Rhubarb is a magical ingredient. Technically a vegetable, but legally considered a fruit by a NY court in 1947 it is definitely enigmatic. It is super tart (too tart to be eaten raw) but when baked with sugar or cooked in syrup, its magical flavour shines.
I’ve always loved rhubarb and I love seeing it come into season its blushingly pink ruby stalks calling me from across the fruit market. I buy it usually unplanned when it is at its best and I just cant walk past it. This dish is a result of one of those times.
Usually I would simmer the stems in a syrup until soft, but I always find the stems go too soft and I do like a little bit of texture. So, this time after a bit of reading I decided to soak the stems in warm syrup to soften them slowly – this is now my new all-time favourite way of using rhubarb. It results in perfect soft but not too soft rhubarb which is a great balance to this silky custard filling.
You can definitely just neatly pop the rhubarb on top of this tart after softened, but why not take a little extra time to lay them out into a chevron pattern.
Cardamom Custard and Rhubarb Tart
- 1 Pkt Careme vanilla bean shortcrust pastry
- 250ml thickened cream
- 250ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 8 egg yolks
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 500g rhubarb stems, cut in 5cm batons
- 250g caster sugar
- 250ml water
Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional). Lightly dust work surface and pastry with flour. Use a 24cm round plate as a template to cut a circle.
Line a 20cm deep tart tin with the defrosted careme pastry, gently push the pastry into the tart, line with baking paper and fill with baking weights (or chickpeas), making sure you fill the weights to the top of your tart to support the sides during baking.
Bake for 20 minutes, remove weights and reduce oven temperature to 160c fan-forced (180c non-fan). Brush the base of the tart case with beaten egg and return to oven for a further 5 minutes to seal the base of the tart. Set aside to cool completely.
Bring the cream, milk, vanilla, and cardamom to the boil. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, then pour the hot milk and cream over, beating as you go. Strain custard into a jug, allow to settle for a few mins, then skim off any froth.
Carefully pour the custard into the tart case and bake for 30-40 mins or until just set with the very slightest wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven, then leave to cool completely.
While the tart is cooking and cooling, poach the rhubarb. Mix caster sugar with 250ml of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the batons to the boiling sugar syrup, then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Leave the rhubarb batons in the syrup as it cools. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rhubarb batons from the syrup once completely cool then set both syrup and rhubarb aside separately.
In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb poaching liquid until it has thickened to a glaze consistency. Arrange the cooled poached rhubarb on top of the custard layer and brush over the top of the rhubarb with the glaze. Set aside until the glaze has set and then serve, or place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.