Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart Recipe

This traditional Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe is our favourite dessert to bake when celebrating the Swedish Midsommar holiday.

The easy recipe features a flaky butter pastry crust that is filled with juicy rhubarb chunks and a creamy almond custard.

We love serving this sweet Scandinavian tart in the spring or summer when rhubarb is in season.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, scoop of vanilla ice cream or strawberry gelato.

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What Is A Rhubarb and Custard Tart?

A tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry. A pie differs from a tart in that the filling is covered in pastry. A friend of mine calls tarts “naked pies.” She’s not wrong, ha!

Tarts can be prepared as a savoury dish (like quiche) or as a sweet dessert like our Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe.

Traditional Rhubarb Custard Tart recipes in Sweden contain three components:

  • Pastry Crust: a butter based tart crust produces a flaky pastry that holds the filling well.
  • Almond Custard: the tart filling is a homemade custard flavoured with almond extract. When it bakes in the oven it thickens into a creamy consistency so the tart is easy to slice.
  • Rhubarb: fresh rhubarb stalks are chopped into chunks, tossed in sugar and scattered across the tart before baking in the oven.
Traditional Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe ingredients.
Traditional Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe ingredients.

Rhubarb History & Uses

Rhubarb has been around forever, thank the Lord!

First known in Asia around 2700 BC and introduced to Europe around the 14th century, rhubarb was once a highly valuable commodity costing more than rare spices like saffron and cinnamon, and valued for its laxative qualities, common knowledge in Shakespearean times: “What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug, Would scour these English hence?” growled Macbeth. He was talking about the roots; it would be another couple of centuries before home cooks started using the stalks.

Scandinavian cooks love cooking and baking with rhubarb. The fibrous stalks are typically harvested in Europe and North America in the late Spring and early Summer. In Sweden the tart fruit can be found in many culinary treats including jams, jellies, pies, cakes, ice cream and sparkling cider.

Way back when, a common and affordable sweet for children in parts of the United Kingdom and Sweden was a tender stick of rhubarb, dipped in sugar. It is still eaten this way in Finland, Norway, Canada, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Faroe Islands and Sweden.

Rhubarb as a central ingredient mostly shows up in desserts like pies, crumbles and crisps, but it can also hold its own in haute cuisine.

At Noma in Copenhagen, repeatedly voted the world’s best restaurant, the tender stalks have been served with milk curds. Thomas Keller features it in his cookbook The French Laundry as a confit paired with navel oranges, candied fennel, and mascarpone sorbet. Think of rhubarb as a ruffian weed that’s climbed the culinary ladder—one theory posits that one of the origins of the name has the “barb” part stemming from the same etymological root as “barbarian”.

Rhubarb and Custard Tart features our favourite tart fruit, which is typically harvested during the Spring and Summer baking season.

Rhubarb is enjoyed in Sweden during the popular Midsommar festival. It’s one of our favourite sweet and flaky pies to serve at a festive dessert table for friends and family.

You May Also Enjoy These Rhubarb Recipes…

Toss rhubarb in sugar and roll out pie dough. Use pie weights to ensure the pastry does not puff up in the oven.
Toss rhubarb in sugar and roll out pie dough. Use pie weights to ensure the pastry does not puff up in the oven.

History of Midsommar in Sweden

Midsommar is an annual festival celebrated in Scandinavian countries such as Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

The Midsommar period of time is centred around the summer solstice, typically between June 19 and June 25. The ancient celebration predates Christianity, and existed under different names and traditions around the world. 

In Sweden, Midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been proposals to make the Midsummer’s Eve into the National Day of Sweden, instead of June 6. In Latvia, Midsummer’s Jāņi festival is a public holiday. In Denmark and Norway, it may also be referred to as St. Hans Day.

Midsommar in Sweden is marked by families raising and dancing around a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång). Greenery placed over houses and barns was supposed to bring good fortune and health to people and livestock; this old tradition of decorating with greens continues. To decorate with greens was called att maja (to may) and may be the origin of the word majstångmaja coming originally from the month May.

In ancient pagan rites, bonfires were lit to protect families from evil spirits who were considered free to wander when the sun was going south. The May tree refers to a phallic symbol commonly used in pagan rites to symbolize the fertility and durability of harvest in the Viking era.

Like in Norway and Finland, it is believed that if a girl picks 7 different flowers in silence of the midsummer night and puts them underneath her pillow, she will dream of her future husband.

