Day! Rhubarb Rose Tarts with a Cardamom Shortbread Crust (Gluten-Free)

IMG_9363I do not live near my family.  If I did,  I would want to throw a mother’s day tea today and serve this tart to my mum, my mother-in law, my sister’s mother and my aunties.  Since this is my personal fantasy I’m going to invite my grandmothers as well.  I am serving all of these amazing women Rhubarb Rose Tarts with Cardamom Shortbread Crust for Mother’s Day.  I associate rhubarb and the scent of roses with my mother and her family in particular.  My maternal grandma had a special rhubarb patch on the farm and my mother always bought grandma nice rose perfume.  Although I call it a tart, this is really more of a dessert square recipe.    It is a big sheet cookie topped with a fruit curd. You know, like a lemon bar.  When I was 18 my Aunty Mona gave me an entire folder of these sorts of dessert bar recipes, which she had collected from her friends.   My mother in law grew up in India, so I have added cardamom which, along with the rose-water, gives these dessert squares an Indian flair.

I miss all of the women who have inspired and cared for me.  I love you!


If you want a truly bright pink curd, you will need to look for bright red, slender rhubarb stalks.

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the rhubarb with 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar.  Cook over medium-low heat with the lid on, until the rhubarb is totally soft.  Puree the rhubarb mixture and set it aside.
  2. In a small, heavy bottom pot over medium heat, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually add the rhubarb puree and switch to stirring with a wooden spoon, so as not to aerate the curd. Stir continually for 10-15 minutes, adjusting the heat as you go to ensure that it does not boil. Your curd is done when it has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
  3. Drop in the butter and stir until melted.
  4. Position a fine mesh sieve over a glass or stainless steel bowl and pour the curd through it, to remove any bits of cooked egg. Sometimes, I can tell that it is smooth enough and I skip this step.
  5. Stir in the rosewater.


I decided to try Turkish pistachios which have a lovely pink color.  They were pretty, but more expensive and I am not enough of a pistachio expert to be able to tell the difference in the taste.  In the future, I will just buy the good old green pistachios from California.

  • 2 sticks of butter (16 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground
  • 1 and 1/3 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (ground or chopped so that some are fine and some are still larger)
  • More pistachios for topping (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl untill light and fluffy.  
  3.  Add the cardamom seeds, rice flour, arrowroot starch, tapioca starch and salt and mix into a dough.
  4. Spread the dough out in a square baking dish or tart tin.  Gather the sides up to create a rim that is about 1/4 inch higher than the bottom.  If your kitchen is warm or the dough has become soft from the heat of your hands you can stick it in the fridge for half an hour or the freezer for 10 to firm it up.
  5. Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
  6. Spread the curd out over the crust and bake for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve at room temperature or chilled topped with more pistachios if you like.IMG_9360


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Glenda says:

    Thanks Erin, this is lovely! We are blessed to be part of a family of strong loving women. Thinking of Grandma, my Mum, Irene Orr today. She would love this recipe.

    1. Thanks Mama. I love you!

  2. That is really beautiful Erin!

  3. Wow I am having massive tart envy right now. This looks gorgeous & packs in my fave flavours, rose, cardamom & rhubarb.

    Great recipe

    1. Thank you! I am pleased with it. I love rhubarb season.

  4. tworedbowls says:

    Oh my gosh, this looks so perfect. The color is just spectacular — and you know I love pistachios and cardamom together! Cardamom in a crust sounds beyond wonderful, as does rose paired with rhubarb. Just perfection all around!

    1. Thanks! I’ll be trying your saffron Cardamom Panna Cotta soon I hope!

  5. zsuzsi says:

    Who would have thought that rhubarb and rose water make such a good combo!
    I’ve been riffing on it ever since–thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I am so happy that you are enjoying it! Thank you for commenting!


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