Sunday, 24 February 2013

French rhubarb tart

This is a very elegant dessert that does require a little more effort on your part. Its probably not one you would just knock up for a normal weekend dessert. Saying that I do urge you to try it before forced rhubarb is out of season, as it looks, and more importantly tastes, absolutely stunning.

Its a bbc good food magazine recipe but I have tweaked it just a little to suit my own tastes. For example I love rhubarb and all the tartness that comes with it and so I have reduced the sugar that it is poached in.

You will need a special long fluted tart tin with a loose bottom. I got mine from lakeland, it will be useful for lots of other tarts, both sweet and savoury.

French rhubarb tart

500g forced rhubarb
25g caster sugar
juice of half a lemon

250g plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
140g cubed butter
1 large egg yolk

250ml milk (whole or semi skimmed)
Seeds from one vanilla pod
4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp plain flour
60ml double cream

Cut the rhubarb into batons, each 10cm in length. You will need enough to go along the length of the tart tin plus at least one extra. Put the sugar, lemon juice and 250ml of water into a wide frying pan, add the rhubarb and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave the rhubarb to cool in the syrup for at least 1 hour or overnight.

For the pastry put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running add the egg yolk and enough ice cold water for the mixture to come together. Tip onto a work surface and bring together with your hands. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

For the crème patisserie gently heat the milk and vanilla seeds until just below boiling. In the meantime mix the egg yolks, sugar and flours together until combined. Add a little of the hot milk to the egg mixture whisking constantly, gradually add the remaining hot milk continuing to whisk. Return the liquid to the pan and set over a lowish heat, stir continuously until the mixture thickens to the consistency of very very thick custard. This will take time, do not be tempted to turn up the heat.

Using a spatula transfer the crème patisserie to a clean bowl and cover the surface with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out into a rectangle, bigger than your tin, 1mm thick. Line you tin, making sure the pastry gets into all the corners. Leave any overhang for the time being.

 The pastry is very short and it may crack a little as you line the tin, if so use a little of the little extra overhang to do a patch job. I had to do this in two corners and it turned out completely fine.
Trying to show my patchwork job
Chill the lined tin for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C FAN. Line the tart with baking paper and baking beans (or rice etc) and blind bake for 20 minutes. Some of my overhang fell off after blind baking, nothing to worry about. Remove the baking baking and beans and continue to bake for another 8 minutes until golden in colour. Remove excess pastry with a sharp serrated knife and leave to cool in the tin.

Remove the rhubarb pieces from the syrup and set aside. Heat the remaining syrup until it has reduced in volume and is a thick sticky syrup.

Beat the cream until it holds soft peaks and then beat a little of this into your chilled crème patisserie. Fold the remaining cream through until no streaks of cream remain.
Ready to assemble

To assemble the tart. Remove the pastry tart form its case and place on a plate/board. Fill with the crème patisserie and smooth over the surface.

 Line the rhubarb up along the length of the tart.

 To finish glaze the rhubarb with some of the syrup. Chill the tart for 30 minutes before serving. To serve use a sharp serrated knife to cut slices from the tart.

This tart was absolutely lovely and the perfect dessert for a special meal. It kept well in the fridge and was lovely the next day too. BBC said it would keep for up to 3 days but I suspect it is better much sooner.

The only downside is I now have 5 egg whites. I sense some macarons may be made very soon...


  1. That's a very classy dessert. Thanks for the reminder on forced rhubarb - it's a wonderful product, but I often forget to take advantage of it while it's around. I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't last for three days with me - it just looks too good.

    1. Thank you. No, it didn't last 3 days here either...