Another tradition on Swedish Midsummer is to end it with a skinny dip at night. It’s not mandatory to be naked, but many swim completely naked accompanied with a partner after a couple sips of schnapps!

In 2019, traditions and iconography from Swedish folklore were displayed in the much talked about Midsommar film. Dubbed the most haunting horror film of the year, director Ari Aster filmed a terrifying tale of a creepy Swedish Midsommar feast. Sadly, actress Florence Pugh was never given the opportunity to indulge in a slice of Rhubarb and Custard Tart. For shame!

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Rhubarb and Custard Tart before baking in the oven.
Rhubarb and Custard Tart before baking in the oven.

Travel To Sweden by Baking Rhubarb Custard Tart at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through IrelandScotlandEnglandWalesPortugalSpainFranceBelgiumHollandRussiaEstoniaPolandCzech RepublicGermanyAustriaCroatiaBosniaHungarySlovakiaGreeceTurkey and Italy.

I’ve also traveled extensively through Scandinavia, eating my way through the best restaurants in WestfjordsReykjavikHelsinkiOslo, Bergen, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Goteborg.

My fondest food memory of Sweden is the country’s enthusiasm for cakes and pies! I was in Goteborg on Midsommar, instantly falling in love with Jordgubbstårta, Smörgåstårta and authentic Rhubarb and Custard Tart thanks to all the local bakeries selling thick slices.

There’s nothing more delightful than sipping a frothy cappuccino at a Swedish bakery while forking through a flaky Rhubarb Custard Tart slice. A perfect pairing includes sparkling rhubarb alcoholic cider and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and strawberry gelato.

Once back home from a Scandinavian holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Sweden and can impress friends and family by making your very own homemade Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe!

Remove Rhubarb Custard Tart from the oven once the centre is no longer jiggly.
Remove Rhubarb Custard Tart from the oven once the centre is no longer jiggly.

My Family Loves Rhubarb and Custard Tart

After encountering Rhubarb and Custard Tart on a visit to Sweden during Midsommar I thought I should introduce the dessert to my family.

I knew my family would love this tart fruit pie because my mother has a huge heritage rhubarb plant in our backyard. The rhubarb “bush” was gifted to my mother by my grandmother many decades ago. It’s resilience is unmatched in the backyard garden, having been transplanted to our homes in Markham, Oakville, Toronto and Muskoka over the years.

My family typically bakes sweet pies and tarts made with fresh fruit fillings. When we feel like we need to add a little decadence to our lives we’ll fill a tart shell with homemade custard.

Rhubarb pairs beautifully with the flavour of almonds and is often prepared with franginape in European bakeries. We’ve added a few drops of almond extract to give the tart a subtle nutty undertone.

We love serving this Swedish Rhubarb Custard Tart to celebrate Midsommar.
We love serving this Swedish Rhubarb Custard Tart to celebrate Midsommar.

Bake The Perfect Tart Crust

Whether you’re a baking beginner or whiz with a rolling pin, it’s important your tart crust is as flaky as can be.

Our Rhubarb Custard Tart recipe crust is foolproof if you follow the directions carefully. Remember the important rules when making pastry: keep the ingredients as cold as can be and handle the dough as little as possible.

The flaky texture found in a perfect pastry crust is thanks to the solid fat, usually butter or vegetable shortening, that is gently rolled into the dough. You want your final dough to be shaggy, with small lobs and chunks of fat visible to the naked eye.

When solid fat in a pie crust melts at a high temperature in the oven the water evaporates quickly, leaving layers of flaky crust, just like a croissant.

If you’re looking to obsess over the perfect pie or tart and learn the best methods I suggest purchasing The Book on Pie by Erin McDowell.

Slice into a Rhubarb and Custard Tart and you'll find a soft and creamy interior.
Slice into a Rhubarb and Custard Tart and you’ll find a soft and creamy interior.

Baking Tips

Ready to bake our homemade Rhubarb and Custard Tart? We suggest reading the recipe directions below in detail to ensure you understand the step by step process.

In order to make the most delicious pie you must take the time (and pleasure) in mixing, rolling and baking a flaky crust. If you don’t have the ingredients or time feel free to purchase a frozen pie crust. You can prepare the filling at home from scratch.

We suggest using fresh rhubarb when baking this homemade Swedish custard tart. Our family has 3 freezers in the house so we harvest and purchase a surplus of our favourite fruits to enjoy year round. If you have frozen rhubarb at home feel free to use them in this homemade tart recipe.

