Rhubarb and crème patissiere tart

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I made this lovely tart when rhubarbs were actually in season; in the beginning of the summer. If you happen to have some rhubarb in your freezer I think it would come to good use making this recipe, otherwise use a different compote or save this until next spring when they’re in season again.

Since I made the lemon tart after Raymond Blanc’s fantastic recipe it is my go-to sweet pastry recipe, it just works every time, and it is what I used here. The recipe for the custard is from the Swedish food blog Matgeek, a very keen and talented baker and cook.

Rhubarb and crème patissiere tart, serves 8

Start by flavouring the milk and cream with vanilla the night before. Then start with the pastry and make the rhubarb compote and custard when the dough is resting or baking in the oven.

Leave it all to cool completely and assemble just before serving to keep the pastry case as crisp as possible.

For the sweet pastry:

Adapted from Raymond Blanc’s recipe.

120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced

75 icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

3 egg yolks

250 g plain flour

2 tbsp water 

In a large bowl, with a spatula or wooden spoon, mix the soft butter and icing sugar to a cream; then beat in 2 of the egg yolks. Add the flour and, with your fingertips, rub the butter mixture and flour together to achieve a crumbly texture. Add the water and press the mixture together to form a ball. With the palms of your hands, knead the pastry on a lightly floured work surface until it is blended (maximum 30 seconds – do not overwork the pastry or it will be hard and lose its crumbly texture). Flatten the pastry slightly with the palm of your hand, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes (this helps the dough lose its elasticity).

On a lightly floured work surface, evenly roll out the pastry into a circle 3 mm  thick. Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it over a 24 cm loose-bottomed tart tin. With one hand lift the pastry and with the other gently tuck it into the bottom edge of the tin so that it fits tightly. Be careful not to stretch it. Cut off excess pastry by rolling the pin over the top edge of the tin. Take a small ball of pastry and gently press it all around the base of the tart to ensure a snug fit. Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes (this helps prevent shrinkage during cooking). Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Line the pastry case with aluminium foil and fill with dried beans, pushing them against the side. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out both foil and beans. Return the tart tin to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. Brush the inside of the pastry with the remaining egg yolk and return to the oven for 1 minute (this creates a seal on the pastry and prevents it becoming soggy when filled).

Crème patissiere:

Adapted from Johan Hedberg’s recipe:

200 g milk (3%)

50 g double cream

1 vanilla pod

60 g caster sugar

3 egg yolks

20 g plain flour

Add milk and cream to a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out all the seeds, add both seeds and the pod to the milk mixture. Heat up on medium heat until it starts to boil. Pour into a mug, cover with cling and place in fridge over night, to get as much flavour out of the vanilla pod as possible. If in a rush an hour will do. 

Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat it up but don’t let it get too hot (or boil). Beat the yolks in a bowl, add sugar and flour and beat until smooth. 

Pour the liquid into the egg yolks through a sieve. Keep beating until you have a smooth mixture. 

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat up on medium heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon. 

Once the first bubbles have reached the surface and the cream has thickened significantly, lower the heat, stir for a few more minutes and it’s done. 

Rhubarb compote

320 g rhubarb, cut into pieces

200 g caster sugar

1/2 lemon, zest and juice

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until you have a nice thick compote. Season to taste with lemon juice.

 

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