Sunday, 6 April 2008

Rhubarb and almond tart

I am not going to lie to you – while this tart is one of the most delicious things on the planet to eat, it is a chore to make. However long you allocate to making it, ensure you factor in about 20 minutes to clean all the kitchen surfaces as the rhubarb spits everywhere. In fact, my first tip is to wear dark colours when making this; my second tip is to move anything of value or preciousness out of the way of the hob (including David Tennant calendars – luckily I remembered just in time, phew) – a few feet radius should be taken for the safety zone as this really does spit! Anything that’s left should be covered with kitchen paper, including the floor. Just in case you think I’m joking:

The mix bubbles so much it’s like being one of the three witches in Macbeth stirring a cauldron! Look at the heat distortion in this picture:

I have mentioned the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma) on this site several times. Today the spotlight is on the CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) as he grew the magnificent rhubarb for this recipe:

Admittedly I’ve probably done a pretty good job of it, but I really don’t want to deter you from making this because it is heavenly. The combination of tart rhubarb with the slightly bitter, nutty amaretti biscuits with sweet cream and pastry is so magnificent you’ll wonder why you’ve not had it before. Just be aware that it’s not a “put it in the oven and forget about it until the timer sounds” recipe.

Here is the pastry case with the almond butter layer, you bake them together and they fuse into one:

I like this shot of the cut tart as you can clearly see all the levels of flavour: pastry, almond butter, rhubarb, and cream. Yum, yum, yum!

This forkful is mine all mine!

For the pastry:
60g unsalted butter
60 golden caster sugar
½ egg
125g plain flour
15g ground almonds

For the rhubarb filling:
1kg rhubarb, cut into 3cm long pieces
150g golden caster sugar

For the almond butter:
100g amaretti biscuits
40g unsalted butter
1 egg

For the topping:
200ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
30g icing sugar
50g flaked almonds

How to make:

- Make the pastry by creaming together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and add the flour and almonds. Form the dough into a ball then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. It is quite a sticky dough.
- Place the chopped rhubarb and sugar in a pan and add 5 tablespoons of water. Cover the pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb collapses.
- Remove the lid and cook (on a low-medium heat) until the rhubarb is thick with no visible juice. This takes approximately 45 minutes – and here’s the bind; you can’t go off and leave it. The mix needs frequent stirring and will bubble and spit for virtually the whole time.
- Transfer the rhubarb to a bowl and leave to cool.
- Now make the almond butter. Crush the amaretti biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Do this either in a food processor or using a bag and rolling pin approach.
- Beat the butter and egg into the biscuit crumbs until thoroughly combined. You will have a dark, gritty, quite runny mix.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Grease a 23cm round loose bottomed flan/tart tin.
- Roll out the pastry. This is one of the few pastries that I recommend rolling out on floured greaseproof paper. Without the flour it will stick and fall apart. Roll it out thinly and then line the tin. Don’t worry if it tears as you can patch it up.
- Gently spread the almond butter over the base of the pastry and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden. Don’t worry if the almond butter has puffed up in the oven, it will sink as it cools.
- When the pastry is cool, spread the rhubarb puree evenly over the almond butter. If you are making this a day ahead it is at this point that you can refrigerate it, saving putting the cream on until the day you will be serving it.
- Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until it holds a peak (but not too stiff) and spread over the rhubarb.
- Scatter flaked almonds over the top.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Rosie said...

Don't those rhubarb tarts look scrummy!! Ooh and I bet it is soooo delish too :)

Rosie x

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I only just recently discovered my love for rhubarb and am coming to appreciate its many applications. This looks really delicious...and rofl at the pre-emptive cleanup effort with the paper towels.