Recipe: baked rhubarb and custard tart

Baked rhubarb and custard tart by Andy McLeish (photo: Ming Tang-Evans)

Baked rhubarb and custard tart by Andy McLeish (photo: Ming Tang-Evans) - Credit: Archant

The chef patron and owner of Chapter One, Kent Life’s Restaurant of the Year 2017, is looking forward to Easter feasting

After a very busy start to the year, Easter is the perfect opportunity to wind down a little and do what I enjoy the most, spending quality, uninterrupted time with my family.

The kids have already planned our itinerary over the four days: long walks along the beach and foraging for anything edible, making home-made hot cross buns, playing our annual egg hunt (after painting them first), and of course, eating copious amounts of chocolate.

Now that it’s officially Spring, there are plenty of British foods that are finally in season and a few favourites of mine are rhubarb, asparagus, purple-sprouting broccoli and spring greens, to name just a few.

I absolutely love the beginning of a new season, for me it’s a great time to experiment with my chefs and create new dishes for Chapter One. Right now, we have the last of the season’s roe venison and some fantastic spring lamb, wild garlic and hopefully we will feature St George mushrooms on the menu soon.

Over the weekend, for my family, I’ll be making some of our favourite spring dishes and will try to use as much seasonal British ingredients as I can. Roast saddle of spring lamb is a must with very more-ish Dauphinoise potatoes, as well as asparagus with poached duck’s egg.

In keeping with this month’s theme, my baked rhubarb and custard tart is a showstopper and a perfect dessert for Easter Sunday lunch. Enjoy.

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Recipe: baked rhubarb and custard tart

Ingredients

150g diced chilled butter

250g plain flour

Zest of 1 lemon

100g caster sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

500g peeled Kent rhubarb

Sugar stock

240ml water

200g sugar

Bring to the boil and leave to cool

Custard mix

600g double cream

2 vanilla pods, split

Whole nutmeg to grate

135g egg yolk

75g sugar

To make the pastry

Rub the butter into the flour with the lemon zest and a pinch of salt until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg and milk and bring together to form a dough. This can be made in advance and frozen if required.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out and use it to line a 20cm tart tin, leave 2cm of pastry hanging over the edge. Chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 180ºC. Line the case with cling film and fill with baking beans and fold the cling film over the top, bake blind for 20 minutes, then remove the beans by lifting out the clingfilm and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes until the base is golden. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 140ºC.

To make the tart

Cut the rhubarb into finger-length pieces and poach them in the sugar stock until soft. Remove from the stock and drain well, patting them dry with a clean cloth, and set aside.

Bring the cream, vanilla pod, and a small grating of nutmeg to the boil. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, then pour the hot cream over, beating as you go. Strain the custard into a jug, allow to settle for a few minutes, then skim off any froth.

Place a thin layer of rhubarb in the bottom of the tart ring. Carefully pour the custard into the tart case. Generously grate some more nutmeg over the top and bake for 40 minutes or until just set with the very slightest wobble in the middle.

Remove from the oven, trim the pastry edges off carefully, then leave to cool completely before serving in slices.

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