Friday 12 September 2014

Rhubarb Tarts

First off, I'd like to start by saying that this week was my first time back at school (well sixth form now actually)...after what felt like a forever lasting summer holiday! Probably I would say 12 ish weeks! (OF COURSE I'M NOT COMPLAINING- I mean who doesn't love a holiday?!) But it's taking me a little while to adjust and juggle my work around baking, blogging, food styling...well you get my point!  So anyway, what I'm trying to say is that posts may be a bit more irregular until I get into the swing of things. 

This week- Rhubarb! 

These tarts are almost like Bakewell tarts, apart from the fact that they don't contain frangipane...oh you should also know that I hate almonds, but hang on a minute your probably thinking to yourself...that looks like some flaked almonds sprinkled on top. Yes! yes it it, I like them - just not the taste that ground almonds gives you when mixed into a cake. So here's a head's up guys- you won't find any almond recipes (or even marzipan) at all on my blog, unless I've given in to trying something different for a wild change.

Another classic component to Bakewell tarts is the jam. WELL there is no jam in here, however I made a rhubarb filling- like a compote which is spread onto the pastry base. Lastly the tarts are topped with a dab of tasty sweet buttercream (which can by the way be flavoured with almond extract instead of vanilla if your a fan, uughh!) and a sweet almost caramelized rhubarb stick. 

See I've even made a handy diagram for ya lovely people- handy and helpful eh?!

These tarts I think are best served cold, you can't have the buttercream piped on otherwise, silly! And no need for custard. What! I hear you say...well another fact for you, I don't like custard very much! I know- fussy right?! But seriously the tarts don't need it. 

You can't make these tarts in a hurry, if you've noticed by scrolling down to the the recipe, there are several stages to this recipe so don't rush!! But they are definitely well worth the time and effort.

You could make this tart big too, just roll the pastry to 5mm thickness and increase the baking time a little for the cake mixture. Go all out with decoration however you may please, I can picture a geometric circular pattern of rhubarb sticks pointing towards the centre with small dollops of buttercream on the outside. Arty! 

Rhubarb Tarts

Ingredients (makes 8 individual tarts roughly 9-10cm diameter each):

You will need 8 loose-bottomed fluted tart tins

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
125g butter
40g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp cold water

For the rhubarb filling:
190g rhubarb
45g caster sugar
1 orange (zest and juice)
enough water to just cover the rhubarb

For the rhubarb topping:
1 stem cut into 8 pieces 
sprinkle of caster sugar

For the cake filling:
100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g margarine/butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond if you prefer)

For the buttercream:
120g sifted icing sugar
50g butter/margarine
1/2 tbsp milk
a drop of vanilla extract ( or almond)

For the glaze:
Reserved rhubarb syrup liquid
2 tbsp apricot jam

a handful of flaked almonds


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas mark 4

Firstly to make the pastry, I like to do this in a food processor because it is quicker and easier but you can also do this by hand. Blitz the flour, icing sugar and butter together until it forms a breadcrumb consistency. Next add the water and pulse until it clumps together in a large ball of dough. If you have time, cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes, however you can still work with the pastry straight away if short on time. 

Roll out the pastry to roughly 3-5mm thickness and cut rounds that will fit nicely in your tart tins. Allowing extra to make sure you cover the sides and leave a bit hanging off the edge, then when baked you can trim this off to leave a perfect edge and prevents shrinking from the sides. Prick each base with a fork lightly and then line with baking parchment/foil and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes and then take off the weights and paper/foil and bake for a further 5 minutes to fully dry out.

Whilst the pasty cooks, you can make the filling. Cut and trim the rhubarb into 2cm pieces, place the rhubarb in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the orange zest and juice, add the sugar and enough water to just cover. Heat so the sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, then leave to stand for 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving the liquid for the glaze later. 

Next make the rhubarb topping, place the rhubarb on a baking tray lined with foil, sprinkle over some caster sugar and cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes at the same temperature-  checking often, until the rhubarb is just softening but still holds its shape.

To make the cake filling, place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, beat with an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon until smooth and there are no lumps.

Once the pastry has blind baked, trim off the edges and spoon some of the cooled rhubarb filling (not the juice) into each pastry case. Then spoon 2 small teaspoon of the cake mixture on top, smoothing out so you can't see any of the rhubarb. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until when a  skewer is inserted into the cake it comes out out clean.

When the tarts have 5 minutes left to cook, make the glaze- mix the apricot jam with the reserved rhubarb syrup and add a dash of water to loosen it in a saucepan. Heat over a medium heat until the glaze is runny but not reducing with bubbling. When the tarts come out of oven, brush a little glaze over each tart, then sprinkle over a few flaked almonds. 

Leave the tarts to completely cool whilst you make the buttercream, Place all the buttercream ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until thick and smooth. Once they are cold, fill a piping bag with the buttercream and dab each tart with some, then add a cooled baked rhubarb stick. 

If not eaten on the day, they are kept best in an air-tight container in the fridge.

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