May 4, 2015 by sarah
A couple of weeks ago, I made some individual sized custard tarts. But I had loads of pastry and filling left so I turned it into this patisserie style rhubarb and custard tart. I don’t think it would go down well in Paris (not finished well enough for a start) but I love the contrast of the silky egg interior and the tart juicy rhubarb on top. It looks so pretty with the regular rows of soft pink and green stems. One tip – measure and cut your rhubarb before it is cooked, otherwise it is too soft and will disintegrate to a mush when cut.
You know it is Spring when you harvest your first crop of rhubarb from the garden. Rhubarb is technically a vegetable but is used most often as a fruit in cooking. Without a sweetener, rhubarb is bracingly sour. If you think about those unfolding leaves and growing stalks appearing after a long winter diet of meat and starch, rhubarb’s tartness could serve as a welcome tonic. But add some sugar and the fruit flavour is revealed in all its glory. The flavour of rhubarb is complemented by many things; vanilla, nutmeg, orange, ginger.
Rhubarb and custard tart
Custard tart made as here
50-100g caster sugar
Clean the rhubarb and cut into lengths to fit on your tart, especially if making a rectangular tart like mine.
Place the cut rhubarb into a shallow dish suitable for the oven. Sprinkle over the sugar and tightly seal with foil. Place in a preheated oven at 200 ºC/180 ºC fan for 20-25 minutes until the rhubarb is tender. Allow to cool completely before arranging on your tart. Serve immediately as the juice from the rhubarb will make the pastry soggy.
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July 3, 2014 by sarah
Here is another recipe that uses up eggs. Can you tell that we have an egg glut at the moment? I also didn’t realise that chickens love rhubarb leaves. I wonder if it makes the eggs taste of rhubarb? Anyone noticed? Rhubarb leaves are supposedly toxic due the high levels of oxalates they contain, but either birds excrete oxalates in a different way to mammals or the chickens are slowly poisoning themselves. I have had to resort to netting the plants to prevent the chickens getting to them; for their sake and the poor rhubarb plants!
This recipe is delectable, especially enjoyed on a lovely sunny evening like today. It tastes like rhubarb and custard in the most unctuous, dreamy state imaginable. Once served, it is cold but not icy like ice cream can be; all the better for taking large bites of. I like to serve this dessert with roasted rhubarb. Roasting the rhubarb means it keeps it shape and dries it slightly so it is not soupy like stewed rhubarb can be. Cut the rhubarb into 2cm lengths, lay single depth on a roasting tray or dish, sprinkle with caster sugar and roast in a medium oven for about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!
120g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
250ml double or whipping cream
Chop half the rhubarb finely and add to a pan with 100g of caster sugar plus the elderflower cordial. Bring to simmer and with lid off cook until very soft. Puree with potato masher or hand blender or pushing through a sieve. The other half of the rhubarb cut into 2cm lengths and arrange in singe layer on a baking dish, sprinkle with couple tablespoons sugar, cook in oven until soft (about 180 C for 3o-40 minutes). Leave to cool and then store in a ceramic or glass dish in the fridge until ready to serve the semifreddo.
Make the sabayon base: in bowl over a pan of gently bubbling water, whisk the egg yolks and 20g caster sugar until light and fluffy and pale. They should triple in volume. Take off heat and allow to cool.
In another bowl whisk the cream to soft peaks then fold in the pureed rhubarb and sabayon.
Line a 2 lb loaf tin with two layers of cling film. Pour in the creamy mixture. If you have left over meringues or almond biscuits, crumble over the top. Fold over the cling to seal the surface of the semifreddo and place the tin into a carrier bag. Put in the freezer for at least 4 hours, ideally over night. When you want to serve, put the tin in the fridge for half an hour, turn out onto a plate and serve with the roasted rhubarb.
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April 18, 2014 by sarah
The first rhubarb of the Spring is a special thing and deserving of a kind of reverence. The first crop from the garden; the start of hopeful bounty from the earth. And then the pale pink to deep red stems that haven’t yet been turned green with age. So here is my homage to the first rhubarb of Spring. Yes, you can buy it at Christmas in the supermarkets but that is not the same as harvesting your own. But if time is pressing, rather than saying there is no time to make a real pudding, cheat and use the excellent ready made custard available to buy. I admit it. I did.
- 180ml/ half pint of double cream, cold from the fridge
- Half the amount of the custard from the recipe below or half of a pint/500ml tub of good quality vanilla custard (e.g. Waitrose Madagascan vanilla custard)
- Medium bunch of fresh spring rhubarb
- Cook the rhubarb – I like to chop the rhubarb into short sections and put in a shallow baking dish with a good sprinkling of caster sugar and bake in a medium oven for 20-30 minutes until soft. Alternatively you could do the same in a pan on the hob. Allow the rhubarb to cool fully.
- Whip the cream until soft peak stage.
- Fold together the whipped cream, custard and rhubarb which should be in roughly equal proportions i.e. a third of each. Carefully spoon into pretty glasses and refrigerate until required.
Proper English Custard
- 570ml/1 pint milk (whole milk or add some cream to reduced fat milk to same volume)
- 1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, yolks only
- 30g/1oz caster sugar
- 1 level tablespoon cornflour
- Bring the milk (with cream if adding) and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
- Remove the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the milk.
- Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
- Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
- Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract at this point if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened. Take off the heat and cover with cling film so that the cling sits on the surface of the custard so that a skin does not form.
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