Spring rhubarb is wonderfully pink and tender, so you can dispense with the poaching step and put it straight into a pastry case (shell) with a little brown sugar before putting it in the oven. The sugar caramelizes to give an almost toffeelike flavour. Make it the day before so that the flavours have a chance to soak into the pastry, or eat it immediately. Either way, it goes well with cream, custard or ice-cream. —Aaron BertelsenAdapted fromThe Great Dixter Cookbook: Recipes from an English Gardenby Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, $39.95 US/$49.95 CAN, March 2017)Slideshow:More Pie & Tart Recipes
Butter, for greasing
1 quantity of your favorite shortcrust pastry or pie dough recipe, chilled [a recipe for Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Basic Sweet Pie Dough) can be found in the book on page 186]
Flour, for dusting
1 kilogram/2 1/4 pounds rhubarb, chopped into 5-centimeter/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons demerara (turbinado) sugar
120 grams/4 ounces (1/2 cup) caster (superfine) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5, placing an oven rack in the lower part of it. Butter a 25-cm/10-inch loose-bottom tart pan.
Roll out the pastry (dough) thinly on a lightly floured work surface and use to line the prepared pan.
If using spring rhubarb, arrange it in the pastry case (shell) and sprinkle with the demerara (turbinado) sugar. If not using spring rhubarb, put the caster (superfine) sugar and 200 ml/7 fl oz (3/4 cup) water into a pan and stir together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil, then add the chopped rhubarb and simmer for 1 minute – you don’t want it to lose its shape. Drain the rhubarb, then arrange inside the pastry case.
Place the filled case on a baking sheet and bake on a low oven rack for 40 minutes. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully slip off the outer ring, leaving the tart sitting on the base. Return to the oven on the baking sheet for another 5–10 minutes so that the sides get really crisp.
Slide the tart onto a plate and sprinkle with caster sugar, if desired. Let cool to room temperature before serving.
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