It wasn’t entirely accidental that the first G&G monthly supper club, last Friday, happened to coincide with the start of the forced rhubarb season. Regulars will know I go a bit loopy about rhubarb, especially the forced kind. I think it’s the pinkness. There’s no pink quite like it: pale but vibrant, soft but assertive. I can’t get enough.

So I couldn’t let the first seasonal feast go by without finding a moment for forced rhubarb to take the spotlight and forced rhubarb frangipane tart was the perfect option.

monthly supper club gluts and gluttony
monthly supper club gluts and gluttony

Now, Instragram has caught the forced rhubarb bug too. You can’t move in there for pictures of geometrically patterned rhubarb tarts. They do look pretty, but, and I’m sorry if this sounds catty, there are more than a few with recipes attached that simply could not work: no blind-baking, no pastry-chilling, no accounting for whether the rhubarb is cooked or raw before baking, using creme patisierre for the filling with no regard for it spoiling when re-cooked. Style over substance on some occasions, I fear.

Well, not on my watch. I might not have quite so much style – this rhubarb tart may not be geometrically flawless – but it will, I promise you, work. And taste nice.

 

forced rhubarb tart

(Incidentally, snaps above are of the supper club before kick off. More soon. And if you’d like to come to the next ones – 1st March, 29th March, 26th April – I’d love to see you. Booking and info here.)

 

Forced Rhubarb Tart

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

8 slices

Forced Rhubarb Tart

The simplest, foolproof pastry recipe based on an Ottolenghi staple, filled with frangipane and perfect pink batons of rhubarb.

    For the pastry:
  • 330g plain flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 180g cold, cubed butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 125g soft butter, salted
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 125g ground almonds
  • For the rhubarb:
  • 200g sugar
  • 400g forced rhubarb
  1. Start by making the pastry. Mix the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until sandy in texture. Add the egg and water and whizz until just combined - about a minute. Divide the pastry in two, flatten each piece into a fat disk, wrap separately in cling film and chill for 1 hour. (This will make twice as much pastry as you need so just use one bundle here and freeze the rest for later.)
  2. Next, roll one of the pastry lumps between 2 sheets of cling film to 3-4mm thick - this avoids getting flour everywhere. Remove the top piece of cling and use the bottom piece to lift the pastry up and line a 20cm pastry case. Gently push the pastry into the corners then carefully remove the cling film.. Trim the edges, stab the bottom all over with a fork, then pop in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Beat the butter, vanilla paste and sugar together for several minutes until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs a little at a time, making sure it's all combined before adding more. Fold in the almonds. Set aside (but not in the fridge or it will go solid).
  4. For rhubarb, pre-heat the oven to 180C. Dissolve the sugar in 300ml of water over a low heat. Slice the rhubarb into batons and arrange in one layer in a roasting tin. Pour the sugar syrup over the batons – you want the rhubarb to be just covered. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb is just softened. Remove, drain off the syrup (keep it - amazing in cocktails) and chill.
  5. To blind bake the pastry case, preheat the oven to 180C if it’s not there already. Cover the pastry with ovenproof cling film or baking paper and fill the case with baking beans, rice or lentils. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sandy and firm in the middle. Remove the beans and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool. Turn the oven down to 175C.
  6. When the pastry has cooled a little, spoon the frangipane mix into the case and level it off. Drain the rhubarb and arrange on top of the frangipane - geometrically or otherwise. Pop in the oven for around 35-40 minutes or until the mix is set.
  7. Serve with crème fraiche.
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