Using bright pink seasonal rhubarb from local farm box delivery company Holt Farm, I’ve developed this delicious tart. Short, sweet pastry makes the crust and a diamond pattern of rhubarb jewels is laid over a frangipani base containing ground almonds.
This is just what we need to brighten these cold and dreary February days! The joy of arranging the rhubarb is quite pleasing too, and will ensure your creative streak gets an airing. By making sure the pieces of rhubarb are even in size, any geometrical pattern can be achieved – the choice is yours.
The pastry I made to line the tin before the filling was added, is fail proof mince pie recipe which I have had for years. The secret is that you don’t add any water to the dough, and after rubbing cold butter into the flour you add sugar and simply press it together until it forms a ball. It’s so simple and pretty fool proof – you’ll never need to buy expensive sweet pastry cases again once you’ve discovered this recipe.
For the Pastry
115g Cold Butter, diced
175g Plain Flour
50g Caster Sugar
For the Filling
1 Free Range Egg
100g Ground Almonds
100g Butter (at room temperature)
90g Caster Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Almond Extract
3 or 4 sticks of Rhubarb (choose the same size and colour pieces if you can, to ensure the pattern is even)
You will need a fluted flan tin with a loose bottom. I use a 10 inch tin, with a fine flute. A ceramic flan dish will not be helpful as the pastry won’t be crisp.
Switch on your oven to 180 degrees.
To make the pastry, rub the cold cubed butter into the flour (I use a counter top free-standing mixer for this).Once the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, add the sugar. Switch off the mixer and use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. Do NOT add any water to the pastry! Knead the dough briefly and form into a smooth ball.
Place the ball on a lightly floured surface and press the ball into a flat disc, pressing any cracks which form together. Roll out the disc using a rolling pin, to a large enough round to fit your flan tin. Don’t worry too much if your pastry cracks, as it can be pressed together in the tin. Use the rolled out pastry to line your flan tin, pressing any cracks together and well into the fluted rim. Trim the edges and ensure the crust is an even thickness all the way round. Prick the bottom of your flan with a fork all over and place in the oven for 20 minutes until crisp and brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Next make your filling. Cream the butter, sugar, ground almonds, almond extract and egg together to form a smooth paste. Once the flan case has cooled, smooth the paste over the base of the flan.
Now it’s time to use your lovely pink rhubarb to create a pattern in your tart. I decided on the size of each piece, then used the first one as a template to cut the rest. This way, I ensured the size and angle of the cut were the same for each piece of fruit.
Arrange the cut pieces of rhubarb over the almond paste, pressing them down a little. Once all the fruit is added, place the tart in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Serve the tart warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream or clotted cream.