Could it be that Spring is finally in the air? We’re so pleased that the sun is starting to show it’s face – it means that a whole bunch of delicious fruits and veg will be coming into season! One of those is rhubarb, and of course, we all remember those yummy rhubarb and custard boiled sweets, so we thought we’d share this dessert recipe in celebration.
For the pastry
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 150g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 medium egg, beaten with a tablespoon of cold water
For the filling
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 medium egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 300ml whole milk
- 300ml double cream, plus extra to pour
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
For the rhubarb topping
- 65g caster sugar, plus extra to taste
- 400-500g rhubarb (preferably forced rhubabr), trimmed
- Place a deep 23cm/9in loose-based fluted tart tin onto a baking tray. (It needs to be around 4mm deep.)
- To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the beaten egg and blend until the mixture forms a rough ball.
- Tip the pastry out on to a floured surface and roll out into a circle roughly 5cm/2in larger than the tart tin and around the thickness of a £1 coin. Turn the pastry 90 degrees every couple of rolls to create an even thickness, rubbing the rolling pin with flour every now and then so it doesn’t stick. Lift the pastry over the rolling pin and sprinkle a little flour underneath as you roll.
- Lift the pastry over the rolling pin and gently lower into the flan tin. Push the pastry into the base and side of the tin. Trim the pastry by pinching your thumb and finger, lifting slightly above the rim of the tin. Roll the trimmings into a ball and wrap in cling film to use for patching the cooked tart if necessary. Prick the base lightly with a fork and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6. Place the chilled pastry case on to a clean baking tray. Line the inside with crumpled baking parchment and half-fill with baking beans or dried beans.
- Bake blind for 25 minutes, then carefully take out of the oven and remove the paper and beans. Return to the oven for a further three minutes, or until the surface of the pastry is dry.
- Remove the pastry case from the oven and reduce the temperature to 160c/140c/gas mark 3. If the pastry has any holes, simply patch with the reserved pastry to stop any of the filling leaking out.
- For the filling, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl with a whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Put the milk and cream into a medium saucepan. Stir the split vanilla pod and seeds into the milk and cream. Heat the liquid gently until hot but not boiling, stirring regularly. Slowly stir in the egg mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the custard into the prepared pastry case.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until only just set. The custard should still be fairly wobbly in the middle, as it will continue to set as it cools.
- Remove the tin from the oven and leave the tart to cool completely, then move it to the fridge to chill for at least two hours.
- For the rhubarb topping, place the sugar and one tablespoon of water in a large non-stick frying pan over a low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rhubarb to the pan in a single layer. Cook gently for four minutes, then turn over with a spatula and cook on the other side for a further 3-4 minutes, or until softened but not falling apart.
- Remove the rhubarb from the pan and tip it into a large heatproof bowl. Add a little extra sugar to taste, if needed, and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge until needed.
- Just before serving, slowly release the tart from the tin. Transfer to a serving plate or board. Spoon the rhubarb on top of the tart and serve immediately, with extra cream for pouring if you like.
This is a great make-ahead dessert that would be the perfect lighter option after a family dinner. It’s got the perfect mix of sweet and sour, just like the rhubarb and custard sweets, so it’s bound to be a winner!