We’ve flavoured the homemade custard with almond extract but you can get creative with this recipe and substitute for vanilla extract or orange extract.

Since rhubarb and strawberry are such a classic pairing feel free to add sliced strawberries to the pie filling if you have a few berries hiding in the back of your fridge.

We love serving this Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe with a scoop of vanilla or strawberry ice cream.
We love serving this Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe with a scoop of vanilla or strawberry ice cream.

When & What To Serve Rhubarb and Custard Tart

While Rhubarb Custard Tart is often served during Midsommar we love to enjoy this creamy fruit pie year round.

The flaky pie is an eye-catching dessert perfect for celebrating special occasions like birthdays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, baby showers and bridal showers.

We think this easy Rhubarb and Custard Tart is best enjoyed as a slice all on its own.

If you’re enjoying the tart in the evening after dinner pair it with a pot of tea or coffee. If you’re serving it at a summer barbecue or luncheon it pairs nicely with a Swedish strawberry rhubarb cider.

If you’re feeling truly decadent, we like to serve Cherry and Custard Tart with vanilla or strawberry ice cream.

You May Also Enjoy These Ice Cream Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best easy Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best easy Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart recipe!

How To Store Homemade Pie

If you’re planning on making extra pie to enjoy later we suggest double the recipe. Pre-bake each crust and scoop the filling into each pie. Store pies in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake straight out of the freezer for a quick and easy last minute dessert.

If you’ve got leftovers, store pie slices in Ziplock bags or Tupperware and enjoy within a week.

You May Also Enjoy These Pie and Cake Recipes…

How To Make Traditional Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart

Print Recipe
4.67 from 3 votes

Rhubarb and Custard Tart

How to make a traditional Swedish Rhubarb and Custard Tart. Bake at Midsommar to enjoy flaky pie crust, creamy almond custard & tart rhubarb.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: swedish
Keyword: Rhubarb and Custard Tart
Servings: 8
Calories: 421kcal


  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • French knife
  • mixing bowl
  • Pie plate
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon
  • Rolling pin
  • Pie Weights


Pie Dough For Tart Crust

  • 150 g All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp White Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Cold Unsalted Butter cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Cold Water minus 1/2 tbsp

Rhubarb Custard Tart Filling

  • 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 lb Rhubarb (approximately 4 cups) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups White Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter melted
  • 1/4 cup Whipping Cream
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract


  • Pour the apple cider vinegar into a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Fill the remainder of the cup with water and place into the freezer to chill. Remove before freezing as you want it to be liquid.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combing flour, sugar, and salt then whisk together.
  • Remove cold butter from fridge and cut into 8-10 pieces, working quickly to avoid warming the butter. Add to the flour mixture and toss to coat butter pieces evenly. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it is pea-sized. 
  • Add the chilled water & vinegar mixture. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, push the mixture back and forth until the liquid has been absorbed into the dry ingredients. Using your hands, lift the edges of the crumbly dough, turn them inwards and press them firmly down. Repeat this, turning the bowl, until you can gather the dough into a ball, and there are no loose pieces at the bottom of the bowl. 
  • Move the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Form one into a round disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for several hours or overnight. 
  • Place the round disc of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Holding a rolling pin at one end, pound the dough with about four or five whacks while moving from left to right. Rotate the dough 180 degrees and pound it again.
  • Roll the dough out by placing the rolling pin in the center of the circle and firmly pressing down while moving the pin towards the outer edge of the dough. Turn the dough clockwise 45 degrees and continue this process of rolling and turning until the dough forms a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter. 
  • Gently fold the dough in half and lift it onto your 9 inch pie tin. Center it carefully and unfold it, pressing down into the base and corners to be sure there are no air pockets trapped underneath. Trim the outer edge so that it overlaps the edge of the tin by 1 inch. Wrap in plastic wrap and place into the fridge to chill.
  • Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and cover pie crust with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Fill completely with pie weights. Bake until bottom is dry, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Continue baking until bottom of crust is golden, 7 to 9 minutes more. Let cool.
  • In a bowl, toss rhubarb with 1/4 cup sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. In another bowl, whisk together flour, remaining 1 1/4 cup sugar, eggs, butter, heavy cream and almond extract until smooth and combined. Pour filling into crust. Scatter rhubarb evenly over top, gently pressing into custard.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and bake pie until puffed and golden in places and slightly wobbly in the center, 50 minutes to 1 hour (tenting with foil if browning too quickly). Transfer to a wire rack; let cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 58.7g | Protein: 5.2g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 38.3g | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 1mg

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