I love, love, love this time of the year because I have an excuse to become my pinkest self. In April, the time of rhubarb comes and declares the season of most delicious shades of pink open. In May, strawberries join in with their sweet taste of springtime. In June, luscious cherries, ruby currants and the most delicate raspberries mark the triumphant finale. They all are not only delicious but also healthy and look beautiful.
To pay tribute to these wonderful fruits I will use them to make pink treats until the season is over. This week I made a classic French rhubarb tarte with a crème patissiere filling. I think it looks like Paris and tastes like spring.
700g Rhubarb (thin and roughly the same size)
1 vanilla pod (only the pod, the seeds are used for the crème patissiere)
½ lemon (juice)
A handful of frozen raspberries (for the color)
Cut the rhubarb so it neatly fits your tin. I cut it into batons of 12cm. Put the vanilla, sugar, lemon juice, raspberries and 300ml of water into a saucepan. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add the Rhubarb and let it simmer for another 5 min (check so that your rhubarb does not get mushy). Remove the heat and let the rhubarb cool in the syrup.
25g ground almonds
2tbsp icing sugar
140g chilled butter
1 large egg yolk
Blitz all ingredients together until it is crumbly. Add 1-2 tbsp of cold water and blitz again. Now, tip everything onto a working surface and bring it together to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
250 ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod (seeds)
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp flour
100 ml double cream
For the crème patissiere, mix the 4 egg yolks, the two flours and 2 tbsp. of cold milk together in a bowl. Bring the rest of the milk, the vanilla and sugar to a boil. Once it boils, pour it over the egg yolk mixture and whisk everything (be careful not to make scrambled eggs). Put everything back into the sauce pan over a low-medium heat and let it thicken until it has a custardy consistency. Put the crème into a clean bowl, cover with cling film and let it cool.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out to 1mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Line a 12 x 35cm fluted rectangular tart tin with the pastry. Chill again for 30 mins.
Heat the oven to 200°C. Remove the pastry case from the fridge, line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Blind-bake for 20 mins, then remove the parchment and beans, and continue baking for 8 mins more until pale golden.
Remove the rhubarb pieces from their syrup and set aside. To finish the crème patissiere, whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold this into the chilled mixture.
Remove the cooled pastry case from the tin, fill it with the crème and line up the rhubarb on top. Reduce the syrup until it is thick and glaze the rhubarb. It should be chilled for 30 min before serving.
And now, take a piece and eat it while enjoying the warm spring sun :)