I have fallen in love with rhubarb finally. All these years, I have tried and tried and despite having sampled rhubarb based cakes and desserts executed to perfection, I just simply couldn’t abide to the tart punchy-ness of rhubarb. In a rhubarb crumble, it was only made tolerable because of the sheer amount of butter and sugar in the crumble. Every so often, I would catch a fleeting hint of its delicate note but that moment would pass, overpowered by its tartness or some syrupy sugared taste.
This recipe has been adapted from Tartelette’s amazing blog. I’ve been following her blog for years now but it’s taken me this long to test run one of her recipes. I had some organic rhubarbs from Wayside Organics, long sender ruby stems grown locally. The Small Shouty One and I did have to make a trip to our friendly and entertaining neighbourhood wholefoods shop, Manuka Wholefood, as we had run out of gluten free flour in our house.
It’s just amazing just how sweltering hot Chichester has got. It was only a few weeks ago that we had the fire lit.
It’s small details like the fact we daily walk down the road where Slaveboy’s mother and family were born and grew up on that makes me feel quite rooted and grounded.
Where we live doesn’t afford me much in the way of garden space. All we have is a long unkempt drive which we have promised to ourselves we would tidy up one day.
But somehow a sinkful of dishes always get in the way.
For those who have been following my blog for a while, you might remember my Woman vs. Sink moment of glory.
I’ve pretty much embraced the weeds and the dusty turfless outdoors and regaled at the sight of the sproglettes enjoying the sunshine.
It’s the 7th Wonder first proper summer-y experience. She particularly likes the honeysuckle plant. The Small Shouty One has been showing her how to suck the honey from the flowers.
The 7th Wonder took a particular liking to the plastic flowerpot. She emptied all the soil content onto her feet, rubbed it onto her legs lovingly and wore the pot for a hat for most part of the afternoon.
For this recipe, you need to poach the rhubarb slices. In the original recipe, blush wine was used but as we aren’t wine drinkers in this house, I decided to poach the slices in diluted elderflower cordial.
By poaching the rhubarb, you really are enhancing the light scented flavours of the rhubarb and reducing its tartness. Do keep to the poaching time, you want to retain the rhubarb’s structure and not water down the ruby redness of it.
5 long stemmed English rhubarb stalks (if you have short stumpy supermarket bought ones, you might want a couple more), chopped into small pieces
The juice of one lemon
125ml diluted elderflower cordial
2tbsp acacia honey
In a heavy pan, bring to a boil the elderflower liquid, honey and lemon juice.
Add the chopped rhubarb and poach for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the rhubarb with a slotted spoon and drain in a sieve, catching the liquid under the sieve with a bowl. Reserve the juice for a different recipe.
Allow the rhubarb to cool. Make the gluten free pastry.
Gluten free cardamom tart case
70g butter at room temperature
3 large, free range egg yolks
1/4tsp ground cardamom
170g Dove’s Farm gluten free & wheat free plain flour
40g corn flour
1/2tsp xantham gum
4tbsp cold water (to avoid dough being too dry)
Beat the butter until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolks in, one by one, allowing time for each yolk to be mixed in. Use a spatula to scrape down the mixture.
Take the flour, corn flour, xantham gum and ground cardamom and sift them together.
Mix the flour mixture in with the egg mixture and blend well.
You might need to add 1-4tbsp of old water to allow the dough to come together.
Flatten the dough into a flat round disk, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.
Once the dough is cold enough, flour your work surface and roll out the pastry for a 9inch round tart case. I found the pastry pretty easy to roll.
Line the surface and side of the tart case with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with baking beans.
Blind bake at 175C (160C fan assisted oven) for 20 minutes. Remove the baking beans and parchment paper and finish the baking off for another 5 minutes.
Continue onto filling.
3 free range large eggs, room temperature
200g unrefined caster sugar
250ml sour cream
1/4tsp ground cardamom
Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and loose in texture.
To the egg mixture, pour in the sour cream that has had the ground cardamom mixed into it.
Take the cooled poached rhubarb and arrange the pieces neatly at the bottom of the tart case.
Turn the egg custard mixture with a wooden spoon to ensure that the ground cardamom is well distributed and pour it onto the rhubarb pieces. You might not need all of the custard mixture.
Bake in an oven preheated to 175C (160C in my fan assisted oven) for 40-50 minutes. Do remember that the filling will firm up when it cools.
The verdict? I’m astounded. This is truly delicious. I was fearing rock hard pastry but it wasn’t. It is not crumbly like normal pastry but this was crisp, slightly buttery and I think the secret laid with the egg yolks. The cardamom was a dubious ingredient. I am not a fan of cardamom and have struggled in the past with the concept of cardamom being used in cakes. Cardamom to me was the pesky washing up liquid tasting pods that I somehow always manage to chew on when having some pilau rice with my jalfrezi. It’s the least used spice in my kitchen, in fact I only have cardamom pods and have to pound the seeds with a pestle and mortar for this recipe.
But the cardamom is essential for this complex flavoured tart. Do not skip on this ingredient. In no way, did it overpower the rest of the flavours but it is distinct enough. The sproglettes ate the tart heartily and I even managed to get my new Twitter friend, Andy from Andy’s Fish Bar to have a slice. He was a pleasure to feed as he devoured the tart while giving me constructive comments.
This tart is from one of the recipes that I am road testing for my Whipped & Baked pop-up bakeshop on 23rd June of this year. If you are local, I would love you to pop by that day and say hello.